(Posted Nov. 16, 2016)
Opportunities abound for donating toys and other holiday cheer to families in need in the Madison County area.
• West Jefferson Adopt-a-Family and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7005. The West Jefferson Community Association Adopt-a-Family 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 the VFW Post at 1 Veterans Way 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 trees at West Jefferson Hardware. Participants take a tag and fulfill the wishes listed on it, then return the gifts to the hardware store by the date listed on the tag. Donors also may call Edwards for that info.
The Community Association also is accepting monetary donations to buy toys. Make checks out to “Community Association Adopt-a-Family” and mail them to Edwards’ attention at 193 S. Chester St., West Jefferson OH 43162.
West Jefferson area families in need can pick up applications at Norwood Elementary School. Completed applications are due back at the school by Dec. 2. Applications will be cross-checked with other non-profit organizations and Madison County Job and Family Services to prevent duplication.
• Tri-County Joint Fire District in Mount Sterling. The Tri-County Joint Fire District in Mount Sterling is accepting applications for children to receive toys during the fire fighters’ annual toy drive. Those who fill out applications must provide and ID and proof of residency (electric bill, phone bill, etc.). Applicants must reside with in the fire district. Forms can be picked up at the fire house 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Application dates run through Dec. 9.
Toys and monetary donations will be accepted until Dec. 9. Ages provided for this year are 0-12 years old. For details, call the fire house at (740) 869-2643.
• Plain City Churches. Plain City area churches are making plans for the annual Christmas Basket project. In 2015, baskets and gifts were distributed to 183 families which included over 850 individuals, approximately 500 of whom were children.
The project sponsor, Plain City Church Fellowship, has collected names, addresses and phone numbers of families or individuals in need in the Plain City or Jonathan Alder School District.
While the largest portion of food for the baskets is purchased by the church fellowship through the Plain City Food Bank and at local super markets, food also can 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 to the “Christmas Basket Fund” and sent to Plain City Presbyterian Church, 231 E. Main St., Plain City, OH 43064.
Another way to participate is to adopt a family and buy the Christmas presents that 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 buying gifts for appropriate age levels.
Volunteers are also needed to help at 9 a.m. Dec. 17 at Plain City Presbyterian Church to pack and deliver baskets. For details, contact 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 to over 750 children last year. Toys are given to children through age 12.
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) from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 12-16.
Madison County families in need who want to receive gifts must sign up by Dec. 20. 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 9 years old and gift cards for children ages 10-16 years old who live in the West Jefferson area.
Gift cards and new, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at collection sites in West Jefferson, including the fire station and the schools. 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. For details, contact: the fire station, (614) 879-8265; Rick Cook, (614) 296-3510 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Jen Miller at the high school, (614) 879-7681, ext. 2300.