READY TO GO: VFW Christmas Drive Volunteers Andrew Smith (left) and Scott Tingelhoff take a cart of food boxes to one of Saturday’s delivery drivers. The volunteer drivers took the food and also toy donations to homes throughout the county. (Staff Photo by Lisa Brichacek)

WAHOO – Toy bags and food boxes were delivered last Saturday to nearly 150 families.

Thanks to many donors and quite a few volunteers, the 56th annual VFW Christmas Drive was once again deemed a success.

Drive Coordinators Lorraine Syverson and Jason and Michelle Libal reported that more than 200 children benefited from this year’s campaign.

With the aid of monetary donations last week that equaled $6,543.21, the final total for this year’s drive is $$17,876.10.

“Once again, it is an honor and a pleasure to have the ability to give to those in need,” Jason Libal said. “We would not be in such a position without the support of the Wahoo and Saunders County communities. We feel so very fortunate to live in a community that is willing to give to others and to help thy neighbor.

“Once again we would like to thank all of those that donated to this project. In addition, we were so thankful for a great delivery day related to the weather. We have had past delivery days that were tough, due to winter weather conditions. This year’s weather aided in the success of our deliveries.”

The annual campaign is an all-volunteer effort.

“All of the volunteers that helped deliver and put the baskets together are simply doing so out of the kindness of their heart and for the gratification of helping others,” Libal added. “They do not make a cent by helping with the drive.”

The drive to help families in need at Christmas time was started 56 years ago by the late Ray Syverson and a few of his Wahoo VFW friends. The VFW and its members still play a huge part in the annual campaign.

“There is no way that this program could have been sustained for so many years without their support,” Libal said. ”We look forward to the partnership with the VFW continuing in the future and seeing the drive continue to grow.

“It is our goal to maintain and to build upon this program throughout the future. All of those that donated to this year’s drive have allowed us to continue this goal.”

Recent donations

$20: Richard and Linda Zimmerman; Saunders County Employees, Paula and Diane.

$25 Rex Gittens; Maretta Lindgren; Tim and Mary Lorenz; Anonymous.

$40 First United Methodist Church – Wahoo.

$50 In Memory of John P. Noon by Bernice Noonan; In Memory of Grandpa Syverson by Lorraine Syverson; Columbian Squires Circle 253; Richard and Mary Ann Tvrdy; Paul & Marsha Eddie.

$100 American Legion Post 262 – Yutan; In Memory of Bob Norenburg By His Family; In Memory of My Mother, Leanne DeCoste by Kirk DeCoste; First Presbyterian Church – Wahoo; American Legion Post 244 – Ceresco; Edward and Katherine Cherovsky; Rosann Belik; Catherine Pallas; Shirley Miller.

$120 Don Hanson Family Christmas; Lindgren Donors.

$205 Employees from ENREC.

$250 Beaver Bartek Aux. No. 4502 – Wahoo; Pohocco Lutheran Church – Fremont; Wahoo Gun Club.

$300 Anonymous; In Honor Of All Who Work In Social Services For Citizens Of Saunders County; Anonymous.

$350 Anonymous.

$310 FirstBank Nebraska Employees – Wahoo.

$500 Walker and Kristin Luedtke.

Toy Donations

Blankets, Hats, Mittens, Toys: Kumpula Grandkids.

Lap Blanket: Krazy Quilters

Quilts: St. Mary and Joseph Catholic Church – Valparaiso; Alma Lutheran Church; Chat and Sew – Mead.

Toys and Misc. Items: Saunders County GenSeekers.

Toys: Kim and Brian Homes; Gary and Gayle Rasmussen; United First Methodist Church – Ithaca; Sid Dillon in Ceresco.; Mike and City Dunn.

Hats and Mittens: Ithaca United Methodist Church.

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