Easy to get into holiday-giving spirit

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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Brennon Hanson wants to give back this holiday season to the hospital that took care of him as an infant. Brennon, 15, organized a toy drive that will bring new toys to children staying at Shriner’s Hospital during Christmas and help him earn the status of Eagle Scout. Currently a Life Scout, Brennon had a club foot operated on when he was 3-months-old. “Shriner’s helped me out and followed up on me for years,” Brennon said. “Shriner’s has always been there for me. I thought it would be a great way to give back to them.” Brennon will achieve the rank of Eagle Scout by way of organizing and leading the toy drive. “You have to complete a service project, which I’m doing, and collect 21 different merit badges,” said Brennon on becoming an Eagle Scout. Toys will be collected the nights of Dec. 4 and 10, and the drive will include Santa Claus, cookies, hot chocolate and a light show, according to Brennon. He hopes to collect 200 toys. Brennon described organizing the toy drive as “a lot of work.” “We had to go to different places to get them to donate stuff,” Brennon said. Those items donated are cookies, hot chocolate, cups, plates and napkins. Achieving his Eagle Scout rank will also be a way of honoring his grandfather Bob Howard, who died suddenly in February. Brennon said Howard was a scout master who wanted his grandson to complete his project and earn the rank. Howard’s favorite holiday was Christmas, according to Brennon, who said his grandfather “went all out” with decorating the family home each year. “It’s sad he never got to see me do it (earn Eagle Scout),” Brennon said. Jennifer Hanson, Brennon’s mother, said Howard “was like his (Brennon’s) dad.” “I think my dad would be really proud that he is finishing the project,” Hanson said. “This (Howard’s) death has been hard for him. The first words out of his mouth were, ‘Why didn’t I do it before he passed away.’” Know and Go: What: Toy Drive When: 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 4; 6 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 10 Where: 867 Farrington Lane Info: New and unwrapped toys are being accepted for donation Brennon’s toy drive is not the only way to give back this season. Following is a list of other holiday fundraisers and drives in Lincoln. Lincoln Holiday Craft Fair When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday Where: Next door to Bargain Baby, 751 Sterling Parkway Proceeds from vendor booths, raffle and food sales will benefit The Salt Mine and Shriner’s Hospital, according to co-host Johanna Meinking. A drive for nonperishable foods, gift cards, diapers, wipes and unwrapped toys will also be accepted that day, according to Meinking, which will benefit “local needy families.” Christmas Around the Circle When: 6:30-9 p.m. on Dec. 10 Where: Mariner Circle Residents on Mariner Circle will hold a second annual food drive to benefit the Lion’s Club Christmas Food Basket program. “Christmas Around the Circle is an event to collect nonperishable food items and promote community spirit here in Lincoln,” said Mariner Circle resident Brent Welburn. “Last year, we collected 125 cans of food and had about 200 people.” Welburn said there will be caroling Boy and Girl Scouts and Santa Claus will also be present. Toys for Tots New, unwrapped toys are being collected by the nonprofit Semper Fi organization. Donation boxes are located at various businesses throughout Lincoln, including The Lincoln News Messenger. The toys are being accepted for all age groups and will be distributed by the Lincoln Lion’s Club. See’s Candy Sales Kiwanis Club of Lincoln is selling See’s Candies through Dec. 23 at two locations in Lincoln: Orchard Creek Lodge (965 Orchard Creek Lane) and in the building that formerly housed Blockbuster (365 South Highway 65). Proceeds from the candy sales will go to children’s programs Kiwanis Club supports in Lincoln. Those programs include yearly scholarships given to from five to seven Lincoln High School students and a literacy program.