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Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services works every day to ensure Nebraskans live better lives, but around the holidays, DHHS also helps to make holidays bright for others. A sampling of the efforts across the state:
Scottsbluff: The Scottsbluff Customer Service Center set a goal to gather at least 800 food items for the Pup/Cat pack program, which sends food (such as peanut butter and canned meals) home in backpacks with children for the weekend. Exceeding their goal of 800, the group collected enough food to fill 929 backpacks that will be distributed to children who might otherwise go hungry during the holiday season.
Beatrice: Bear Creek Gifts, at the Beatrice State Developmental Center for adults with developmental disabilities, sells a wide variety of giftable products, including pottery, artwork and wall hangings. All products are crafted by individuals residing at BSDC.
Lincoln: For the past 10 years, the Program Integrity team within the Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care pools money to purchase fleece and then makes tie blankets over the lunch period. The blankets are donated to the People's City Mission in Lincoln for a program they organize with their clients. The first year, the team made about ten blankets; this year, there are 24 to donate. To minimize waste, the scraps are used to sew hats and scarves or are braided for dog and cat toys.
Lincoln: In memory of their former colleague and supervisor Kim Collins, the DHHS Financial & Program Analysis Unit is collecting items for Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach in Lincoln, which serves the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of Lincoln's working poor. The FAPA team, headed by DHHS Chief Financial Officer Mike Michalski, will deliver the items to the center on December 16, in celebration of Kim's life. Any memorials received after the initial delivery will be sent at a later date.
Lincoln: Business analysts at Gold's collected donations for Fresh Start, a women's shelter, and Voices of Hope, which provides crisis intervention services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other abuse. Donations include warm jackets, hats and gloves, feminine hygiene products, shampoos and cosmetics and gift cards to HyVee and Walmart.
Lincoln: The Information Systems and Technology (IS&T) team at Gold's adopted the elderly residents of the Lancaster Rehabilitation Center, granting two wishes each for 25 residents. Items purchased included blankets, watches and Husker hats.
Norfolk: Employees at the Norfolk Regional Center banded together to fill a truck for the Norfolk Rescue Mission. Items donated included paper products, non-perishable food items, razors and shaving cream.
Fremont: The Fremont Customer Service Center placed a large cutout of a turkey on the wall and provided cutout feathers to employees to write what they are thankful for. Employees filled up the turkey in one week.
McCook: Teammates in the McCook office brought in homemade treats and put together goodie trays for the DHHS-supported foster homes in the McCook area. This has been a tradition for several years.
Lincoln: The Office of Communications has for years “adopted" the boys at the Lincoln Regional Center's Whitehall Campus. Communications staff buy several gifts for each boy and also sponsor a Christmas Eve pizza party for the boys.