The season of giving kicked off Friday night following the Salvation Army’s Tree of Lights ceremony.
The lighting of the tree kicked off the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Drive in Omaha. Families from all across the metro watched as the holiday season descended on Omaha.
The Derry Family stopped by to say hi to Prancer the reindeer. "We came the first year we were married, and this is the first time we've brought our kids. It was fun; they liked Santa and the music and the lights, our son loved the tree,” Leah Derry said.
The tree has 80,000 LED lights and 655 starburst lights, it's a spectacular sight perched atop 90th and West Dodge Road. The tree also served as a beacon, a reminder for those who need extra help during the holiday season.
Hoisted on top of dad's shoulders, Rhett looked on, watching the ceremony unfold. "It meant world to us, one year we couldn't afford anything,” Dave Kamphaus said.
This year, the lights mean a little more for the father and son. "I used to receive help from the Salvation Army, now we are getting back on our feet; we like to give back to red kettle bin every year,” Kamphaus said.
As the crowds dwindled, Joleen David could still be spotted, she's been part of the Red Kettle Drive over 20 years. "Just help them find their way, help them find the path and stay on the path and become once again someone just like you and me, someone who goes to work, someone who lives independently, someone who can give back to the community,” David said.
It's a reminder for David that no matter what, Omaha will always be the “City of Giving,” even when this year's goal is $3.1 Million. "This is Omaha, this is what we do, we are a family and we pull together and we get it done, the generosity of this community is amazing,” David said.