Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Madison County area toy drives in full swing

Opportunities abound for donating toys and other holiday cheer to families in need in the Madison County area.

West Jefferson Adopt-a-Family and VFW Post 7005. The West Jefferson Com-munity Association and VFW are collecting toys for children up to high school age who live in West Jefferson and/or are enrolled in the Jefferson Local School District.

New unwrapped gifts can be dropped off at Huntington Bank’s West Jefferson branch at 41 E. Main St., the VFW Post at 1 Veterans Way, and other locations around West Jefferson, or call Vickie Edwards at (614) 582-1328 to make other drop-off arrangements.

Another way the public can help is by “adopting” families for which to buy gifts. Tags that list the clothing sizes and toy wishes of area children decorate a tree at Huntington Bank; participants take a tag and fulfill the wishes listed on it. Donors also may call Edwards for that informa-tion.

The Community Association also is accepting monetary donations to buy toys. Make checks out to “Community Associ-ation Adopt-a-Family” and mail them to Edwards’ attention at 235 Middle Dr., West Jefferson OH 43162.

West Jefferson area families in need can pick up applications at Norwood Elemen-tary School. Completed applications are due back at the school by Dec. 2.

Tri-County Joint Fire District in Mount Sterling. The fire department is collecting toys and money until Dec. 8 at the station, 7 W. Columbus St., Mount Sterling. Toys should be new and unwrapped. Money will be used to buy toys to balance out requests after the cut-off date. Additionally, Santa will collect donations on the streets of Mount Sterling starting at 9 a.m. Nov. 23.

Families requesting assistance with toys must complete an application, avail-able at the fire station, by Dec. 8. Families must reside in the fire district.

For more information, call (740) 869-2643.

Plain City Churches. Plain City area churches are making plans for the annual Christmas Basket project. In 2012, baskets and gifts were distributed to 216 families which included over 1,000 individuals, approximately 500 of whom were children. 

While the largest portion of food for the baskets is purchased by the church fellowship through the Plain City Food Bank and at local supermarkets, food can also be donated through local churches, at any Jonathan Alder school or at the Plain City Food Bank. Monetary donations are also welcome and may be given to local churches or mailed to the “Christmas Basket Fund,” Plain City Presbyterian Church, 231 E. Main St., Plain City OH 43064.

Another way to participate is to “adopt” a family in need by buying Christmas presents to go with their food basket. Families may be adopted through local churches or by calling the Presbyterian Church at (614) 873-5011 or Dave McCray at (614) 408-1617.  Guidelines are provided for purchasing gifts for appropriate age levels.

Volunteers are needed at 9 a.m. Dec. 21 at Plain City Presbyterian Church to pack and deliver baskets.

For more information, contact a Plain City area church or Jim Kaufman, food drive chairman, at (937) 642-7252.

London Fire Department and Madison County Job & Family Services. The Holiday Helpers Firefighter Toy Drive provided gifts for about 400 families last year. Toys are given to children through age 14.

The public can get involved one of two ways, either by adopting a family and purchasing gifts specifically for those children, or by donating toys or money without adopting a particular family.

Holiday Helpers supplies adopters with first names, ages and wish lists of the children. Participants then spend no more than $50 per child and purchase no more than three gifts per child.           

Donations can be dropped off at the London Fire Department, 103 E. High St., or Job & Family Services, 200 Midway St., London. Additionally, items can be dropped off at the toy collection warehouse, 60 S. Walnut St. (in the former primary school building) during special hours in December; call (740) 852-4770 for the schedule.

Madison County families in need who want to receive gifts must sign up by Dec. 13. Applications are available at Job & Family Services, 200 Midway St., London.

For all details, call (740) 852-4770.

Jefferson Township Fire Department. The fire fighters are collecting toys for underprivileged children ages newborn to 12 years old who live in the West Jefferson area.

New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at collection sites in West Jefferson, including the fire station and the schools. The fire station also is accepting gift cards in any denomination as gifts for the older children. Additionally, monetary donations can be made out to “Firefighters Toy Drive” and sent to the Jefferson Township Fire Department, 745 W. Main St., West Jefferson OH 43162.

Families in need who want to sign up to receive gifts can pick up applications at the fire station. Completed applications are due by Nov. 30.

This year, the student councils at West Jefferson high school, middle school and elementary will help the fire fighters shop, assemble toys and distribute toys.

For details, contact: the fire station, (614) 879-8265; Rick Cook, (614) 296-3510 or; Jen Miller or Jeni Haskins at the high school, (614) 879-7681; or Paula Nance at the middle school, 879-8345.

•  HELP House. The London-based non-profit hosts a Christmas party for children and a shopping day for parents and guardians. The public can help make both events successful by making donations or volunteering.

To help, contact Chandra Kelly at or (740) 852-4124 or Kelly Armfelt at (740) 837-0440.

His Little Lambs Party

This year’s party will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 15. The focus is on stories about Jesus, rather than about Santa.

Donations needed for the party include finger foods, such as cheese cubes, fixings for small sandwiches, juice boxes and relish trays. Children’s hats, scarves and gloves also are needed. The deadline to make donations is Dec. 14.

Volunteer opportunities include set-up, preparation, implementation and cleanup.

Christmas Shopping Day

Parents and guardians of children in need will visit HELP House between 9 a.m. and noon Dec. 21 to choose new and gently used gifts for their children. The goal is to provide one new gift and three or four used gifts per registered child. HELP House expects approximately 500 children to be registered.

Gift donations are needed by Dec. 18. The focus is children ages 0 to 13. Gifts may be given to children 14 and older if available. Needed items are: gently used or new gifts, toys and games (unwrapped), new or gently used clothing, new underwear, new socks, gifts for teenagers (unwrapped), wrapping paper, tape, bows and batteries (all sizes, but especially AA).

Volunteers are needed to clean and repair gently used toys and gifts, set up tables and stations, arrange gifts, help on shopping day and clean up.

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