Thanks for Giving family

Last year, Journal Star readers helped hard-working sisters Tania Bedford (left) and Naudia Menyweather and their kids with gift cards, toys and financial assistance.

Since 1983, the Journal Star has asked local human services agencies to share stories of real people with real needs as part of its Thanks for Giving project — and readers have stepped up every year.

Take a moment and think about neighbors who may be struggling to cover basic needs as we head for the holidays. Then contact the agencies listed below if you can help.

Some details have been trimmed to make room for as many requests as possible. To see them in their entirety — and to see more requests — please go to

Thank you for your help.

Aging Partners

John is a 66-year-old disabled Vietnam War veteran. He had his teeth pulled and can't afford dentures, which cost at least $1,165. Can you help him get a chance to chew again? Contact Barb Straus, 402-441-6119 or

Mr. F, 63, took early retirement to take care of his mom and planned to return to work after she died, but he has been diagnosed with jaw and mouth cancer. Mr. F is living in a fifth wheel without running water, and he must puree his food. He’s looking for subsidized housing and will need help with deposit and moving expenses. Contact Velvet Hoskins, 402-441-6109 or

Mr. and Ms. P both need diabetic shoes at $163 a pair. The Diabetic Outreach Center can fit and order the shoes, but we are asking for donations to help them get the shoes they need. Contact Velvet Hoskins, 402-441-6109 or


Ruth is 22 and lives with a major mental illness. She came in with her belongings in a backpack and has a new apartment but needs twin sheets, a warm cover, new pillows and cases. Contact Jessica at 402-475-5161, ext. 360, or

Joseph, a 55-year-old veteran, is overcoming dependence on alcohol. He is graduating from CenterPointe’s Veteran’s Transitional Housing program and needs new towels, washcloths, a shower curtain with rings and bathroom trash can. Contact Deb at 402-475-5161, ext. 341, or

Peter is 45 and overcoming homelessness, depression and addiction issues. He needs dishes for four, flatware, water glasses, a dish drainer and dish towels for his new apartment. Contact Logan at 402-475-5161, ext. 306, or

Lutheran Family Services

Ms. Rose and her daughter fled domestic violence, and she’s working through depression and trying to increase her self-esteem. She needs a winter coat, shirts and clothing, including a purple hoodie, and her daughter wants little girl makeup and earrings, plus gift cards to Walmart, Target or Shopko and donations for rent, plus kitchen supplies and home furnishings.

Megan is in her 40s and is battling cancer and other physical and mental health issues. She has been living at the People’s City Mission for a year with her three adult children, all of whom have mental health diagnoses. She got a place to live but needs beds for herself and her children, a kitchen table, utensils and a recliner. She could also use gift cards to stores that carry household items. Clothing (sizes 2XL-4XL). Contact Jessica at 402-580-6142.

Julie has two kids and a newborn. She’s in a shelter and looking for her own place. She could use diapers (size 1-2) and wipes, clothing (boy, 3 months, and size 1-2). Her daughter, 8, loves L.O.L. Surprise toys. Julie needs furniture, kitchen utensils and other things for her new apartment. She‘d be grateful for gift cards to Walmart and Target. Contact Jessica at 402-580-6142.

Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department Healthy Families Home Visiting Program

Monica grew up in an alcoholic household and is trying to provide a more stable childhood for her daughter, Brianna, 18 months, who needs a toddler bed and bedding, winter clothing (size 18-24 months) and shoes (size 6 or Walmart gift card). Contact Marj, 402-450-4305 or

Molly, 21, and Andrew, 22, have a 7-month-old, Allison, who was born 11 weeks premature and has some health complications. They saved enough to buy a vehicle to get them to appointments and work. They need kitchen supplies/cookware, diapers, gift cards and gas vouchers. Andrew needs shirts (size L), pants (32/34) and shoes (11). Molly needs shirts (XL), pants (12) and shoes (8½). Contact Amity, 402-441-5640 or

Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach

Sammy is three years sober and recently reunited with her kids, Tony, 15; Shelia, 14; Josie, 11; and Kathy, 9. They’re starting over and need twin beds, sheets, blankets, dressers, night stands, pots, pans, towels, dishes, glasses, silverware, shower curtains, rugs, bath towels, washcloths and hygiene and cleaning items, plus things to make their living room welcoming. Contact Rosie Newell, 402-817-0612 or

John had been homeless for more than a year but is a motivated young man who is working part time through a temp agency. He has his first apartment and would appreciate toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags, pots/pans, dishes, a coffee pot, coffee, hygiene items, laundry soap and a bike lock. Contact Retha, 402-835-6294 or

Sheryl is a hard-working mom who could use help with the holidays. Her son Trevor, 7, wants a remote control car and a soccer ball. Leanne, 8, needs a coat (size 10), a hat and gloves. She loves Shopkins dolls, My Little Pony and wants a baby doll, toy kitten, puppy or hamster. Ryan, 1, needs clothes (18 months) and toys. Sheryl needs a coat (size L/14) and clothes, including shirts and pants. Contact Rosie Newell, 402-817-0612 or

The Bridge Behavioral Health

Bob, 45, is a mechanic who will soon transition from residential treatment for a meth addiction and has a job lined up. He needs $600 for a deposit and first month’s rent to get started. Contact Bonnie Ehlert, 402-477-3951 or

Kathryn, 32, needs treatment for addiction, but first she needs antibiotics to fight an infection and money for anxiety and depression medication. A donation of $50 will pay for a month’s supply. Contact Bonnie Ehlert, 402-477-3951 or

