Key Club partners with Open Door Mission

McKenzie Hendrix, Reporter

For a lot of people the holidays are their favorite time of the year because of the gifts, food and exciting times. But according to the most recent U.S. Census, for 10% of Nebraska’s residents, this time of year can be discouraging. 

In Nebraska there are 642,000 people who are poor or low income and over 2,000 people are homeless. Each year this percentage grows and more families are dreading the holiday season every year because they can’t provide for their families in the way they would like to. Not having enough money, or even a place to live, means not having warm enough clothes, comfort, the necessary amount of food or even a way to make their children happy on Christmas day. 

But people in the community are trying to at least make a small change in someone’s life. Here at Bellevue West, clubs and organizations attempt to make a difference. Key Club is one of those programs. They do many things in the community to make it a better time of year for the less fortunate.  

Key Club sponsor Amy Smith said this year the club is partnering with the Open Door Mission for their Project Santa. 

“That’s where we ask for donations of toys,” Smith said. “The parents get to go shop from the toys that are donated, and pick out the ones that are the best for the kids. This gives the parents a sense of dignity as well as the children.”

According to Smith, the Bellevue Food Pantry and the Sarpy Outreach Center are always looking for help. 

“Most of the things that we have in Bellevue are giving food and supplies to people and so your job is to help pack those and maybe even greet those people,” Smith said. “For the homeless, doing packs, which are things like gloves, hand warmers, chapstick, putting those kinds of packs together.”

A lot of people don’t realize how many people in their community are less fortunate than them. Providing those families with food, toys or winter gear can give them a sense of hope over the holidays and make this season at least a little bit better. It’s important to show the less fortunate that there are still people who care and are trying to help them out.  

“When you see people who are struggling, it puts your own life into perspective, right?” Smith said.  “So helping people in whatever way we can, it’s been an important core value of mine.” 

Smith said students helping others in the community can have a multiplying effect.

 “When kids are able to see these things, they feel good about it too,” Smith said. “And they want to do more. And so it’s kind of contagious.”

The student council is also hosting a winter gear drive through the Open Door Mission. They’re looking for gently worn coats, gloves or hats that you would be able to donate. They are also looking for unopened packages of socks. The bin is located in the front office or donations can be taken to rooms 123 or 124. Donations are accepted until the end of this semester.