HANCOCK COUNTY — With the holiday season upon us, local nonprofit organizations are gearing up for annual events that give a boost to area residents in read. Area organizations count on charitable contributions to make the holidays bright for everyone, supporting efforts from free meals to Christmas gift giveaways. Here’s a look at how you can help.
40,000 Pounds of Giving
The mission: Former Hancock Hope House executive director Carl Denny organizes this food drive, which aims to reach the legal weight limit (40,000 pounds) of a 53-foot semitrailer with food for area food pantries. This year’s event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 10 at the Greenfield Kroger, 1571 N. State St.
What’s needed: Canned and/or non-perishable food. This year, the event will rely on the community to collect the food; in previous years, businesses have donated up to 40,000 pounds of food.
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Where the donations go: About 12 area food pantries will benefit from this event in its 11th year, including the Hancock County Food Pantry, Hope House, and many other smaller food pantries.
How to get involved: Denny encourages all county schools and businesses to host food drives or place collection boxes in lobbies or gathering areas. He challenged Keihin employees to collect 1,500 pounds of food items, as the manufacturer has done in the past.
The event has a Facebook page, which can be found by searching the social media site for “40,000 Pounds of Giving.” For more information, contact Carl Denny at 317-987-2456.
The mission: Mental Health Partners of Hancock County will provide gifts of clothing or essential household items to isolated senior citizens and residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Each person served by the program will receive a box containing personal care items.
What’s needed: Money, volunteers and personal care items, such as toothbrushes and hairbrushes.
Where the donations go: Officials from Mental Health Partners deliver gifts to all recipients, many of whom live in group homes or assisted-living facilities, organizers said.
How to get involved: Donations can be dropped off to the Mental Health Partners office at the Memorial Building, 98 E. North St., Suite 204, Greenfield, during office hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call the office at 462-2877 for more information. The deadline for donations is Dec. 5.
Hancock County Food Pantry
The Mission: Throughout the month of December, the Hancock County Food Pantry will provide Christmas meal baskets that include traditional holiday food.
What’s needed: Money for food items
Where the donations go: Clients of the Hancock County Food Pantry are county residents who meet income guidelines. Families who qualify can receive food and toiletry items from the pantry every 30 days. Christmas food baskets are available throughout the month of December.
How to get involved: Food items or monetary donations can be brought to the shelter, 741 1/2 State Road 9, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Mondays, 8 to 9 a.m. Tuesdays, and 8 to 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays, or by appointment. For more information, call the food pantry at 317-468-0273.
Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign
The mission: The Red Kettle Campaign is The Salvation Army’s only annual fundraiser. Volunteer bell-ringers take up posts outside storefronts in Greenfield and New Palestine, spreading holiday cheer and seeking donations from passersby.
What’s needed: Money, volunteers.
Where the donations go: All money collected in Hancock County stays in Hancock County, organizers said. About 70 percent of the donations are used to assist individuals and families in financial emergencies; 20 percent is used to fund local nursing home programs, children’s summer camps and school supplies distributions; and the remaining 10 percent covers operational costs.
How get involved: Bell-ringers will be stationed in front of Kroger and Walmart in Greenfield and at Marsh locations in Greenfield and New Palestine now until Christmas Eve. To become a bell-ringer, visit registertoring.com. Volunteers commit to two-hour shifts, with weekend and weekday opportunities available.
United Christmas Service
The mission: Caseworkers from United Way of Central Indiana’s partner agencies refer qualified families, and United Christmas Service provides vouchers to verified families for food, clothes and toys.
What’s needed: Donations to the Direct Assistance Program, which will help fund vouchers for families selected for the United Christmas Service. Those who choose to support a family can also have their donations matched by the Lilly Endowment, a philanthropic extension of Eli Lilly and Co.
Where the donations go: Qualifying families in Boone, Hamilton, Hendricks, Hancock, Marion and Morgan counties.
How to get involved: To donate, volunteer or sponsor a family, visit uwci.org/ucs or call 317-921-1372. Donations by check are accepted at United Way United Christmas Service, Dept. 8692, P.O. Box 2303, Indianapolis, IN 46206.
Toys for Tots
The mission: Toys for Tots raises funds to provide toys to children whose families can’t afford to spend money on gifts. The organization distributes the items to families in the days leading up to Christmas.
What’s needed: New toys, money.
Where the donations go: Underprivileged children are referred to the program through the United Christmas Service. Families who qualify receive age-appropriate gifts to give to their children. Organizers hope to serve more than 500 kids this season.
How to get involved: Dozens of local businesses, schools and churches have boxes that donations can be dropped off in. Contact Christy Harpold at 317-462-4491, ext. 41206, for information about where to send cash or check donations. The deadline for donations is Dec. 8.
Shop with a Deputy
The mission: The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department will take dozens of the county’s underprivileged kids shopping on Dec. 5.
What’s needed: Money.
Where the donations go: The department tries to aid at least 30 kids each year, and each child receives about $300 to spend at Wal-Mart on clothing and toys.
How to get involved: Donations can be mailed to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, 123 E. Main St., Greenfield. Members of the Rotary Club of Greenfield will continue fundraising by bell-ringing on Dec. 5 at the Greenfield CVS, Cynthia’s Hallmark, Kroger, Walgreens, Marsh and Speedway Gas Station locations at 815 W. Main St. and 1253 N. State St. in Greenfield.
The mission: The Greenfield and Fortville police departments each hosts a shopping event for local kids in need, similar to the sheriff’s department’s initiative. Greenfield’s event will be on Dec. 6; Fortville’s will be Dec. 12.
What’s needed: Money.
Where the donations go: Each department takes about 30 kids to breakfast at McDonald’s before heading to Wal-Mart to shop for toys, books, clothes, movies and whatever else the child might need.
How to get involved: Checks can be mailed to the Greenfield Police Department at 116 S. State St., Greenfield, and the Fortville Police Department at 714 E. Broadway St., Fortville.
The mission: Santa’s Helpers, a national program, is operated locally by Greenfield Sertoma, a community-service organization. Members of the organization round up donations to purchase children’s clothing for families in need.
What’s needed: Money.
Where the donations go: Families are referred to the program by the United Christmas Service. Members of Greenfield Sertoma cover the overhead costs of the program, which include postage, mailings and materials, so 100 percent of donations go to families in need. Organizers hope to provide clothing for 200 kids this year.
How to get involved: Individuals can mail donations to P.O. Box 43 at the Greenfield Post Office, 207 N. State St. The donation deadline is Dec. 14.