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Category: Pioneers

TurkeyFest In Omaha NE On Thanksgiving 2021

TurkeyFest delivers record 1,562 Thanksgiving meals to those in need


TurkeyFest Celebrates 30 Years

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TurkeyFest Celebrates 30 Years
Nov 24, 2021

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

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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

Pioneers Silent Auction Celebrating 110 Years of Service

Pioneers Auction 110 Years

Celebrate the 110 year anniversary of the TelecomPioneers!
Share our history with us, by bringing home a piece of Pioneer

About TelecomPioneers

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.

Submitted by Director Elaine Housley

Pioneers Benefits Programs Now Open

Pioneers member benefit programs opportunity for your community, friends and family

Pioneers have a long-standing history of providing support in our communities. We do it through hands-on projects and by providing resources and opportunities to enhance one’s quality of life. In an effort to build on the support we provide, Pioneers are happy to announce that our Affinity Partnerships and discounts are now additional resources and benefits that you can offer to your community partners, organizations, family members and friends. We make a real difference in the communities we serve, and we want Pioneers’ benefits to make a difference as well. Every time someone uses a Pioneers Affinity Partner link, in addition to receiving a great discount, they are also helping the Pioneers retain those Affinity Partner relationships which assists with overall support of the organization. To start sharing, please reference the website or links below. Thank you for your continued support of Pioneers Affinity Partnerships.

Laura Whitlock
Interim Executive Director
Pioneers, a volunteer network


Pioneers Telecom Volunteers | Member Benefits | Partners Discounts

Financial
LifeLock
https://www.lifelock.com/store?promocode=PIONEERSMEMBER
Pioneers get 35% off the first year of LifeLock

Insurance
Vision Service Plan (VSP)
https://www.vspdirect.com/pioneers/welcome
Pioneers save $235+ each year on eye care and eyewear

Travel
Avis**
https://www.avis.com/en/association/B291099
Up to 25% off

Budget**
https://www.budget.com/en/association/R198199
Up to 25% off

Collette
www.gocollette.com/pioneers
Pioneers can save up to $500 per person* on seasonal offers

Emergency Assistance
www.emergencyassistanceplus.com/TelecomPioneers
Pioneers discounted group rates

Hotel Engine**
www.hotelengine.com/join/piovol5
Average savings of 26%

Orlando Vacation
Welcome – Orlando Employee Discounts
Pioneers can save up to 35% off their next vacation to Orlando

TNT/Funjet
https://www.funjet.com/default.aspx?plcode=pioneers&gsvendor=TPV
5% member discount and “Price Match Plus”

Discounts
Life Line Screening

http://www.lifelinescreening.com/pioneers
Special discounted flat group rate. 4 screenings for $135, plus osteo for $10 more

Office Depot
http://officediscounts.org/pioneers/
Pioneers can save up to 75% qualifying items

SCI – Neptune & Dignity
http://www.neptunesociety.com/cremation-prices
Pioneers receive an additional 10% off the standard pricing
https://tp.dignitymemorial.com/

LifeStation
https://www.lifestation.com/pioneers/
Special Offer for Pioneers. Starting at $19.95/month.

Hear in America
http://www.hearinamerica.com/Pioneers
30%-70%

Legal Shield**
https://w3.legalshield.com/gs/init?grp=pvn   
Discounts vary
Long-Term Care 
Planning Kit Call: 1-800-616-8759
Discounts vary

MetLife Dental
MetLife TakeAlong Dental – Dental Insurance
Discounts vary

Nationwide Pet Insurance
TelecomPioneers (petinsurance.com)
Discounts vary

Simply Affordable Insurance
https://info.simplyaffordableinsurance.com/pioneers  
Discounts vary

SingleCare
 http://www.singlecare.com/pioneers
Discounts vary

Brookdale Communities
http://www.pioneersvolunteer.org/Pioneers/Members/Benefits_Details.aspx#/Brookdale
7.5% off monthly fees

Santa Tours**
www.incontra.com
 
** Available to Canadian Pioneers

5680 Greenwood Plaza Blvd, Suite 500
Greenwood Village, CO 80111


Submitted by Administrator

JD Burlie Pioneers and the Central Ohio Veterans Stand Down

This year Bobbie Hall and Jerry Dunbar led the J.D. Burlie Club Pioneers in this years Central Ohio Veterans Stand Down “Duffle Bag Drive” for Vets of Central Ohio. This year the Central Ohio Veterans Stand Down had a fundraiser to fill Duffle Bags for Veteran Men and Women. Each Duffle bag will be filled with items that will help Veterans wherever and however they live. They will have a mix of personal hygiene items, socks, and bedding. All will also have a box of Girl Scout cookies.

