Good Deeds, Jan. 13

Bo Guidry, right, general manager of Harrah's Council Bluffs Casino and Hotel, hands over the keys to Jill Orton of the American Red Cross Loess Hills Chapter.


The following are fundraisers, donations and charitable events happening in the Midlands. Email your information about good deeds to connect@owh.com or call 402-444-1040.

Workshop, dinner: Reservations are due Wednesday to see astronaut and Nebraska native Clayton Anderson honored Jan. 23 with the Tom Osborne Leadership Award. Leadership Hastings will present the award at Lochland Country Club in Hastings, Neb. The evening will include the award presentation, a social hour, dinner and program including special guests. The banquet will be preceded by a half-day leadership seminar featuring a workshop, “Soaring to New Heights in 2013,” a motivational presentation by Nebraska volleyball coach John Cook, and a question-and-answer session with Anderson and Cook.

Individual tickets are $60 for the seminar and banquet or $40 for the banquet only. Proceeds after expenses will help support Leadership Hastings' training programs and future events. To order tickets, make checks payable to Leadership Hastings and send to: Leadership Hastings, P.O. Box 1104, Hastings, NE 68902-1104. For more information, call Leadership Hastings at 402-461-8411.

Book sale: The Lincoln Area Retired School Personnel will have its 34th annual book sale this week at Gateway Mall, 66th and O Streets in Lincoln, in the upper level by Sears. The sale provides funding for scholarships and other children's activities. The sale will begin Wednesday with an Early Bird Pre-Sale from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. There is an entry fee of $10 per person that evening only. The sale continues with no admission fee to the public Thursday through Jan. 20, Jan. 24-27 and Jan. 31-Feb. 2. Mall hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Approximately 10,000 square feet of books, puzzles, music, records, tapes, videos, DVDs and CDs will be for sale.

Sharing the warmth: The Keeping Winter Warm Concert will be Friday at the Market Church, 1314 Jones St. in the Old Market. Hear local musicians In Love and Pancho & the Contraband as they join with the church to support the homeless and needy population of Omaha. The show will begin at 8 p.m.; doors will open at 7 p.m. Admission to the show will be winter items: blankets, coats, scarves, gloves, etc., but blankets are the preferred donation. Proceeds from this event will be paired with an ongoing donation drive. The ongoing donations of dry goods and personal hygiene items will be separated into “Warming Bags,” which will be paired with a warm item or two donated at the concert. Volunteers will be recruited to hand out these items in person to those living on the streets.

More scholarship money: The Mid-Plains Education Association will host a Scholarship Soup Supper on Friday and Saturday at North Platte (Neb.) Community College. The fundraiser will be held during the last two days of the South Platte Valley Association Basketball Tournament on the South Campus. Soup, chili and baked goods will be served from 5 p.m. through halftime of Friday's last game and from 11:30 a.m. through halftime of Saturday's last game.

Back to the '80s: The Sarpy Chamber Young Professionals will host the Totally Awesome '80s Prom at the Sarpy County YMCA, 1111 E. First St., in Papillion. The party will run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Jan. 26 and include a buffet dinner, spiked punch, a photo booth with '80s props, a disk jockey and a cash bar. Guests are encouraged to dress up with frizzy hair, leg warmers and more to evoke the '80s. Prizes will be awarded for best dressed, best hair and a dance-off. The prom is a fundraiser for the Y's Strong Kids campaign. Preregistration, due Friday, is available at sarpychamber.org. Tickets are $40. Walk-ins will be accepted.

Beyond athletics: For the past four years, Peru (Neb.) State College's Student Athlete Advisory Committee has participated in the annual Make A Difference Day sponsored by USA magazine. Student-athletes representing Peru's nine athletic programs make up the committee. Each year, the athletic programs compete to see which team can come up with the most winter season items on a proportional basis determined by their squad size. Three boxes of items and a $50 gift card to Sunmart were donated recently to Project Response, which serves Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Richardson and Johnson Counties. Peru's softball team claimed its third title in the four years of providing the most items or donations or both. Tying for second place in the most donations were the golf and cross country teams.

So many books: Assistance League of Omaha joined with 93 other Assistance League chapters nationwide to have a Children's Book Drive. Nationally, 113,101 books were collected for distribution to schools and nonprofits dedicated to improving childhood literacy. Locally, Assistance League of Omaha collected 1,215 books for children. These books were donated to Lydia House, Safe Haven, Santa Monica House, the Stephen Center, the Shelter, Operation School Bell and Operation Teen Parent.

Compiled by Sue Story Truax with World-Herald News Service

Meals on wheels

Bluffs charity can kick giving into high gear with new ride

The Council Bluffs Meals on Wheels program got a new set of wheels Tuesday, thanks to the charitable foundation for Caesars Entertainment, formerly Harrah’s Entertainment.

The 2013 Ford Explorer will allow volunteers with the American Red Cross Loess Hills Chapter to deliver hot, nutritious meals to nearly 200 senior citizens who live independently in their homes in the Bluffs.

“It’s a nice multipurpose vehicle,” said Susan Schwartz, the chapter’s community services coordinator, who oversees Meals on Wheels. “We were really in desperate need of a new vehicle. We hadn’t gotten one since 2003.”

Caesars provided $30,000 toward the purchase of the vehicle, which came from McMullen Ford, said Jill Orton, chapter executive and region chief services officer.

“They were real good about working with us on the purchase,” she said.

The SUV will be driven primarily by senior aide Leroy Williams, who hands out route sheets to drivers and delivers multiple routes, when needed, Schwartz said.

“It’s got plenty of cargo space so we can load up any number of routes,” she said.

The Meals on Wheels program began in 1969 and delivers an average of 2,400 meals a month, according to the chapter. It is dependent on volunteer drivers to reach those in need.

“It is very rewarding to be able to help people through this program,” said Rory DeSantiago, a Caesars employee and Meals on Wheels volunteer. “I am grateful that Caesars Entertainment has such a high commitment to our community that they were willing to donate a vehicle to this worthwhile cause.”

The Meals on Wheels database includes 195 recipients, but far fewer actually receive meals on any given day, Schwartz said.

Delivery sites are divided into eight routes on weekdays and three on Saturday, she said. The program has about 50 individual volunteers, plus groups from local churches, businesses and organizations that take over routes on certain days.

“The volunteer drivers offer a friendly greeting, reassurance to family members their loved one is receiving a hot, nutritious meal and, at times, a lifeline in the event of a medical emergency,” Orton said.

Meals on Wheels meals are prepared at Jennie Edmundson Hospital under the supervision of a registered dietitian.

World-Herald News Service

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