Jim is 41 and started using drugs at 11. He lost his job as a chef after landing in jail, but he’s ready to put his skills back to work to support his three kids. Jim needs $25 to renew his expired food handler’s permit. Contact Bonnie Ehlert, 402-477-3951 or

Lancaster County Adult Drug Court

David was planning to live with his sister, but she died a month before he was released from custody to begin the drug court program. He is committed to staying sober and needs the basics for a new home: a toaster, coffee pot, electric skillet, towels, dishes, silverware, glasses or cookware. Contact Deb Van Lent, 402-441-7501 or

Nicole has two kids and has had unexpected auto repair costs. To help with laundry or cleaning supplies, contact Deb Van Lent, 402-441-7501 or

Scott has struggled with alcoholism and homelessness for more than 30 years. He recently got his one-year sobriety coin and has a full-time job. He’s paying his way, but he’d love movie passes or tickets to local sporting events. Contact Deb Van Lent, 402-441-7501 or

Voices of Hope

Jenny and her toddler recently fled an abusive relationship and need a crib that converts to a toddler bed, toddler mattress and changing table. She could use gas cards to get to work and child care. Contact Lindsey T., 402-476-2110 or

Susan escaped a 10-year abusive relationship, and she and her three kids are struggling with the basics. They need gas cards to get to work and school, gift cards for food, supplies and phone minutes, plus gift certificates for movies and activities for kids 7, 9 and 16. Contact Lindsey T., 402-476-2110 or,

Linda, 19, fled to Lincoln from a sexually abusive boyfriend in a small town. She has an apartment but needs a vacuum, cleaning supplies, laundry and paper products. She also needs a cellphone with minutes and gas cards so she can look for work. Contact Lindsey T., 402-476-2110 or

Clinton Elementary School

Shelley has Allison, 8th grade; Samuel, 4th; Zach, 2nd; and Charlie and Kenneth, preschool. A fire destroyed their belongings. They need girls pants (sizes 14-16) and shirts (L), boys pants (9-10, 7, 4T, 3T) and shirts (4T, 3T, M, and L in boys sizes), diapers (size 5) and wipes. Socks for all. Shelley needs pants (size 5) and shirts (L). The children would love books, coloring books, crayons, puzzles, games, puzzle books and stuffed animals. Allison would like nail polish and hair supplies; Samuel a walkie-talkie and games; Zach goggles and a monster truck; Charlie a beanbag chair; Kenneth Legos. They also need toilet paper, shampoo, body wash, toothpaste and toothbrushes, as well as towels, pillows and cases and blankets, trash and sandwich bags, a big laundry basket, dishes and silverware. Contact Linda Kern, 402-436-1132 or

Cedars Kids

Karly and Dan recently became foster parents to three children. They have good jobs but could use help with holiday gifts. Haley, 12, enjoys painting, arts and crafts and painting her nails, perfume, lotion and movies. She’d love new outfits for school (size 12-14). Ben, 8, would like a Lego set and a punching bag, plus clothing (size 8-10). Olive, 3, would love a Little People set, markers, coloring book, Legos and winter clothing (3T) and pull-up diapers. Karly and Dan would be grateful for a new bagless vacuum. Contact Tracy Christensen, 402-437-8820 or

Tara and her son, Jeremy, were homeless for part of last year. They have safe housing now but could use help for the holidays. Jeremy, 3, likes trains, cars, dinosaurs, movies, books and puzzles. He needs winter clothing (size 4T), socks and pajamas, and he’ll need a new car seat soon. Tara could use pots, pans and storage containers. Contact Tracy Christensen, 402-437-8820 or

Laura, 18, has Janey, 1, and Hannah, 1 month, who was born with medical complications. They were facing homelessness but now have safe housing. Laura would love gift cards for Five Guys and Forever 21 (she wears size S in shirts, 28 in pants, and 7 in shoes). And she can always use diapers (size 1 and 2), wipes and a Pack ’n Play. The kids need toys and clothes (24 months-2T, 0-3 months or larger). Contact Tracy Christensen, 402-437-8820 or

Carol Yoakum Family Resource Center/Arnold CLC

Sarah has a son, 11, and daughter, 7. She’s been on her own since she was 16 and had a full-time job but got hurt and can’t go back for a while. For Christmas, her son would like Minecraft and/or Black Ops 4 games for PS3, Jurassic World Legos and movie, a basketball hoop, books, puzzles, board games, coloring items, a new bike, jeans, sweat pants (10-12), socks, boxers and shoes, snow boots (size 4), a hat and gloves. Her daughter wants L.O.L. Surprise dolls, a jewelry box, pink bike, Hatchimals, Legos, board games, a DVD player and movies, books, puzzles, baby dolls and accessories, coloring items, jeans (size 7-8), shirts (10-12), underwear (7-8), a coat (10-12), socks, shoes and boots (1-2). Sarah would like movies, pots and pans, Tupperware, a DVD player, vacuum, throw blankets, soap, laundry detergent, cleaning products, etc. Contact Dayna Krannawitter, 402-436-1120, ext. 5.

Kate has a family of nine, including one adopted and one foster child. For the holidays, they’d like clothing for a 17-year-old girl (size 5-7 W), wax cubes, a gift card, fuzzy socks; clothing for boy, 15, (men’s L), gift card; boy, 11, Nerf guns, Star Wars stuff; boy, 10, Nerf guns, Avengers stuff; girl, 9, craft stuff, Shopkins and Nom Noms; girl, 7, dresses (size 8), Shopkins, Littlest Pet Shop; boy, 2, Paw Patrol; Kate, clothing (3X) and gift cards; husband, gift cards. Contact Dayna Krannawitter, 402-436-1120, ext. 5.

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