GETTING INTO THE SPIRIT: Churches, other organizations offer opportunities to give back this holiday season


Donated items await purchase Dec. 21, 2019, in the Renewal Christmas Store. “We believe down to our toes that love must translate into action, that loving means caring and giving and serving,” Rob McCord, senior minister of Outlook Christian Church in McCordsville, wrote in an email to the Daily Reporter after the event. “Jesus embodied this, teaches this, and empowers us to live this. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed serving cookies and hot chocolate at the Christmas Store. The warm hugs and easy laughter, often among strangers, was clear evidence of the love and joy that permeated the room — truly the Christmas Spirit.”

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HANCOCK COUNTY — Some people feel the “Christmas spirit” most when serving others. Others are looking for ways to inject a little more meaning into their holiday season by giving of themselves. Here are a few ideas on how to make that happen.

Play elf (or reindeer, or Mrs. Claus) for an afternoon. Renewal Neighborhood Ministries is gathering new toys and games for children from infancy through high school. They stock Renewal’s annual Christmas Store, where parents in the neighborhood surrounding Renewal can buy Christmas presents for their children at deep discount. Drop off items at Outlook Christian Church in McCordsville by Dec. 12. Information: 317-335-6815, or see and select “About the Christmas Store” for more information about volunteer roles and needed items.

Lend a hand around the house. “We will have household projects that our neighbors need assistance with throughout the year, including Christmastime,” writes Debra Weber, executive director of Love INC. “If there are groups that are handy with home repairs, we would be interested in speaking with them about ministering to our neighbors through their skills. At times we have yard clean-up projects, and when it snows, we will get calls for snow removal.”

Sort and bag food. Volunteers staff the weekly pantry hours at FARM (Fortville Area Resource Mission), most working for two to three hours sometime between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Need an evening shift? FARM has evening pantry hours on the third Thursday of the month. Learn more by calling 317-203-9606 or sending email to [email protected].

Pack clothes. Lambswear Inc. is a children’s clothing ministry that was launched in 2012 by two women from Outlook Christian Church in McCordsville. It schedules volunteers at its facility at 5841 Thunderbird Road, Suite D, Indianapolis. Learn more at

Eat pizza. Having trouble fitting service into your schedule? You have to eat anyway; do it at Mozzi’s Pizza on Dec. 8 and benefit Journey Bags of Hancock County, which provides clothes and personal care items to children in foster care or families in financial crisis. Print the flyer posted Nov. 2 on the group’s Facebook page and present it to your server to have 20% of your purchase price donated to Journey Bags.

Set up tables or sort toys. God’s Open Arms is planning the annual Day of Love and Caring, when families in need find a Christmas Eve supply of presents and clothes for their children, as well as a holiday meal. Can you sort toys? Bag meals? Greet guests? Load a trailer? Find tasks available at

Ring a bell for Salvation Army of Hancock County. “Those red kettles would remain empty vessels without an army of volunteers,” advisory council chairwoman Jill Null wrote in an email. “Some volunteers wear costumes, some sing and dance, some fill their kettle by promising to stop singing. Families with children can enjoy serving together, and the little ones are consistently big fund raisers.” Visit to sign up for a two-hour shift at a kettle at Kroger or Walmart in Greenfield or Needler’s Fresh Market in New Palestine.

Volunteer with friends. Tom Ferguson, executive director of Hancock County Food Pantry, is pleased that a local church’s small-group Bible studies decided to volunteer in shifts together at the pantry for a week during the holidays. Others can schedule time slots to help online at or by calling Liz Rusche at 317-446-6227.

Share daffodil bulbs. If you’re dividing bulbs before more frigid weather comes, or willing to buy a bag at a home center, Hope Center Indy is gathering daffodil bulbs. They’ll be planted between now and early December to produce blooms in spring 2022 on center’s campus west of New Palestine, where the ministry serves women who’ve escaped human trafficking. Learn more about ways to help at

Offer a cup (ahem, bottle) of cold water. Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen in Greenfield could use more bottled water to give with its takeout meals. People can drop off cases of it during delivery hours at the soup kitchen’s office door (alley door) or back door: 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.