Season of giving: Nonprofits still need assistance


HANCOCK COUNTY — Local nonprofit organizations are deep into their campaigns to help families in need have happy holidays. Area organizations count on charitable contributions to make the holidays bright for everyone, supporting efforts from free meals to Christmas gift giveaways. Organizations are still seeking help. Here’s a summary of groups’ continuing needs:

Greenfield Sertoma’s Santa’s Helpers

The mission: Santa’s Helpers, a national program, is operated locally by Greenfield Sertoma, a community-service organization. Members of the group round up donations to help families in need purchase children’s clothing.

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What’s needed: Money

Where the donations go: Families are referred to the program by Hancock County Christmas Connection agencies. Sertoma draws from a separate fund to cover the overhead costs of the Santa’s Helpers program, so 100 percent of donations go to families in need. Organizers will provide at least $70 per child this year.

How to get involved: Individuals can mail donations to P.O. Box 43 at the Greenfield Post Office, 207 N. State St. Parents will shop starting Dec. 18, so donations should be in before then.

Hancock County Christmas Connection

The mission: Three county school districts and several nonprofit organizations are working together to fill the gap left behind by the departure of United Christmas Service. The organizations, which include Toys for Tots of Hancock County; Love In the Name of Christ of Greater Hancock County; Sertoma’s Santa’s Helpers program; and Eastern Hancock, Greenfield-Central and Mt. Vernon schools, will work together to match families who need help with individual sponsors or community resources.

What’s needed: Families are being matched through cooperation between the schools and Love INC, but members of the public may still help by donating gift cards for gasoline, grocery stores or restaurants.

Where the donations go: Any donations will be put toward helping qualifying families provide Christmas gifts to their children.

How to get involved: Families with children who wish to apply for help with Christmas gifts through the Hancock County Christmas Connection can get an application from their child’s school in Greenfield-Central, Eastern Hancock or Mt. Vernon school districts.

Healthy Families will also be accepting applications from families involved in their services. Families with young children not yet in school or enrolled with Healthy Families should contact Love INC at (317) 468-6300.

More information also is available by contacting Terry Miller, social worker at Weston Elementary School, at (317) 462-1492.

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 passers-by.

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 to get involved: Bell-ringers will be stationed in front of the Greenfield Kroger and Walmart as well as the Needler’s Fresh Market (formerly Marsh) in New Palestine until Christmas Eve. To become a bell-ringer, visit Volunteers commit to two-hour shifts, with weekend and weekday opportunities available.

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: 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 (317) 462-2877 for more information. Gift requests are still available; the gifts will be distributed Dec. 21.

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: Families who qualify receive age-appropriate gifts to give to their children.

How to get involved: Dozens of local businesses, schools and churches have boxes to collect donations. Contact Christy Harpold at (317) 462-4491, ext. 41206, for information about where to send cash or check donations.