OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Open Door Mission aims to give those staying with them a home for the holidays.
Shelly McCullough, director of Lydia House, says many people staying at the mission experience loneliness and sadness during the holiday season.
“Being homeless any time is tough, but being homeless during the holidays is really rough," McCullough said.
Lydia House alone is expecting to host 110-115 people this holiday season.
Marsha Smith has been staying at Lydia House since losing her apartment to rising rent prices.
“It was really, really rough," Smith recalls. "I didn’t want to be here. I was like, ‘I’m not supposed to be in a shelter.’ But I thought of shelters being different from what this is.”
Lydia House has given her a place to stay, clothes and food. With her needs met, she’s been able to really engage with the courses and counseling.
“They give you chances that you don’t deserve, because I got a lot of chances I sure didn’t deserve," Smith said. "But I grew in this program.”
Now Smith is preparing to spend the holidays in her new home, having put in the work at the shelter.
“The job I’ve been doing for six months, I’ll be ready to go," Smith said.
And for those staying with them for the holidays, Lydia House is hosting several events from making gingerbread houses to bringing in St. Nick himself.
“Every family who is in the Lydia House gets adopted by the community," McCullough said. "It’s a really great thing.”
Open Door Mission currently has two drives happening. Project Santa is collecting toys so every child has the chance to open a gift on Christmas morning.
They also are hosting their Christmas Bells drive to provide gifts for adults spending the holidays alone.
You can find out how to get involved at this website.