Smile. Be kind. Do good. That’s our mission at Hawley Orthodontics and we strive to spread positivity and do good wherever we go, especially in our own community. While we believe in giving back year round, during the holidays, it feels particularly appropriate. After all, it’s a time many of us our counting our blessings. Our team is all about embracing gratitude and bringing joy and holiday cheer to others. This year, we invite you and your family to join us. Not sure where to start? We’re sharing another installment of our favorite family-friendly Omaha volunteer opportunities that are perfect for the holiday season:
- Open Door Mission – Open Door Mission aims to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness. The organization offers shelter beds to people experiencing homelessness, serves nutritious meals and provides thousands of individuals with preventative resources. There are a number of Open Door Mission Omaha volunteer opportunities that the whole family can take part in during the holidays, including:
o Cabela’s Gift Wrapping – Sign up to wrap gifts at Cabela’s in exchange for donations that will be given to Open Door Mission on Saturday, December 21. There are still multiple times available.
o Christmas Eve Banquet – On Tuesday, December 24 from 3 to 6pm at Garland Thompson Men’s Center, the organization will hold a banquet-style meal for men, women and children experiencing homelessness. Volunteers are needed to help prepare or serve the meal and/or help with cleanup. School-aged kids are welcome with an adult.
o Christmas Day Brunch & Banquet – There will be a brunch and banquet on Christmas Day with brunch being served from 8 to 11am and the banquet being held from 3 to 6pm. This is also open to school-aged children if they’re accompanied by an adult.
o New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day Brunch & Banquet – Open Door Mission will be serving up festive meals for brunch (8 to 11am) and during its banquet (3 to 6pm) on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Prep, serve and/or help with cleanup and bring the kids with you.
- Heartland Hope Mission – Heartland Hope Mission is a faith-based nonprofit organization that offers basic necessities and services to help the working poor get back on their feet. The organization is another great source for holiday volunteer opportunities in Omaha. Anyone, aged 12 and up, can volunteer at one of the food pantries or lend a hand during the Christmas in South O event, which distributes toys, books, wrapping paper, blankets and foods to families in need. Volunteers are needed to sort and organize toys into age categories in December, as well as to donate store-bought Christmas cookies to distribute. Or, you can host your own toy drive to support the event. Complete a volunteer form or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Siena Francis House – Siena House is Nebraska’s largest shelter and provides emergency overnight shelter to people experiencing homelessness. They also provide food, clothing and case management outreach services to help empower people on their path to housing. Volunteer to serve a meal during the holidays. Dinner is served every evening from 4:30 to 7pm and brunch is served from 8:30 until 11am each Sunday. Siena House also offers group volunteer opportunities in Omaha. Sign-up for a time slot here.
- Be a Santa to a Senior Program –Home Instead Senior Care® partners with local organizations to identify senior citizens who wouldn’t receive gifts this holiday season. They then place trees at local businesses with ornaments that have senior citizens’ names and gift suggestions written on them. You can simply take an ornament, purchase the gift, and then place the unwrapped gift and ornament in the designated box. You can find a tree here. Or, if you’d prefer, volunteer to collect, wrap or deliver gifts.
- The Salvation Army of Omaha – The holiday season is when the Salvation Army needs Omaha volunteers the most. Be a bell ringer and collect donations through December 24, take calls during the Adopt-a-Family Radiothon on December 5 and 6 or collect toys at a toy drive. Check out the full list of options to find an event.
- Sarpy County Holiday Assistance Program – The Sarpy County Holiday Assistance Program is on a mission to ensure every child in the community has a gift under the tree and families have a nourishing meal. Every year, more than 400 families receive assistance during the Holiday Assistance Event. This year, it will be held on December 14 from 8 to 11:30am at the Bellevue Christian Center (1400 Harvell Drive, Bellevue). Donations of cash, gift cards, books, games and toys are needed, as well as people to volunteer at the actual event. To donate, bring donations to the Sarpy County Human Services Office (1261 Golden Gate Drive, Suite 1E, Papillion) by Friday, December 6. For more information on volunteering, contact Sarpy County Human Services Director Sharon Boehmer at (402) 593-4414.
- Shine the Light on Hunger – As part of the popular Omaha’s Holiday Lights Festival, Conagra Brands Foundation’s Shine Light on Hunger campaign will return for its 13th year. The initiative helps to support hunger relief programs and provide meals for those in need. There will be food collection barrels at a variety of sites around Omaha, including Baker’s Supermarket locations in Omaha and Bellevue, where you can donate non-perishable food items. You can see the full list of drop sites here. Additionally, a portion of the admission charged at the Capitol District Ice Rink (10th Street and Capitol Avenue, Omaha) will also support the campaign. Conagra Foods will match up to $100,000. To turn this into a service project for your family or friends, start a canned food drive at school, in your neighborhood, at church or with your sports team.
Happy holidays from Hawley Orthodontics! We hope you’ll join us in our efforts to smile, be kind and do good. If you take part in one of these Omaha volunteer opportunities (or even one of your own causes), we’d love to see it! Snap a photo and tag it #SmileBeKindDoGood and let’s work together to bring the holiday spirit to our community.