Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) is the presenting sponsor once again of Omaha’s Holiday Lights Festival that kicks off Thanksgiving Eve.  In its 18th year, the Festival showcases downtown Omaha and celebrates the spirit of the holidays by providing a full season of festive family-friendly activities, from music to skating and fireworks.

In conjunction with the Holiday Lights Festival, the Shine the Light on Hunger campaign   collects food items for the Food Bank of the Heartland.  The community is encouraged to drop off non-perishable food and household items at the NRG Energy Ice Rink in the Capitol District or at any area Baker’s stores.

The ice rink is at a new location this year, 10th and Capitol.  It will be open from November until February 14.  A dollar from every skate rental will go to Food Bank of the Heartland.  The Conagra Foundation, Capitol District and BCBSNE will provide matching donations.

BCBSNE is involved in the Holiday Lights Festival because of our nearly 80-year presence in Omaha and active involvement in the community.

“We support the Festival because of its emphasis on helping the less fortunate in our community,” Steve Martin, president and CEO, said. “And because it provides family activities throughout the holiday season.”

This year’s goal for the Shine the Light on Hunger campaign is 1.4 million meals.  Food Bank Executive Director Susan Ogborn said that is about a month’s worth of food for the hungry in the metro area.

For the sixth year, there will also be lighting along 24th street in North and South Omaha.

All of the Holiday of Lights Festival activities are free and open to the public.