The following are fundraisers, donations and charitable events happening in the Midlands. Email your information about good deeds to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 402-444-1040.
Medical bills: Steve Luellman has had treatment and surgery for pancreatic cancer since October 2011. The mounting medical bills and cost of future care keep increasing. A benefit from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. today will assist with the bills. The benefit will be at Shevy's Sports Bar and Steaks, 2607 N. Main St. in the Elkhorn area. Expect live music, food and drink. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children. To contribute without attending, mail donations to Steve Luellman, 12620 Southdale Drive, Omaha, Neb. 68137
Shoe box gifts: Middle and high school age kids will gather at 6 tonight at First Baptist Church, 112 E. 23rd Ave. in Bellevue, to pack hundreds of shoe boxes with gifts of hygiene products, school supplies and small toys for impoverished children. The boxed gifts will be given to Operation Christmas Child to be processed and prepared for delivery to children worldwide. The youth group spearheads the project with year-round fundraising and also is instrumental in shopping for items.
Cram the Van: Wayne (Neb.) State College students in a social welfare class under the direction of Dr. Todd Greene are participating in a service-learning project to inform the public about National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness efforts. Students will conduct a food drive from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday for area food pantries. The annual Cram the Van community collection drive helps local food pantries and Northeast Nebraska Community Action partnership provide food and goods to needy families.
Red carpet: The Notre Dame Sisters invite everyone to a red carpet celebration screening of “Nuns At Work: Nebraska Stories” produced by Nebraska Educational Television and featuring the Notre Dame Sisters and their ministries. The showing will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Notre Dame Motherhouse North Lobby and Chapel, 3501 State St. The $25 admission will benefit the ministries of the Notre Dame Sisters.
A tradition continues: The Friends of J Medicine Hat Benefit for the Pine Ridge Reservation will begin at 1 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Funny Bone Comedy Club, 17305 Davenport St. Suite 201 in Village Pointe. The fundraiser will honor the life of comic and hypnotist J Medicine Hat (Jent Monk) and his work for the reservation by continuing his charitable efforts. Tickets are $20. Expect comedy, live music, a silent auction, finger sandwiches and desserts. For reservations, call 402-493-8036. These items also will be collected for the Pine Ridge Reservation's Healthy Start program: baby health care items, baby formula, blankets, diapers, women's toiletries and more. Monetary donations will be accepted for the OST Energy/Heating Assistance Fund. Jent Monk died Aug. 13 in Little Rock, Ark., at age 51. For more information, visit FriendsofJMedicineHat.com.
Items needed: Boy Scout Troop 483 of Bellevue is collecting old cellphones, PDAs and ink cartridges to help the environment and earn money for needed equipment. The drop-off site is Eagle Copy & Business Solutions, 1021 Galvin Road South in Bellevue. The Scouts are collecting these items through the end of January.
Drop-off spot: Omaha area Edward Jones financial advisers are supporting the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program by using their offices as drop-off locations for this year's toy drive. Bring new, unwrapped toys to any metro-area Edward Jones office during regular business hours.
For the children: Southwest Omaha Rotary Night Club recently had its fourth annual Wine Tasting for the Boys Town National Hotline, raising $30,000.
Scholarships: The Polish Heritage Society's recent beer tasting event raised more than $1,480 for its Blessed Pope John Paul II Scholarship Fund.
Compiled by Sue Story Truax
Nurse spearheads drive for women's hospital in Kenya
Omaha nurse Cindy Berkland went on a monthlong medical mission to Naivasha, Kenya, in 2004.
The conditions she found at the Naivasha District Hospital were shocking, especially in the maternity ward, where sharing of beds is the norm.
The 110-bed hospital serves a population of 400,000-plus, more than twice the number the hospital was designed to serve.
The hospital has 8,000 births yearly. Many babies die needlessly of asphyxia, hypothermia, infection and lack of nutrition. Twenty sick babies typically fill the 12 beds designated for them.
After witnessing the conditions, Berkland was intent on helping the Kenyans build a new, 92-bed Women's Health Care Center. She founded the Friends of Naivasha, USA, and works to obtain donations and grant funds to build the new center.
In 2005, Fremont (Neb.) Area Medical Center became a “sister hospital” to the Naivasha one, donating hundreds of pieces of hospital equipment for use in the new center. These are items that are considered obsolete in the U.S.
Over the years, the local medical community — the Fremont hospital, Alegent Creighton Health, Nebraska Medical Mart, Methodist Hospital, Bryan LGH, Children's Pediatric Clinic and Omaha OB-GYN Associates — have donated enough medical equipment and supplies to equip the women's hospital.
Thirteen 40-foot containers have been shipped to Kenya at no cost through Valmont Industries.
Construction on the women's hospital began in 2007. Phase 1 was completed in May. The phase includes 26 beds, two operating rooms, a neonatal intensive care nursery, an isolation nursery, HIV high risk obstetrical clinics, outpatient surgery center and a radiology center.
Phase 2 with eight more birthing rooms and 46 more patient beds is scheduled for completion in January.
Friends of Naivasha continues to raise funds for Phase 3, which would add 10 birthing rooms and 20 beds.
To learn more or to donate, visit nwhcc.info, or “like” the Friends of Naivasha page on Facebook.