Holiday Gift Drive


Every year, as winter approaches, our kids begin to believe again — in the magic of the holidays. That magic only happens because of some very special elves. First, CEDARS asks the kids in our care what special gift they would like to receive. With their input, we provide businesses, churches, even individuals with those wishes in mid-November to guide them in selecting presents for the kids. Then, after collecting the gifts at their businesses and other organizations, these volunteers arrange to deliver the items they’ve gathered the first few weeks of December. Your generosity brings smiles to a lot of young faces — and joy to many hearts.

If you are interested in:

  • providing a gift for a child at CEDARS this holiday season, you can make a donation today or just call (402) 437-8820 or email us at
  • providing gifts for an entire family at CEDARS, please call Emily Wesseln at (402) 434-5437 or email her at
  • organizing a gift drive for the children at CEDARS this holiday season, please contact Tracy at (402) 437-8820 prior to the event. Thank you—you put a special sparkle into the holidays for our children.


A few items we know the kids will need this year include:
• Certificates for oil changes
• Gas gift cards
• Bath and body supplies for men and women
• Men’s wallets
• Teen sized clothing (hoodies, sports shorts and sweat pants, jeans, etc.)
• $10 gift card to any fast food restaurant
• Bus passes
• Pre-paid cell phones
• Diapers (especially size 4 and up)
• New winter coats (baby through adult sizes)
• New small kitchen appliances • New bedding (sizes twin–queen)
• Bath and kitchen towels
• Gift cards for families to have fun together (bowling, movie theatres, laser tag, University of Nebraska State Museum and Planetarium, Children’s Museum, Children’s Zoo, Roller Skating, Miniature Golf, Ice Skating, Lost in Fun, Champions Fun Center)

To coordinate any donations, please contact Tracy at (402) 437-8820. Thank you!

Stories of CEDARS Kids

These are just a few of the kids who will be staying with CEDARS over the holidays. The names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Jamal, age seven, was removed from his mother's care due to drug and alcohol abuse. His mother had been making significant progress but relapsed and is now in treatment. She has limited funds and is not able to work while she focuses on her treatment so that she can bring Jamal back home. Jamal enjoys playing with remote-control cars, being outside, and spending time with his mom. He loves to play basketball, and has expressed an interest in rollerblades so he can practice when he visits his mom. The family also likes to play games together and watch movies during their visits. Gift ideas for Jamal include rollerblades (size 3), a remote-controlled car, the Star Wars Trouble game, and The DVD Madagascar 3.

Domestic violence disrupted the home of Marley, age two, and Tara, age one, resulting in their removal from the home. Since then, their mother has been making significant progress in dealing with these issues but recently had a severe accident leaving her temporarily handicapped. As a result of the many medical bills and treatment, the girls' mother is concerned that she will not be able to afford presents this Christmas. This family would love a Little Tykes rocking horse or a play kitchen for the girls to share. Marley could use size 3T pajamas and clothing and anything to do with music because Marley LOVES to dance. Tara would benefit from toys that she can push around as she learns to walk, soft hooded bath towels and toys with words or sounds to help with her speech development. Their mom could use household items to help set up her apartment as she had to leave all her things behind when she left her abuser.

Damon was in foster care before he came to our transitional living program to learn the skills he will need to live on his own. Damon graduated from high school and is enrolled at Southeast Community College, with hopes of transferring to the University. Damon is also a young father, who cherishes visits with his two-year-old daughter, Mallory. He wants his apartment to be child-friendly so he is wishing for a toddler bedding set, a fun nightlight, a booster seat, and any kind of fun age-appropriate toy with an animal theme. Gas cards would help him with transportation expenses when he picks Mallory up for visits.

Chelsy is an eight-year-old little girl who has been in foster care for 18 months and is awaiting adoption. Her mother relinquished her rights due to her history of drug use, drunken driving violations, homelessness, and incarceration. Chelsy loves anything having to do with Justin Bieber, Hello Kitty, or the color pink. Her holiday wish list includes a stuffed Hello Kitty doll and throw blanket, a Justin Bieber poster, t-shirts (girls size 10) and a fuzzy pink robe.

Tony, 14, has been staying in emergency shelter for the past month. He has been placed in several arrangements over the past two years and his family has little to no contact with him. Tony isn't sure where he will be going next so he is apprehensive about his future. One thing he does know is that he will probably be spending his holidays in the shelter. His biggest wish is for an MP3 player with a docking station with speakers, something he can call his own and take with him wherever he goes next. He could also use practical items like underwear (size large) and socks and shoes (size 11).

Make a donation today to help make the holidays a little brighter for a kid at CEDARS this year.