Daily Reporter staff reports

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 need. 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.

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.

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What’s needed: Money, volunteers. For the first time, the local Salvation Army has set a monetary goal. It’s leaders are looking to raise $40,000 in the next month.

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 the Needler’s Fresh Market (formerly Marsh) in New Palestine, now until Christmas Eve. To become a bell-ringer, visit register toring.com. Volunteers commit to two-hour shifts, with weekend and weekday opportunities available.

Shop with a Deputy

The mission: The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department will take dozens of the county’s underprivileged kids shopping on Dec. 9.

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 Walmart on Christmas presents.

How to get involved: Donations can be mailed to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, 123 E. Main St., Greenfield.

Hancock County Food Pantry

The mission: All year round, the Hancock County Food Pantry secures and distributes food to the needy in an effort to alleviate hunger in Hancock County.

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.

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.

Gift Lift

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: Mental Health Partners has planned a “Make a Difference Day” to collect and organize items from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the organization’s office in the Hancock County Memorial Building, 98 E. North St., Greenfield. Donations can be dropped off to the Mental Health Partners office during business hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call the office at 317-462-2877 for more information. The deadline for donations is Dec. 5.

United Christmas Service

The mission: Caseworkers from United Way of Central Indiana’s partner agencies refer qualified families to the United Christmas Service, which then provides vouchers to verified families for food, clothes and toys. Each family member receives a $30 voucher they can use at partner stores like Walmart, Walgreens, CVS or Kroger to purchase gifts.

What’s needed: Donations to the Direct Assistance Program, which will help fund vouchers for families selected for the United Christmas Service.

Where the donations go: Some 19,000 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 donation drop-off boxes. 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. 5.

Santa’s Helpers

The mission: Santa’s Helpers — run by Greenfield Sertoma, a local community-service organization — will collect donations to purchase clothing for underprivileged children. Last year, volunteers were able to help 150 kids.

What’s needed: Money.

Where the donations go: The United Christmas Service refers families in need to the Santa’s Helpers program. The Sertoma Club of Greenfield is a nonprofit organization, and they will cover the project’s administrative costs, postage and stationery. One hundred percent of donations will go directly to the children’s’ benefit.

How to get involved: Donations can be delivered to Santa’s Helpers/Greenfield Sertoma, P.O. Box 43 at the Greenfield Post Office, 207 N. State St. With their shopping dates scheduled for December 19 and 20, Santa’s Helpers would appreciate contributions as soon as possible.

Cops-4-Kids

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. Fortville’s event will be on Dec. 2; Greenfield’s will be Dec. 10.

What’s needed: Money.

Where the donations go: Each department takes about 30 kids to breakfast at a local McDonald’s before heading to the Greenfield Walmart 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.