WASHINGTON — A father lost his job. A mom is trying to complete her college degree and raise her daughter on her own. A family’s furnace broke, and they had to spend their Christmas budget to get it repaired. They are all struggling to provide Christmas gifts for their children this year.
These are the families that several local churches and volunteers felt for when they launched Jubilee Christmas in 2007. Patterned after a program by Lafayette Urban Ministries, Jubilee Christmas in Daviess County allows parents to pick gifts their children will love, wrap them, and celebrate the Christmas spirit with volunteers in a cheerful atmosphere.
Donations from individuals, churches and businesses, and grants provide three gifts plus stocking stuffers for each child who is referred to the program, as well as baskets for each family containing household goods and gift certificates to purchase a holiday meal.
Connections coordinates the event by gathering donations from local businesses and partner churches, assigning referred families to host churches, and assisting the churches to set up “gift shops.” The night of the program, volunteers come alongside the parents to pick out gifts for each of their children, wrap the gifts, and enjoy snacks while listening to Christmas music.
Last year, Jubilee Christmas served 802 children and 320 families in need throughout Daviess County. This year, Jubilee Christmas will assist 821 children and 664 families.
This is what some of those families were saying last year:
“It makes Christmas a little happier knowing there are such loving/caring people to go that extra mile to help every family in need at Christmas.”
“It helps us a lot. It’s very hard sometimes just paying the bills.”
“Jubilee Christmas means so much for my family. My two children will have a better Christmas in not only just the gifts but by the meaning of sharing and caring. Thank You So Much!”
This year, 11 churches and two organizations are serving as site locations where parents can pick out gifts for their children, and 11 partner churches are providing volunteers and donations to help operate Jubilee Christmas. Donations of gifts, wrapping supplies, and funds are still needed, as well as volunteers.
If one would like to help provide gifts for children in need this season, one can pick up an ornament with gift giving information at a participating church or business. Participating businesses are: Crane Credit Union, German American Bank, Old National Bank, Home Building Savings Bank, First Federal Bank, Anytime Fitness, Daviess County Family YMCA, Senior and Family Services, EG&G at Crane Tech Park, Daviess Community Hospital, Montgomery Medical Associates, GPC or Daviess County Community Foundation.
For more information about volunteering or giving to Jubilee Christmas or about how your church or business can get involved, contact Sherry Davis at 257-2650 or email connections47501@hot
--- Special to TH