Opportunities to give back in Jackson County
Jackson County residents looking for ways to give back to their community this holiday season have a variety of opportunities.
Jackson County Ministerial Alliance Christmas Bureau
The JCMA Christmas Bureau is accepting a variety of donations for its Christmas “store,” which has been set from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, at Evangel United Methodist Church in Holton.
Christmas Bureau volunteers are expecting to serve a total of 250 families, seniors and disabled residents who are in need this Christmas.
As part of the store, each family or individual receives a bag of home essentials, food items and toys. Senior and disabled applicants will also receive a pharmacy gift card.
Volunteers are seeking spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, jelly, new toys and monetary donations to purchase pharmacy cards. All items need to be collected by Nov. 29 and can be dropped off at the EUM Church.
A total of 150 essential bags have already been donated, but volunteers are seeking a total of 250 completed bags.
Members of the community are being asked to fill a reusable grocery sack of some kind with the following items, laundry soap, dryer sheets, shampoo, conditioner, dish soap, bath soap, hand soap, four-pack of toilet paper, razors, deodorant, Kleenex, toothbrushes, toothpaste and kitchen dishcloths and towels.
Individual items are also being collected if someone cannot fill an entire bag, it was reported.
These bags can be dropped off at the EUM Church or with Terri Robbins at Lifetime Eye Care in Holton.
Volunteers are being sought to help set up the store at EUM on Thursday, Dec. 11, as well as to distribute items on Dec. 12.
“We appreciate everything we get for the store,” said Sandy Allen, event organizer. “Without the community’s support, we couldn’t do it.”
Allen said that this is the last year the Evangel Serving Team is coordinating the Christmas Bureau, and team members are actively seeking a person or team to take on the leadership role in 2015.
The opportunity to coordinate the annual event will be open to the community effective January 2015.
“The Evangel Serving Team will still be a part of it, but they no longer wish to coordinate the event,” Allen said.
Allen said that the EUM Church will still be available to host the event each year.
“This position only requires coordination as facets of the Christmas Bureau are effectively ran by other churches and community volunteers,” Allen said. “The change in this position will have no effect on the ongoing success of the Christmas Bureau.”
For more information, contact Sandy Allen at 785-851-0276 or Kay Smith at 785-364-8162.
Toys For Tots
A Toys for Tots drive is being coordinated to serve families in Jackson County. Sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps, the Holton VFW Post 1367 Riders and other volunteers and agencies, the Toys for Tots drive aims to serve needy children in the region.
New, unwrapped toys are already being collected throughout Jackson County. Designated drop sites include Casey’s General Store, Denison State Bank’s three branches, Dollar General, Farmers State Bank, Holton Country Mart, Holton Farm and Home, Walmart and The Chop Shop.
Gifts are being collected for children ages newborn to 17, but it was noted that older children, usually those between ages 10 and 17, are the most overlooked group during the drive. Gift suggestions include footballs, baseballs and mitts, basketballs, volleyballs and skateboards.
All donations will be picked up on Dec. 15 and will be distributed locally at the Veterans Club in Holton Dec. 18 – 21.
Families in need can sign up to receive toys by registering online at topeka-ks.toysfortots.org. Parents or guardians will be required to fill up a simply form online.
For more information about the drive, contact Jack Pittaway Sr. at 785-534-0026 or Gunnery Sgt. Max Coons at 785-862-0923 extension 260.
JCMA New Hope Center Food Pantry
Volunteers with the local food pantry, located at Fifth Street and Wisconsin Avenue in the Holton First Christian Church basement, are seeking a variety of items, including macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, boxed cereal, spaghetti sauce and tuna.
The pantry’s hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays. There is also drop box for donations located outside the door of the pantry.
For more information, call 362-7021.
Operation Christmas Child
Once again, the First Baptist Church of Holton, located at 404 Juniper Dr., is a drop off site for Operation Christmas Child.
Area residents are encouraged to fill a shoebox with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement for needy kids around the world.
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham.
Using a standard size shoebox, anyone can pack a box for a boy or girl. The child’s age categories are two to four, five through nine and 10 to 14. The box can be filled with a variety of items such as school supplies, toys, hygiene items, socks, t-shirts, hair clips and a personal note. A $7 donation is also suggested for each box to cover shipping and other project costs.
Place a rubber band around each closed shoebox and drop it off at Holton First Baptist Church this week. Labels for the boxes are available at www.samaritanspurse.org.
Set drop off hours are 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 17 – 22, 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23, and 10 a.m. to noon on Monday, Nov. 24.
The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign
Regional organizers with the Salvation Army are looking for a coordinator locally to schedule and arrange bell ringers in Holton this Christmas season.
Donations collected are used to assist residents in emergency situations by providing food, clothing and shelter.
If you or your organization would like to serve as the coordinator for this year’s kettle drive, contact Jane Connolly at 816-914-0776.