Help During The Holidays

By: Nadia Singh Email
By: Nadia Singh Email

This is the time of year when the need among those who've fallen on hard times increases. Add a shaky economy to the mix and the situation worsens, causing local shelters and pantries to operate at capacity and in need of even more resources.

But during the holidays, most welcome the challenge and the ability to give back.

The Stephen Center in South Omaha is one of those giving back this year. The center is currently at capacity, many, forced to sleep on the floor. More children and families are finding themselves in need this year says Cindy Oelke, the center's Director of Programs.

But the center is more than just a warm place to spend the night, it's a place, residents say, that offers hope and a second chance.

"I needed to have a job, and I needed to get back on my feet and this place, The Stephen Center has helped me to obtain housing, and there's a lot of different directions they showed me what I didn't even know existed," Robert Taylor told Channel 6.

The shelter currently houses close to two dozen children. For them, it's a safe and caring environment. For their parents it's a chance to reassess their situations. But mostly, resident Daisie Kinser, is just grateful to have a safe place for her son, Seth to play and the support she needs to one day be back on her feet.

"The holiday seasons are hard for everybody, but they are here, the people around, the women are great, there's a lot of support here."

On Thanksgiving Day, The Stephen Center is hosting a dinner to feed its residents and the community. Over 600 volunteers helped make the feast possible.

As for other organizations accepting help this holiday season:

The Open Door Mission and Salvation Army are collecting food items all week for families who need assistance.

The Sienna-Francis House will have its traditional Thanksgiving dinner Thursday from 4:45-7:15 at its main facility.

And all this week The American Red Cross is sponsoring blood drives around the metro. Here's a list:

Saturday, November 21, 2009
7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
-Faithful Shepherd Presbyterian Church, 2530 S. 165th Ave. Omaha

Wednesday, November 25, 2009
12:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
-Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross, 2912 S. 80th Ave., Omaha

Thursday, November 26, 2009
7:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- Baker's Supermarket, 17370 Lakeside Hills Plaza, Omaha
-Baker's Supermarket, 3614 Twin Creek, Bellevue
-Baker's Supermarket, 13250 W. Maple, Omaha

Friday, November 27, 2009
8:00 a.m. to 2 p.m.
-Westroads Mall, register in the storefront next to T.G.I. Friday's, 10000 California Street, Omaha

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