Tanya Iron Thunder will pause on Thanksgiving Day to reflect on past decisions and give thanks for being in her third year of recovery from a life of drug abuse.
Thanks in large part to counseling and treatment at CenterPointe, the 49-year-old Lincoln woman has a new lease on life. In her past is a history marred by an addiction to methamphetamine that eventually led to drug and forgery charges.
In 2006, she received a three-year sentence to the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women in York. She served the sentence and completed a probationary period stemming from an unrelated matter on Feb. 14 of this year.
Iron Thunder says she discovered a different pathway to life through the counseling assistance of Frieda and Melissa — counselors assigned to her case at CenterPointe — and through meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. She has also found spiritual guidance at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ and Christ Place Church.
“As a young teenager I chose to ‘fit in’ …. I did not know about the addiction that came with that,” said Iron Thunder, who has wrestled with meth abuse since her teenage years.
“Today, though, I have help from CenterPointe that has taught me how to make the daily choice to not pick up. Most importantly, I have my higher power, Lord Wakonda. By the grace of God, there go I.”
Her list of reasons to be thankful on Thanksgiving next week will be longer than it’s been in a while. She is grateful for being in her third year of recovery, the expiration of her probationary period and for her job as a driver for RailCrew Xpress transportation service — an opportunity that has added significance in light of the pandemic and related financial woes.
Moving forward, she's hopeful for a reconciliation with her 21-year-old daughter, and is looking forward to the release of her husband, who is serving a sentence on a drug-related charge at the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.
Lincoln-area residents who need a helping hand
Lincoln-area residents who need a helping hand this season
Lincoln Housing Authority
Kari, 45, is a single mother of four children (ages 12-17) and a recently adopted 2-year-old granddaughter. Kari works two jobs but struggles to make ends meet, and work on her GED had to stop when her granddaughter came into her care. She needs clothing for her children and gas to get to and from work. Gift cards are welcome. Contact Courtney at 402-434-5529 or Courtney@L-housing.com.
Sarah, a 31-year-old single mother of two girls (ages 1 and 2), gets housing assistance after being forced to leave her previous home. Sarah needs help fixing her car so she can get to work. She would appreciate winter boots and coats for her and her daughters -- sizes 7 & 9 (boots) and women's L, 4T & 5T (coats). Contact Courtney at 402-434-5529 or Courtney@L-housing.com.
Lancaster County Veterans Treatment Court
Bill is a veteran who has been in the Veterans Treatment Court to gain control of his sobriety. He lost his job due to the economic downturn this summer. Bill is a single father and could use baby diapers (size 6) and wipes, and a twin bed. Contact Dean Rohwer at 531-220-6031 or email@example.com.
Fresh Start Home
Shana, 22, came to Fresh Start from incarceration, arriving with her belongings in a shoebox. She recently received her two-years-sober coin and has a full-time job. She’s paying her way, but she’d love movie passes, gas cards or a Walmart gift card. Contact Audrey at 402-475-7777 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jada, 56, has struggled with alcoholism and homelessness for over 20 years. She recently received her one year-sober coin and has a full-time job. She needs wireless headphones, perfume, a wall mirror, socks (size 4-10), gas cards and a Walmart gift card. Contact Audrey at 402-475-7777 or email@example.com.
Sara, 44, fled a domestic violence situation, leaving everything behind. She needs a large heating pad, fuzzy full-length robe (navy blue XXL), sweatpants and hoodie (men’s XXL), and a body pillow with pillowcase. Contact Audrey at 402-475-7777 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anna, her 13-year-old daughter and 9-month-old son are part of St. Monica's Project Mother and Child. This holiday season she would like baby books for her son and craft projects for her daughter. Contact Isabel at 402-441-3768 or Isabel.email@example.com.
