GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.
On November 30, 2021, we’ll unite for a worldwide celebration of generosity. GivingTuesday is an opportunity for people around the world to come together through generosity in all its forms by sharing acts of kindness and giving their voice, time, money, goods, and advocacy to support communities and causes.
Starting today on November 30 and through the month of December, the world will come together to support the charities that are so important to helping others. Please remember to donate to the Pioneers on Giving Tuesday. www.newoutlookpioneers.net
Volunteer Deb Grady will arrive at the Kroc Center by 5 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning – something she’s been doing every Thanksgiving for more than two decades. Grady coordinates 20 or so volunteers from Heartland Pioneers, many of whom worked for Western Electric, AT&T and CommScope and have been helping to prepare Thanksgiving meals for TurkeyFest since its inception in 1991.
Originally called the Telephone Pioneers of America, the group focused on a variety of community service projects. In the early days of their partnership with The Salvation Army, Telephone Pioneers volunteers cooked the turkeys in their own home kitchens and then delivered them to The Salvation Army on Thursday morning to be delivered to older adults later that day.
In 1991, TurkeyFest volunteers delivered 40 meals. This year The Salvation Army anticipates that 1,200 Thanksgiving dinners will be distributed to older adults in Omaha.
“I love the camaraderie, everyone doing their part and in tune with one another,” said Grady, who prepares Thanksgiving dinner for her own family on Wednesday so she is free to help out at TurkeyFest on Thanksgiving morning. “And we have fun! We enjoy ourselves back there in the kitchen.”
Grady retired in 2011 from Connectivity Solutions Manufacturing, a former division of CommScope, where she worked in the print shop. But she has stayed in touch with many of her colleagues through TurkeyFest.
“It’s a nice opportunity to see people that we don’t ordinarily connect with except at this time of the year,” she said.
Grady doesn’t have plans to step down from her TurkeyFest duties anytime soon. “I’ve made mashed potatoes for TurkeyFest for more years than I can count,” she said. “It’s just part of my Thanksgiving tradition.”
Omaha Man Spends Nearly 30 Thanksgivings Giving Back To The Community
By Ashly Richardson Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 1:53 PM CST|Updated: 20 hours ago OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Thanksgiving is a day Doug Thoms holds near to his heart.
For three decades he has been volunteering for the Salvation Army’s Turkey Fest.
“I’ve been involved in turkey fest in one way or another from washing dishes to cutting turkeys, from washing the peas or string beans doing the mash potatoes. Just about anything they need me to do, I do,” said Thoms.
Doug is part of a much larger tradition. It started 30 years ago with workers from the Western Electric phone company.
The group is called the pioneers and Doug is one of the many that continues to carry on the tradition even after the company closed its doors in Omaha.
“It closed about 10 years ago so the volunteers are still going on and doing what we’ve always done. We won’t let stop us,” said Thoms.
Today they are helping to dish out nearly 1,200 meals to those in need. The process works like an assembly line and once it’s boxed up, it gets delivered.
“It will go all over to individual residences that can’t get out. So the people that are in wheelchairs or shut-ins, that are sick or whatever reason. That’s one of the criteria so it’s delivered to house and nursing homes,” said Kevin Newlin, Turkey Fest Chef.
The Salvation Army says the need has grown this year because of the pandemic. And with more people needing a warm meal this holiday, Doug says it’s as important as ever to give back to the community.
“I always say that it takes a village and it does take a village. We look at this as not an I, I situation but a we situation. We need to get out and help people that are less fortunate than us.”
Pictures and stories by the Salvation Army and WOWT – All the volunteers thank them – 2021
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Pioneers is a network of volunteers in Canada and the US who effect immediate, tangible change in local communities. Our network of volunteers donate over four million hours of volunteer time annually. We focus our efforts in five major areas: helping military families, protecting the environment, education, life enrichment and health and human services. We are looking for volunteers and donors who share our passion for answering the call of those in need, so we can strengthen our legacy of making a difference.
The pandemic continued on into 2021 and the needs at Josie Harper Hospice House remained about the same for the year as last. In early September Sandy Viner (chair) began shopping for the needs this fall. The needs continued to be body lotions, shampoos, body wash, baby powder, shaving cream, combs and tooth brushes. Gary the executive director and Lisa the development director asked if it would be possible to add non-ticking wall clocks for the rooms to the list and Sandy told them to let her know how many they needed.
On this bright sunny afternoon of November 9 Sandy and Gordy were ready to load the SUV and deliver the items that Sandy had purchased this fall. Upon arrivial we were met by Maggie and nurse Heidi. While unload the SUV Gary the director came out and visited with us before they took all of the items inside. Gary and Maggie thanked us and the Heartland Council Pioneers for all of the items we delivered.
Submitted by chair Sandy Viner photos by Gordy Viner
At the end of October it was time for the Cozy Wrap group to deliver the items that they had assembled this fall. Bob and Carolyn’s first stop was at the Open Door Mission. They had lap robs, stocking hats and scarves. From there they headed over to Council Bluffs, IA to the Risen Sun Christian Village with a large number of lap robs. The administrators thanked them both for the items and told them that the items will be handy this winter.
The last photo is of the the items made by the satellite Cozy Wrap group of Granby. Everything assembled on the table was made for the Operation Christmas Child for the Christmas program at Samaritans Purse. They were very thankful to the Cozy Wrap group for their help this year.
Submitted by Chair Carolyn Wolkins and photographer Bob Wolkins