Here are six nonprofit, Christmas causes that work to make the holiday season warm for families in need, with information on how people can contribute.
Firemen’s Cheer Fund: Purchases toys for local youngsters in need through age 12, last year helping 1,240 kids. Currently has a big need for gently used toys for youngsters ages 7 to 12, and new stuffed animals, organizers said. New or gently used toys can be donated at the Doug Otto Center, 1531 13th St. or at any local fire station. Send or drop off checks at 1101 Jackson St., Columbus, IN 47201.
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 89’s Shop With a Cop: Area officers take about 150 youngsters in grades 1 through 6 shopping for toys and clothes. Program is at the halfway mark toward a $40,000 budget goal. Part of the program’s intent also is to provide youngsters with a positive experience with local law enforcement. Send donations to Shop With a Cop, P.O. Box 204, Columbus IN 47202 or call Alan Trisler at 812-343-2742 and he will pick up your donation.
Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign and Angel Tree: The kettle campaign, which funds programs ranging from the agency’s food pantry to summer camp, stands far short of its $117,000 goal with kettles at various locations around Columbus. The Angel Tree program, set up to help about 320 families with a mix of toys and clothes for children and some teens, has angel tags on trees at both local Walmarts, Rural King and FairOaks Mall. Centra Credit Union also is helping with trees in its locations. Included this year in the Salvation Army outreach are children of area residents in jail. Monetary donations can be sent to or dropped off at the ministry headquarters, 2525 Illinois Ave., Columbus IN 47201. The agency also can use volunteers for the behind-the-scenes work of the Angel Tree outreach, which this year will include a separate element for people 60 and older with little or no family locally. Information: 812-372-7118.
Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center’s Angels of Love: Purchases gifts for young people in need through age 18. And with 650 people registered, the need is significant. Donations can be made in person or by mail to Lincoln-Central at its office at 1039 Sycamore St., Columbus, IN 47201. Information: 812-379-1630.
Toys For Tots: A U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program provided gifts for 1,413 children in Bartholomew and Jennings counties last holiday season. Ninety-seven cents of every dollar goes to gifts, while 3 cents goes to distribution. People can donate new toys to the cause at a variety of local locations listed on the Facebook page for Toys For Tots Bartholomew and Jennings Counties.
Community Center of Hope: For its current Christmas basket program, organizers aim to help about 65 households with enough food to prepare a holiday meal. People can donate food items such as hams, noodles, mashed potatoes and other possibilities by Dec. 15 to the center at 543 Washington St., Hope. People can also drop off or mail monetary donations at the enter. Information: 812-546-4499.
Bartholomew County families in financial need can register for help 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Friday by calling the Holiday Helpline at 812-375-2216.