Volunteers Make a Difference at Christmas…and All Year Round

Jan 12, 2022

This holiday season The Salvation Army of Omaha’s trio of Christmas assistance programs served 3,350 families across the metro, ensuring there was food on the table and gifts under the tree for those in need. Behind the scenes, an army of generous volunteers helped make these efforts possible.

“The Salvation Army would not be able to offer anywhere near the breadth and depth of its services without the help of the hundreds of volunteers who give their time and energy throughout the year,” said Erin Sanders, divisional director of volunteer services. “Our volunteers are the backbone of our work in Omaha and in cities and towns across the entire Western Division. We are so grateful for their dedication and their generosity.”

Julie Omer was among the dozens of volunteers who donated their time and energy in the weeks leading up to The Salvation Army’s Toyland Days, a two-day event in December during which hundreds of families in need selected gifts for their children. Omer and dozens of other volunteers spent hours organizing, sorting and preparing thousands of donated toys at a warehouse on the Renaissance Village campus. 

“I have always admired the work The Salvation Army does, so volunteering here is a good way to use my retirement years as productively as possible,” said Omer, who retired from Boys Town three years ago and has been a year-round volunteer with The Salvation Army ever since.

More than 12,000 toys were distributed to more than 1,450 families in the Omaha metro via Toyland Days and an emergency Christmas gift giveaway this year.

Longtime Salvation Army volunteer Crystal Butts, who is employed as an administrative assistant at TD Ameritrade, organized her workplace’s Adopt-A-Family efforts this year. “My passion for volunteerism has rubbed off on my team members and my manager,” said Butts. “I feel really fortunate that I work with people who value helping others and want to go out of their way to help kids.”

Every December, The Salvation Army partners with Star 104.5 FM to present the Adopt-A-Family Radiothon, which since 2000 has paired sponsors with nearly 41,000 families and older adults in need to help ensure that their Christmas is merry and bright.

This year, nearly 1,900 metro-area families and seniors were “adopted” over the two-day radiothon and via an online sign-up in the days prior. Sponsors then shopped for, wrapped and delivered gifts to their adopted families in the days leading up to Christmas.

Consider joining Julie Omer, Crystal Butts and the hundreds of other volunteers who help The Salvation Army “Do the Most Good” all year long. Though the holiday season is over, there are still plenty of volunteer opportunities available now and in the coming months – including Winter Night Watch, Pack the Pantry in March and, later this summer, Kids Cruisin’ Kitchen. Please visit our volunteer page to learn more.

Recent Stories

Related Content: ChristmasVolunteering

Get Involved
Share Your Story

We would love to hear about your experience with The Salvation Army.

Share My Story


A gift to The Salvation Army helps someone in your community.

Give Now



Do Good in your community

Find Worship

Join us throughout the week for worship, fellowship, Bible study, meals, community service and fun.


2019 Flood2019 floodsAdopt-a-FamilyAdventadvisory boardAfter School Programanti-human traffickingA Way to WorkBackpack ProgramBack to SchoolBack To School Backpack Programbehavioral healthbell ringingbrighten the holidaysBurrows CenterCampCamp Gene EppleyChildren / YouthChristmasCitadelcooling centersCouncil BluffsCOVID-19cure hungerD.J.'s Hero Awards Luncheondisaster reliefDisaster Resource Center (DRC)Disaster Resource Centers (DRCs)Disasters / EmergenciesDonationDonationsDora Bingel Senior CenterDurham Booth ManorEmergency Assistanceemergency disaster servicesempower youthequip familiesEventsFaithFamilyFellowshipfight for justicefloodingFundraisingFundraising / Philanthropyhelp disaster survivorsHistoryHolidaysHolidays/GivingHousing / ShelterHunger / Food / FeedingIowaJust Can ItKids Cruisin' KitchenKroc CenterKroc Community CenterLentLocal/Community Supportmake Christmas possibleMarshalltownmaterial assistanceMedia Alert / Press Release / NewsMental Health Respite (MHR)NebraskaNorth Corps Community CenterOlder Adult ServicesOmahaOmaha Citadel CorpsOmaha North Corpsovercome povertyPathway of HopePovertyPress ReleasePrison Toy LiftPrograms/ServicesPrograms / Servicesred kettleRenaissance VillageSAFE-TService Extension UnitShare God's LoveSocial ServicesSouth DakotaSpecial EventsThe Weekly WordTree of Lights CampaignTurkeyFestVolunteeringwarming centersWestern DivisionWinter Night WatchWorship / FaithYear-end GivingYouth Development