Holiday giving spirit is alive and well in Cass County.
Hundreds of local children will have presents to open thanks to the generosity of others.
“The community really pulled together again this holiday season,” says Jen West, the director of the Southeast Nebraska Community Action offices in Plattsmouth and Weeping Water. 65 families are being helped this year.
Toys have been donated directly to SENCA and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys 4 Tots program is providing toys too.
The Cassgram reports West says there have been donations of various items but more, such as wrapping paper and tape, are needed because each toy is being individually wrapped this year for a Christmas party SENCA is hosting on Friday.
Donations of cookies and treats for the party will also be greatly appreciated.
The SENCA office in the First United Methodist Church Annex Building in Plattsmouth is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and the new SENCA office at 210 West Eldora Avenue in Weeping Water is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The food pantry is well stocked again thanks to the efforts of churches, schools and individuals, she says.
Cash donations go to SENCA’s emergency fund. West gives some examples of how that money can be used: heating bills, assisting an elderly person with medication costs, or shoes for a child who doesn’t have any.
---Local donations to Toys 4 Tots surpassed last year.
33 boxes full of toys for Toys 4 Tots were picked up in the Cass County area by members of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Last year, 19½ boxes were collected.
Platte Valley American Business Women’s Association again organized the local effort. Members of ABWA say, “Thank you all for your generous donations. We look forward to next year's drive.”
---”There was a lot of generosity in the community this year, but there was also a record need,” says Carrie Colgrove, Family Support Advocate for the Plattsmouth Early Childhood Center. The PECC staff had its own drive to help families of students. The PECC program coordinates with SENCA to serve those not on the SENCA list.
A total of 59 families in Cass County are recipients of the PECC effort which includes Head Start programs at Conestoga and Weeping Water.
---Heidi Warner of the Louisville Jaycees Foundation, which sponsors the Angel Tree, says each year there have been more Angels on the tree. This year, there were 26 children from nine families with gift wishes. Last year the program provided presents for 20 kids.
Each child gets to make three gift requests. She is making the final pickup of gifts from the tree today.
Cash donations are also accepted and Warner said that Louisville residents were again very generous this year.
---All the gift wishes on the CASA giving tree for the county’s abused and neglected children were fulfilled by courthouse employees and others.
---Employees at Pamida in Plattsmouth were touched by a scene that played out in their store.
Apparently inspired by similar events that have happened in Omaha this month, a woman went into Pamida last week with the intent of helping someone with their Christmas gift list. Overhearing a conversation in which a customer was telling a clerk about how he wished he could have done more for his family this Christmas, the unidentified woman presented the man with $300 to continue his Christmas shopping.
Pamida store manager Carol Hughes says the man was shocked and full of appreciation.
“It’s so nice to be able to spread the word about the kind and generous people we have in this wonderful community,” says Hughes.