“Stand Downs are typically one to three day events providing services to Veterans such as food, shelter, new clothing,VA health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services. Included in these services are housing, employment and substance abuse treatment, education and jobs. Stand Downs are collaborative events, coordinated among local VAs, other government agencies, and community agencies who serve the Veteran community.”

We are creating an opportunity to serve Veterans that best use existing community services and secure our use of funding from veteran focused organizations (i.e. VA, VOA, etc.). We will not be providing services to non-veterans or individuals without credentials. Prior to the Stand Down, we will work with local agencies to help veterans obtain credentials.

In align with our mission, we invite community service providers to offer needed services to our veterans. In this manner, our program will continue to meet the fluid needs of our Veterans in Central Ohio.



Submitted by Elaine Housley New Outlook Director

CROSSROADS CHAPTER 135 (8150) 2020 CLUB & CHAPTER OFFICERS

Gordon Hankins president of Crossroads Chapter 135, New Outlook Pioneers has submitted a club and chapter roster for 2020. This is information for the region and for others that would look to contact different members in the club and Chapter. This roster is to make it easier to contact the officers in the club and chapter. Gordon is also co-chair with his wife Connie of the Therapy Oriented Tricycle (TOT) Project. They took over the TOT Project in 1996.

You may view the roster by clicking on this link.

Submitted by Gordon Hankins President

Heartland Council Meets New Outlook Region Director Elaine Housley

During our spring conference call president Bob Wolkins made a note about Heartland Council restarting our life member luncheons this coming summer. Elaine called him said she would like to know the date and was going to make arrangements to come out to Omaha and attend the LML.

The LML was set for July 29, 2021. Bob and Elaine discussed that since she would be flying out the day before that the council should have a meeting and supper to meet her and the officers could get to know her.

Bob made a reservation at Brother Sebastian’s for Wednesday evening of July 28, 2021. The officers had a meeting with Elaine before supper and after supper Elaine discussed her back ground and then opened it up to a question and answer session that was very informative. The New Outlook reorganization was the big topic of discussion.

Front Row L to R; Deb Grady, Judy Coffey, Elaine Housley, Virginia Fugger
Middle Row L to R; Gordy Viner, Sandy Viner, Joe Bonaiuto, Ray Fugger
Back Row L to R; Jerry Golmanavich, Betty Golmanavich, Bob Wolkins, Carolyn Wolkins, Steve Dawkins

Submitted by Gordy Viner

Heartland Council To Resume Life Member Luncheons

Life Member Luncheon are Back

The Pioneers Life Member Luncheons are back. We have a NEW location (German-American Society) NEW menu and a great PRICE. If you haven’t been for awhile now is a good time to come and visit with friends from work. We hope to see you July 29, 2021. The officers of the Heartland Council


Submitted by LML Chair Judy Coffey

Pioneering in New Territory: Ways to Volunteer from Home

Home Projects and Break Room/Lunch Room Projects

The following projects can be done in a break room or lunch room to involve members and prospective members for a brief time frame. This could peak their interest to volunteer for another project in the future. It lets our members see Pioneers in action. You will need someone present to track participants for reporting time.

  • PROJECT‐ BOOKS AND LABELS

Pioneer Group purchases Scholastic books to be donated to local schools. Dictionaries may be used as well. Make labels to go inside stating “Donated By (your group) Pioneers”. Give the group website and provide a place for a comment and signature if desired. Ask Volunteers to place the labels in the books, sign the decal and pack the books for delivery. Volunteers may be allowed to take the books to a school of their choice if the Group chooses. Be sure all volunteer time and volunteer names are recorded including delivery time.

  • POCKET FLAGS FOR SOLDIERS

Pioneer Group purchases small American Flags to be given to deploying American Soldiers. Volunteers fold the flags then place them in a small plastic bag with a “thank you” note. After folding, flag will be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It can be carried in the Soldier’s chest pocket. For more information, see www.pocketflagproject.com.

  • FOOD DRIVES AND FOOD BASKETS

Pioneer Group purchase or collect food items to be distributed to Food Banks, Homeless shelters, Schools, etc. Pioneers organize similar items together on a large table. Have volunteers take an empty box or basket and go around the table placing one of each item in the container. Have Volunteers fill all the containers and load them for delivery. Ask Volunteers if they would like to participate in the delivery. Be sure all volunteer time and names are recorded including delivery time.

