Volunteers at Council Bluffs shelter help out community with holiday celebration drive-thru

Published: Dec. 18, 2021 at 6:26 PM CST
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - New Visions Homeless Services help people year-round, 24-7 but they go even more above and beyond once the holidays roll around.

It may be cold out but that’s not stopping these volunteers. The New Vision Homeless shelter in Council Bluffs hosts its 27th annual community-wide holiday celebration.

“Really what it’s about is to let the community know that we’re here to support each other.”

About 5,000 people drove through the shelter parking lot to receive things like food, toys, books, and even wrapping paper.

Finances can be even tighter during the holiday season for some families so this drive-thru event helps with getting all the necessities needed for a Christmas celebration.

“You know with the rising cost of gas and utilities going up, that people do have to be very careful with where they’re spending their dollars so Christmas is not in the budget. But we live in a society where we tell our kids if you’re good, you’re going to get your Christmas gifts. So we want to make sure Santa is there on Christmas morning for every single family in our community,” said Brandy Waller, CEO of New Vision Services.

Waller thinks that this even makes a huge impact on these families and that the community is more than happy to give them a helping hand.

“This event shows them there’s a whole community that supports them. Even the thought that they get to select from a prime rib. Our partners think so much of these families that they matter and have people there for them that may need extra help.”

Waller’s favorite part of the day?

“We give the kids a gift to wrap for the parents on Christmas morning. So I love seeing the excitement when we tell them this is for mom or dad. Don’t tell them what it is.”

The event will be going on until 7 p.m. Saturday.

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