Family members of homicide victims shared a pre-Christmas meal Tuesday night to remind each other they are not alone.
Holiday music played in the background at the Omaha Public Schools headquarters, 3015 Cuming St., as families ate dinner and children took turns sitting on Santa’s lap and receiving gifts.
More than 50 people attended the event at the OPS cafeteria.
Holidays can be a tough time for families who are mourning the tragic loss of a loved one, said Sadie Bankston, organizer of the event.
Bankston knows this all too well. She doesn’t enjoy going to the Gene Leahy Mall to look at the holiday lights because that is where her son, Wendell Grixby, was shot to death in 1989.
Bankston started the nonprofit PULSE — People United, Lending Support & Encouragement — in 1991 to help grieving survivors of homicide victims.
The group has long held a pre-Mother’s Day Dinner. This is the third year PULSE has held a pre-Christmas dinner.
“We held the event to put smiles on the children’s faces,” she said. “This event is about bringing families together to let them know they are not alone around the holidays.”