Ella, a single mother at St. Monica's Project Mother and Child, will graduate from treatment in December. She needs a bed, dresser, and lamp for her 3-year-old daughter's new bedroom, a bed for herself and a couch for her living room. Contact Isabel at 402-441-3768 or Isabel.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quinn is graduating from her St. Monica's program in November and needs pots and pans, kitchen utensils, silverware, a broom and dustpan, mop, vacuum, shower curtain, bath mat and plates and cups to start her new home. Contact Isabel at 402-441-3768 or Isabel.email@example.com.
Sarah is graduating from her St. Monica's program this winter and needs a laptop so she can go back to school and finish her degree. She would also like clothes for herself, size M-L (10-12) and her son, size M-L (10-12). Contact Isabel at 402-441-3768 or Isabel.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Janet is graduating from St. Monica's Project Mother and Child this winter and needs a rocking chair, luggage set and storage bins. She is expecting a baby and will need a crib, crib sheets and baby boy clothes size 6-9 months. Contact Isabel at 402-441-3768 or Isabel.email@example.com.
Janelle, Macy and Luke have been through a lot this year. As a family, they’re learning and growing stronger together. Janelle, 32, is size XL (14) and would like new pots and pans and living room furniture. Macy, 12, is a size XL (16, juniors). Macy would like art supplies, including paint and oil pastels. Luke, 8, is a size M (10/12 boys). Luke likes Beyblades and Hot Wheels. Contact Loraine at 402-475-5161 ext. 325.
Fiona has relocated to a new city and transitioned to communal living, making new friends and growing both mentally and emotionally. She has been actively participating in community support groups to build a solid foundation and a new life of sobriety. Her goal is to finish the last two years of her bachelor’s degree, but to do so, she needs a laptop computer with the capability of online support. Contact Loraine at 402-475-5161 ext. 325.
Dave utilizes CenterPointe to maintain his mental health. He is recovering from two surgeries in the last five months. He would like a laptop computer to stay connected during the pandemic, to order his groceries online and attend group sessions virtually. He would like a pair of Adidas or Nike tennis shoes (size 14) to walk with his faithful dog, which could use adult dog food, large dog bones, and a large Husker-themed collar, halter and leash. Contact Loraine at 402-475-5161 ext. 325.
Stephanie just learned she has cancer and needs a partial hysterectomy. She supported her sister’s friend surrounding her dad’s death in Texas recently, has been sober in the midst of a pandemic, has three kids and a ton of bills. She wants nothing for herself, but wants her three kids to have something for Christmas. Zach, 17, would like old-school band T-shirts (XL) like Pink Floyd and The Beatles, and any PlayStation 4 games. Angie, 14, likes girly things (except for dresses!) and asks for a Rue 21 gift card, craft supplies, an Apple Store gift card for games and a nail-salon gift card. Robby, 10, would like a Roblox computer game, anything Minecraft, a Nintendo Switch and a Google Play card. Contact Mallory at 402-475-5161 ext. 347.
Emma and her five teenage children -- three girls and two boys -- arrived at Friendship Home last month, fleeing a physically violent household. Friendship Home’s advocates are finding creative ways to engage the children during this time. Emma is looking for a DVD player, board games and tablets as well as earbuds for the kids to do their homework. Contact Dani Bryant at 402-434-0167 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beverly, 71, needs a "new used" car. Her vehicle is almost 20 years old and is missing a back-passenger window. Her mechanic says it’s not worth the expense to repair the numerous problems, and Beverly is concerned about making it through the winter. She uses her car only for her medical appointments, and to pick up her grandchildren after school so she can watch them until their mom gets off work. If you have a reliable used car to donate, Contact Jacki Eden at 402-441-9319 or email@example.com.
Felecia, 69, has had a series of operations this past year. She has had to give up driving, use a wheelchair and accept help to meet some of her daily needs. She lives in an older home that needs its foundation replaced. A hard rain causes the basement to become wet and mold to develop. She cannot afford the repairs. Is there a company that could donate its services? Contact Nancy Spreitzer at 402-441-6147 or Nspreitzer@lincoln.ne.gov.
