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Council Bluffs business, volunteers give back to community as holiday season kicks off

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 10:26 PM CST
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - On Wednesday local volunteers in Council Bluffs were helping thousands of people that are just trying to keep up this holiday season.

Food, toys, and various other items were all packed and piled up in preparation for a special holiday giveaway.

“We’re fortunate at New Visions to provide holiday assistance to about 4,500 individuals from our community,” said Brandy Wallar, COO of New Visions Homeless Services. “But we couldn’t do it without our community.

“What a better way to support your community than helping out with an event like this,” Acieta Manager Joe Splichal said.

The giveaway is a one-day event in December — thousands of people will drive through to pick up presents.

“We have about 40 volunteers on campus today setting up our toy rooms, going through donations,” said Wallar. “So it’s a great day to start out the holiday season.”

“I mean we had great support from the team, everybody came out and joined us so it kind of fills your heart that people are backing the community and the people that need the help,” Splichal said.

But it’s been a tough go for many people still playing catch-up amid the pandemic.

“We see a lot of people with issues like this, with loss of homes and loss of paychecks, we are very fortunate we all have jobs and we do very well so what better way to serve your community,” Splichal said.

“You know everyone needs to come together and help each other out,” said volunteer Tyler Theisen. “It’s been a difficult two years, so anything we can do to help get people back on their feet after this difficult time and help out where we can.”

That includes helping out in the kitchen and prepping Thanksgiving meals for the shelter’s guests.

“I’ve been helping with people coming to pick up pantry items for their Thanksgiving dinners,” said John Burg, Acieta founder.

Volunteers say the spirit of giving gets them ready for a holiday season of their own.

“It’s a good way to start the season and carry that over into the new year,” said Theisen.

“We’ve got a beautiful day here and we’ve enjoyed our time here and hopefully we’ll get invited back,” said Burg.

If you or someone you know would like to volunteer at New Visions or donate a gift this holiday season, information is available on their website or Facebook page.

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