Maverick Productions held their annual Valentine’s Day event in the Fireplace Lounge of the Milo Bail Student Center. The event, titled “A Very Beary Valentine,” was open to University of Nebraska at Omaha students and staff to make Valentine’s Day cards and stuffed animals to be donated to the Children’s Hospital.
Lana Fanous, programming board member, has done the event for two years. After the event, she counts the amount of animals then she delivers them to a coordinator at Children’s Hospital. Fanous said the event attracts a lot of people.
“We get the people doing janitorial work and food services to come down and make a teddy bear also,” Fanous said.
In order to make a stuffed animal, participants had to make a Valentine’s Day card at “stop one” for the children in the hospital. The next stop was the stuffed animals which individuals were given the option to either keep the animal and make a birth certificate for it, or donate it to the hospital after stuffing it.
According to Fanous, 400 un-stuffed animals were ordered last year and the event ran out. This year, 500 animals were ordered. This year, the programming board aimed to be more unique, using orca whales, toucans, penguins, bulls in honor of UNO’s mascot Durango and the most popular, leopards. Fanous explained that due to the high numbers from last year, Children’s requested a certain amount of stuffed animals to be distributed.
“Children’s wants to limit the animals to 100 since there were so many made last year and it gets to be a hassle,” Fanous said.
MavPro had 15 members volunteer for the event, each rotating shifts. Members encouraged everyone to at least create a bear to help with a positive cause.
Dodi Alshamrani, a freshman at UNO, attended the event with his cousin Fahad Alshamrani. He explained that he is learning about American culture and the different holidays. Alshamrani is Arabic, and said that his culture does not celebrate Valentine’s Day. After attending the event, he hopes to one day have a Valentine. After living in Omaha for a year, Alshamrani said it is a lot different than “back home.”
Alshamrani said that he was walking past the event towards the food court and stopped to explore it. He made a multi-colored penguin, and decided to keep it Alshamrani said.
“My penguin will be my roommate and I will call him ‘big nose’.”