  • PIONEER THANK YOU KITS

Pioneer Groups print up 4×6 cards with the following: Pioneer Thank You Kit

Rubber Band                      You banded us together

Mints                                   Volunteers are worth a mint

Gum                                    Thanks for sticking with it

Toothpick                             To remind you to pick out the good in others

Pipe Cleaner                       To remind you to be flexible

Safety Pin                           To help you hold it all together

Penny                                  For good luck and prosperity

Rose Petal                          To remind you to stop and smell the roses

Foam Piece                         Thanks for being a “foam‐ible” force

Bead                                    Thanks for “beading” there

Pioneers gather all items and put them in separate bowls. As volunteers gather for a luncheon, they are given a baggie and told to place one of each item along with a card in each baggie.

Once all are seated, thank them for their participation, membership and Answering the Call of Those in Need in their communities.

  • STUFF BACKPACKS WITH SCHOOL SUPPLIES

Pioneer groups purchase or collect school supplies and backpacks. Place all like items together in groups on a large table or tables. Have volunteers take a backpack and place one item of each group in the backpack. Place completed backpack in a container for delivery. Then start with another backpack until all are filled. Ask volunteers to assist in loading the backpacks for delivery. Ask volunteers if any of them would like to assist with the delivery. Track all time and volunteer names including delivery time.

  • HEALTH KITS FOR LOCAL SHELTERS

Pioneer Group purchase or collect toiletry items for distribution to shelters. Arrange like items on a large table or tables. Separate tables should be set up for men and women. Have volunteers take a container (bag, box, or etc.) and go around the table and place one of each item in the container. Place completed container in a delivery box. Then start with another container until completed. Ask volunteers to assist with loading the completed boxes for delivery. Ask volunteers if they would like to assist with delivery to the shelters. Track all time and volunteer names, including delivery time.

  • HOMELESS MATS

Pioneer Group collects used plastic shopping bags. Volunteers work with the bags to first cut them into plastic strips and then knit them into sleeping mats. Numerous instruction videos can be located by searching the internet for “sleeping mats for the homeless”.

  • STUFFING CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS

Pioneer Group purchase or collect items to be placed in Christmas stockings as well as the stockings. Arrange like items on a large table or tables. Ask volunteers to take a stocking and

place one of each item in it. Place completed stocking in a delivery container. Start another stocking until all are completed. Ask volunteers to assist with loading the container for delivery. Ask volunteers if they would like to assist with the delivery. Track all time and volunteer names including delivery time.

  • VALENTINES FOR VETERANS

Volunteers prepare bags with items to be given to Veterans. A Valentine card is signed by the volunteer and placed in each bag. The bags are taken to the veterans hospital or other location and given to the individuals.

  1. PIONEER FOOD PANTRY PROJECT

This project is designed to help feed school age children who rely on school‐sponsored food programs for nourishing meals to get through the summer months. Volunteers are given a bag to fill along with a flyer. See attached example. Volunteers return the filled bag with requested items to the group coordinator. The coordinator arranges for delivery of the bags to the Local food bank or shelter.

Other projects‐

These are projects that might draw out participants that have special interests. A few examples are:

  1. Pioneer Playground Maps‐ Invite employees with children to help paint maps. Each volunteer works with their children.
  2. Help scouts earn badges through pioneer‐funded food donations.
  3. Nursing Home Bingo‐ Invite Pioneers to bring high school and college student s to participate and earn volunteer hours for school credit.
  4. CPR training‐can be set up thru the American Red Cross.
  5. Work with other groups (Letter Carriers Food Drive).
  6. Voter registration
  7. Partnership on projects with the CWA.
  8. Blood Drives held at work locations by working with the American Red Cross.
  9. Work with other employee groups.
  10. Set up cookie stations at work locations to say “thanks” for being a member.

Socials‐

We can’t afford to lose money holding a social but we don’t necessarily have to make money. Keep cost to a minimum.

  1. Life Members‐ Bring members together for an annual reunion. Have a very short program about projects completed and upcoming projects. Ask for volunteers. Invite partners, children and grandchildren of Pioneers to participate.
    1. Regular Members‐ Bring members together for an annual get together. Invite and plan theme around families. Short program about projects completed and upcoming projects. Ask for volunteers. Invite partners and children of pioneers to participate.

Other Thoughts‐

These are items to consider as you plan projects and activities around getting more members involved.

  1. Find out what members are interested in.
  2. Meet them where they are. You have to go to them, they won’t come to you.
  3. Remember, what you think is fun might be old and stodgy to others.
  4. Have projects on Saturdays and finish up by noon if possible.
  5. Design projects around the younger generation.
  6. Encourage Family participation.
  7. Engage upper managers when possible.
  8. Use social media to advertise events.
  9. Always say “thanks for volunteering”.

These are just a few thoughts and we’re sure you have many more ideas. The key factor is to have fun. It brings out new participants and keeps them coming back.

Thanks for all you do in Pioneering.