Nancy Gettemy of Lincoln realized some time ago that she had everything she needed. So did her brother.
They talked about it once when discussing the holidays, and decided to do something for all the people who don't have enough.
For more than 20 years, Gettemy and her husband, Dick, have been donating to charity instead of exchanging Christmas gifts with her brother and his wife, Dan and Kathy Sullivan of Omaha. The Sullivans do the same.
Each couple tells the other where to give.
The Gettemys have been giving to The World-Herald's Goodfellows for about 20 years in honor of the Sullivans. Dan is the newspaper's book editor, Nancy said, so “he's familiar with (the charity's) good works.”
Every dollar donated to Goodfellows provides one-time emergency aid and holiday meal certificates to needy people in the area.
Each year, the couples give what they think they can afford. Nancy said she and her husband have asked the Sullivans to support a variety of causes over the years, including Habitat for Humanity, the Food Bank and, this year, a free clinic in Lincoln. A few times, both couples have given to Goodfellows.
Nancy said the Gettemys base their choice of charity on things they're connected to: She used to work with the food stamp program, for instance, so she knows hunger is an issue for many. And her son has built a Habitat home.
Their system is convenient because they don't have to figure out what to give someone, but it's also the right thing to do, she said.
“There's a lot of unmet needs,” she said. “I think people should spend money on things to help other people, not just get stuff for themselves.”