Voices of Hope
Michelle and her two children (boy, 4, and girl, 2) fled her abusive partner. She is trying to celebrate the holidays with a minimal budget. Gift cards to Walmart and Target for gifts and clothes and grocery stores for a holiday meal would be appreciated. Contact Stephanie Geery-Zink at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-476-2110 (leave message).
Doreen is preparing to leave her abusive partner and needs financial help. U-Haul gift certificates to move her belongings and gift cards for grocery stores would help her move into a new apartment. Contact Stephanie Geery-Zink at email@example.com or 402-476-2110 (leave message).
Emma lost her restaurant job due to COVID-19 and is struggling to provide for her children. Financial assistance for utility bills, a TracFone with minutes/data so she can look for jobs and gift cards to grocery stores would help her until she is able to find work. Contact Stephanie Geery-Zink at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-476-2110 (leave message).
Marta, a single mother of two teenage girls, ages 13 and 15, left her abusive husband. She has fewer work hours at her job due to COVID-19 cutbacks and is trying to make Christmas happy for her children. Gift cards would make their season bright, including from grocery stores for a holiday meal, from Walmart or Target to buy the girls new clothes and from local bookstores. Contact Stephanie Geery-Zink at email@example.com or 402-476-2110 (leave message).
Tabitha Meals on Wheels
Barbara enjoyed caring for others before retiring from a 35-year nursing career. During the pandemic, she is staying home to protect herself, and she struggles to afford regular meals. As little as $6.25 a day helps Barbara stay healthy with a nutritious meal and a friendly hello from Tabitha Meals on Wheels volunteers. Contact Michaela Johanns Young at 402-484-9756 or Michaela.Young@Tabitha.org.
Victoria, 18, and her son Xander, 2, came to CEDARS to flee domestic violence. CEDARS found them a safe home and helped them with essentials, but Victoria hopes for more for Xander. She needs household items like towels, dishes, pots and pans and silverware. Xander needs warm clothing (size 2T-3T) and could also use toys that promote learning. He loves monster trucks. Contact Tina Reeves at 402-904-3261 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Janine had finished raising her own children when she was asked to become the sole caretaker to two of her grandchildren. Mariah, 14, and Aiden, 11, are nonverbal and on the autism spectrum, and Janine would like to provide them with a special holiday this year. Mariah would love sensory-friendly toys, headphones, makeup and clothing, including sweatshirts, sweatpants and socks (adult size L). Aiden would enjoy Play-Doh, jigsaw puzzles and any electronics. Janine could use a Keurig coffee maker and grocery store gift cards. Contact Tina Reeves at 402-904-3261 or email@example.com.
Lancaster County Adult Drug Court
Andrea moved into her first apartment six months ago. She works in the food service industry but has struggled with decreased wages due to the pandemic. She needs a vacuum, microwave, toaster, coffee pot and other kitchen appliances to live more comfortably in her new home. Contact Deb Van Lent at 402-441-7501 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tim struggled for years with his sobriety and homelessness. Tim has been sober for 13 months and has been employed for 10 months. Tim has recently struggled financially due to unexpected bills. He needs cleaning and laundry supplies. Contact Deb Van Lent at 402-441-7501 or email@example.com.
Lorraine works two part-time jobs to meet the needs of her family. Lorraine is a “giver” and helps others before herself. To surprise her with a gift card for a manicure or pedicure, contact Deb Van Lent at 402-441-7501 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lancaster County Adult Drug Court needs self-care items for men and women that enter the program. To donate toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant or body soap, contact Deb Van Lent at 402-441-7501 or email@example.com.
Michael, 32, is being treated for alcohol addiction and working his recovery plan but needs to attend virtual doctor appointments and relies on Zoom to stay in touch with his children. Best Buy gift cards would help get Michael a tablet. Contact Brianna Georgeson at 402-477-3951 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
John, 40, sought treatment for his cocaine addiction after becoming homeless earlier this year. He has Afro-textured hair and needs personal hygiene products such as Shea Moisture. Contact Brianna Georgeson at 402-477-3951 or email@example.com.