Since 1967, students in the Omaha area have come together to raise money and necessities to support and provide for families in need. The Omaha parochial high schools gather each year and prepare for the holiday season. “You get so much satisfaction and joy knowing that you’re directly helping those in need in your own community,” senior Brianna Dovali said. Operation Others, run by Creighton Prep Director of Campus Ministry Jerry Kinney, provides meals for 1500 families during the holidays.
Before items can be collected, the core teams reach out to the families to find out what is most needed. “The most significant part is receiving the calls for the materials the families need because we get to hear the voices of the families and it makes us feel so close to them. Knowing how much of an effect you have in their life is so touching,” Dovali said.
Every year, each parochial high school is assigned a certain item to bring in. This year, Marian was tasked with bringing in 2000 jars of peanut butter and jelly. “It was a struggle to reach [the goal]. But, due to the generosity of one particular parent, we reached our goal,” theology teacher Mr. Mark Koesters said. This parent was able to bring in more than 500 jars to help the school reach the goal. “I feel great that we met our goal and that everybody came through,” Koesters said. Marian was able to bring in 2001 jars to benefit the families Operation Others helps. “It is a service project that everyone can be involved in,” Koesters said. He is grateful that Marian girls can participate in this project to support families all around Omaha.
Helen Burns ’14 and her family have helped with Operation Others for more than 17 years and continue to support the growth of the program. “Everyone there is there for the same goal and same mission: to help the community,” Burns said. Though Burns has graduated and continued her life, she and her family reconnect during the holiday season to help with packing and delivery day. She appreciates how many students and volunteers come energized and excited to pack the materials and prepare to deliver all that has been raised for these families. “As an adult, it is such an exciting event that my family gets to do altogether. We all end the day with really great stories about the many people we met. They always tell you about how grateful they are and how meaningful the meals mean in helping them,” Burns said.
Delivery day for many on Operation Others is very impactful and memorable. “It can be hectic, but it’s all worth it in the end,” Dovali said. Through the many hours of driving around Omaha, going door to door handing the families all that was raised for them is very emotional and creates stories that Burns and her family always retell.
“In the end, it’s not one family that stands out, it’s Operation Others being so supportive to all these families,” Burns said.
Delivery day is Dec. 18. Watch email for full details.