Special Help for the Holidays
Writer / Alaina Sullivan
The holiday season is a time for serving the community and helping those in need. Many nonprofits, churches and other organizations sponsor their own projects during the season to do their part.
Children’s Bureau “Hope for the Holidays”
Children’s Bureau, a nonprofit working on behalf of abused and neglected children, assists children and families in the Johnson County area through its program “Hope for the Holidays.” Companies and individuals are invited to sponsor a family selected from their site. They are given a list of “wishes” or items that the children and members of the family would like for Christmas and purchase gifts, delivering them to Children’s Bureau.
“In 2014, the program served 550 children,” said Andra Martinez, vice president of communications and development with Children’s Bureau. “This program has been helping families for 15 years.” In addition to Children’s Bureau staff, they also receive help through 20 other volunteers.
Saints Frances and Clare – Archdiocese of Indianapolis Christmas Store
Saints Frances and Clare Catholic Church’s Planned Outreach Ministry collects donations on a yearly basis for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’s Christmas store. The store is located downtown Indianapolis in the Xavier Building on 1435 N. Illinois St. and is opened to lower income residents of the Central Indiana area who have been referred from various outreach ministries or agencies of both religious and nonreligious affiliation.
Unlike traditional giving programs, the Christmas Store allows individuals to come “shop” for themselves and their families. The need is always there to ensure that items are stocked to make this shopping experience useful. In addition to just donations, parishioners of the church also sign up to work shifts at the Christmas store.
Mount Pleasant Christian Church also offers its own Giving Tree program. Most of the families helped already receive other assistance through the church, but even if they do not already, the church does its best to connect families with other services that can help them after the holidays.
“We don’t just want to hand people Christmas gifts and then be done with it. We want to make a connection and build a relationship,” said Christy Brink from Mount Pleasant.
They also partner to assist families in the child protective services arena and children of incarcerated parents as well as partner with the Stripped Free Ministry, an organization that works with women working in the strip club industry and their families. Brink anticipates them helping 475 children this year.
Girls Inc. provides for the Community
Girls Inc., a nonprofit focused on providing educational and empowerment services to Johnson County girls, contributes annually through community service. Every year, the girls work together to put on a community service, said Sonya Ware-Meguiar, CEO Girls Inc. of Johnson County.
This year, they are collecting hats, gloves, scarves and travel size toiletry items to give to Turning Point Domestic Violence agency for their clients and families.
“Turning Point provides programming for our older girls on healthy relationships and safe dating. This is our way of giving back to support their mission,” said Ware-Meguiar. “Both of our agencies are committed to empowering women and building their self-esteem and self-confidence toward self-sufficiency.”