Volunteer For A Cause

Volunteer For A Cause

Committee Leadership

Chair Kim Songster, Administrator, General & Acute Care Surgery
Co-Chair Maria Tecos, House Officer, General Surgery

Committee Members

Reagan Huber, APP, Transplant Surgery
Quan Ly, MD, Professor of Surgery, Surgical Oncology
Joshua Mammen, MD, Professor & Chief, Surgical Oncology
Ashley McClain, Administrative Business Associate, General Surgery
Kimberly McLaughlin, Administrative Program Coordinator, Department of Surgery
Jessica Shank, MD, Assistant Professor, Surgical Oncology
Jeannie Thomas, Administrative Business Associate, General Surgery


💚 Green Light Items Approved


 Future Volunteer Opportunities

  • Spring 2022 – We have finalized plans for our spring event.  We will be doing an outdoor event with Keep Omaha Beautiful for park and stream clean up.  Our location will be at Hanscom Park on Sat April 23rd.  No specific time yet – we are thinking late morning after it warms up a bit into the day.  Ashley and I are picking up cleaning supplies and the volunteer sheets the week prior. 
  • Summer 2022 –We discussed doing an outdoor event also for summer with the zoo.  July 31st they have a food storage day where volunteers break tree branches down into containers which will then be converted to food for the animals.  The time frame is 9 am to 12 pm.  You also get a zoo pass for the day. There is an age limit of 13 years old.  For younger children, they offer a possible indoor event where they make crafts and toys for the animals to use. 
  • We also plan to do a food drive for the Food Bank of the Heartland.  This will be another competition event between surgery divisions similar to the coat drive for the traveling trophy.  The food bank said that we can do a hybrid drive – with the option for people to bring in items but also set up a virtual drive where people can give monetary donations.  The food bank will work with us to create a customized web page – and there will be a way to track donations per division to tally at the end.  We are looking at May/June for the food drive to help stock some of the items they need for kids during the summer when not in school.

Upcoming Volunteer Events

August 6th – Volunteer Event at the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo

We are planning a new volunteer event at the zoo on August 6th from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.  This event is their Zoo Food Storage Days which involves preserving fresh, leafy branches for animals to enjoy throughout the winter.  By volunteering, you and your family will also be able to stay and enjoy the zoo afterwards for the day.   Bring water, sunscreen, gloves, and clothing appropriate for working outdoors.  Some extra pruners will be available but please bring your own if you have them.  To sign up, please email either Kim Songster or Ashley McClain by July 15 so that we can get a lists of our volunteers to the Zoo in advance.  Volunteers for this event must be 13 years of age.  If you have children under 13 you would like to bring and volunteer, the zoo will set up a separate activity for us on that same day to accommodate younger children.  Please notify Ashley McClain who will work on organizing this secondary activity. 

Academic Association of Surgical Administrators - Surgery Gives Event - San Diego 

Donations are excepted by September 30, 2022


Past Volunteer Events

Successful Food Drive in May/June for the Food Bank of the Heartland– 2nd Division vs. Division Competition

Surgical Oncology took the trophy for the second time with our Food Drive for the Food Bank of the Heartland!  Overall our entire department brought in $980 in monetary donations for the Food Bank and brought in over 75 food items to donate.  We still have some donations trickling in and the website is still active for anyone still wishing to donate. 

Food Bank for the Heartland - Virtual Food Drive (foodbankheartland.org)

January 2022

The “Volunteer for a Cause” wellness subcommittee for the Department of Surgery hosted their first division vs. division competition from January 5, 2022 to January 19, 2022 with a Winter Coat/Warm Clothing Drive for the Sienna Francis House.  Points were assigned based on the donation item and then tallied at the end by division for the coveted traveling trophy.  This was a close competition between the Division of Surgical Oncology and Division of Plastic Surgery.  However, Surgical Oncology walked away with the first win and the traveling trophy.  The true winner of course was the community and the individuals we could help through the Sienna Francis house just in time for the cold winter blast we had in January.    The final tally of points is below:

Surgical Oncology – 357 points
Plastic Surgery – 345 points
General Surgery – 72 points
Transplant – 67 points
Vascular – 30 points


We will have an occasional Division vs. Division competition annually so all divisions have a chance to house the traveling trophy for a period of time.

Overall, we collected some miscellaneous clothing items along with:

  • 62 winter coats
  • 55 sweaters
  • 75 winter hats
  • 51 pairs of gloves
  • 22 scarves
  • 156 pairs of socks



November 2021

We had a group of 20 volunteers from the Department of Surgery that participated in the Open Door Mission “Feeding the Multitudes” event on November 20th to provide a Thanksgiving meal withal the fixings to those in need.  We also had a few
helping out in the Open Door Mission store as they had a large number of volunteers that day. 

Here are some pictures of some of our faculty/staff volunteering in November:


The Department of Surgery also participated in the Nebraska Medicine Social Work office Adopt-a-Family event in November and raised $940 to help some families out for the holidays.  The generous donations from faculty and staff in the Department
helped out 4 different families as follows:

  • Oncology patient, spouse, and 2 children ages 4 and 7 – They will use it for gifts and food.
  • A young man striking out on his own – will use it for food and clothing.
  • An elderly gentleman who will use it for groceries.
  • A new mom with an 11 day old baby.  She will use it for clothing for baby.

October 2021

Colleagues in the Department of Surgery got together on October 15, 2021 to put together “Go Bags”  for the Homeless as part of the AASA Surgery Gives Event (part of the Association of Academic Surgical Administrators annual virtual conference held in October).  Tracy Rheault led this effort to collect donations in advance of needed items such as socks, scarves, gloves, toothbrush/toothpaste kits, hand sanitizers, lip balm, deodorant and other personal care items along with a few snacks.  We received many generous donations from the College of Dentistry, Nebraska Medicine, and many of our Surgery faculty and staff that we were able to put together 200 bags.  These were donated to the Open Door Mission to give out as Halloween trick or treat “Go Bags” filled with items to help the homeless.


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