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Local bookstore creates care packages for kids at The Friendship Home

With help from the community, all 77 children at The Friendship Home were able to receive care...
With help from the community, all 77 children at The Friendship Home were able to receive care packages filled with goodies.(KOLN)
Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 8:37 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -

Right now, The Friendship Home, a local emergency domestic violence shelter, is providing service to 100 people, including 77 children.

Now, the children staying at the shelter will all have a special care package just for them, thanks to a few local businesses and the community.

During the pandemic, ‘A Novel Idea’ bookstore started creating book bag care packages people can send to loved ones.

“We knew people would be home and we thought they could use a little TLC,” said Cinnamon Dokken, the owner of ‘A Novel Idea.'

There are bags designed for adults, and some designed for kids.

“Included in the adult bags are things like chocolate from LuLaBee, bath salts from Bella Spa and Apothecary, and honey from Valhalla Bee Farm,” Dokken said. “The kids bags have stickers, pencils, honey straws, buttons with our cats on them, and a special note signed from the cats.”

Dokken said she expected the bags to be a fun gift for people in quarantine who want to support local businesses. What she didn’t expect was the impact they would have.

“This started with a customer of ours who actually moved to England,” said Katherine Bergstrom, who works at ‘A Novel Idea.' “She ordered a couple of kids bags for her godchildren, who live in town, and she said, ‘And I want five more. I want them to go to Friendship Home.”

Then, donations started pouring in. A Novel Idea set up a “kids account” at the store so people can donate to purchasing care packages for kids in need.

“We had a couple who was celebrating their 30th anniversary, and they had been planning to celebrate with a trip that got cancelled because of the pandemic, so instead, what they decided to do with the money is to help us fund some of these bags,” Dokken said. “They bought 30 bags.”

The Friendship Home said they were overwhelmed by the support they received.

“It started off with I believe 12,” said Nichole Palmer, The Friendship Home’s assistant development director. “So, Kat told me the packages were ready, I went with my little sedan to pick up 12, and the 12 packages turned into 77.”

Every single child at The Friendship Home was able to get a care package full of goodies. They also got an unspoken gift, a reminder they are seen and heard.

“I hope they know people care about them,” Dokken said. “Not just us, but the whole community.”

“They aren’t invisible, and they deserve to have nice things,” Bergstrom added.

A Novel Idea will continue to accept donations in the “kids account” to purchase more book bag care packages. Dokken says the store is working to distribute them to kids in need throughout Lincoln, starting with the Everett and Clinton neighborhoods.