This time of year, a miracle takes place in Jackson County.

Hundreds of people open their hearts and wallets to buy toys for local children in need.

Volunteers wrap those presents and deliver them to the children’s homes the morning of Christmas Eve.

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For more than four decades, Jackson County Sertoma Club’s Christmas Miracle Project has brought joy to children of low-income families.

John Fox, co-chairman of the project, said the club so far has 181 boxes to fill with toys, but that number will increase as the club receives more applications requesting assistance.

“That many boxes will serve over 400 children because most of the families we get have more than one child,” Fox said.

Applications for children up to 12 years of age can be picked up at several locations, including the Jackson County Health Department, WIC office, Seymour City Hall, Jackson County Department of Child Services, Human Services office, all branches of the Jackson County Public Library and many Jackson County United Way agencies. They also are available at the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and at Bundy Brothers in Medora.

Fox said they receive 20 to

25 applications a day. The last day to return an application is next Friday. Donations will be accepted through Dec. 22.

Each child’s request is written on paper angels that can be picked up at the Seymour Public Library, the Jackson County Visitor Center, Tractor Supply Co. or Nstylz Hair Design, all in Seymour. People can visit those locations to choose an angel to shop for. All gifts then can be returned to those businesses or dropped off at Sertoma’s Christmas Miracle Headquarters at 1315 E. Tipton St. Monetary donations also will be accepted.

The headquarters is open from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Fox said they try to keep toy requests to no more than $35 so that they aren’t too expensive for people to buy.

A couple of businesses, Wal-Mart Distribution and Seymour Tubing, participate by having their own angel trees for employees to pick angels.

Also this year, there are donation collection boxes at Orscheln Farm and Home, 1501 E. Tipton St. and the new Exist Salon and Spa, 425 W. Second St.

Besides a main gift, Sertoma also tries to provide a small, secondary item for each kid, and those will come from the donation boxes.

“That’s something new we decided to try this year, and it’s really worked out well,” Fox said.

He expects about 1,000 kids from across the county will receive toys from Sertoma this year. He said he didn’t think the number of families being served or amount of donations would be any lower compared with last year.

“The need isn’t any less,” he said. “And no one wants to see a child not have a present to open on Christmas.”

It’s a big undertaking, but one that Sertoma members and volunteers from the community are more than happy to do, Fox said.

“We’ll have 80 to 100 people delivering, and many more that come to wrap,” he added.

On Wednesday night, men, women and children arrived at the Christmas Miracle Headquarters to begin sorting and wrapping the many donated toys.

The annual wrapping party has become a tradition for many, including the Dusablon and Davis families, both

of Seymour.

Vanessa Dusablon said she and her husband, Matt, like to bring their children along to experience the fun and joy of helping others.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to give back to the community, even at a young age,” she said.

With their mom’s supervision, Sophia, 4, and Bianca, 2, picked out which toys they wanted to wrap, carefully cut the paper and taped it together so it was ready for a child to open.

Both girls said they like to wrap presents because it means Christmas is coming.

“It just makes it feel more like Christmas,” Vanessa added.

Hannah Davis, 19, has been buying, wrapping and delivering presents with her family for Sertoma for around 15 years. Her father, Dan Davis, is a longtime member of the service organization.

“Ever since I was 4 or 5 years old,” she said. “I like to wrap gifts anyway, so it’s fun.”

Wednesday was her first day back home from college for Christmas break. She wouldn’t think of missing the annual wrapping party, she said.

She also likes to see the expressions on the kids’ faces when they arrive with the presents.

“They are so excited, and sometimes these toys are all they get,” she said. “It makes me feel good that I can help make them happy.”

Davis said one time, when delivering, a mother hugged and thanked them for bringing her children toys.

Any youth group, church or organization wanting to spend a few hours wrapping should call Fox at 812-528-3255 to schedule a time.

Sertoma President Ryan Begley said club members look forward to the project every year because of the effect it has on local children.

“That’s what Sertoma is all about,” he said. “Giving back and serving our community is what we do.”

At a glance

Jackson County Sertoma Club’s Christmas Miracle Angel Trees are used to help make Christmas a little brighter for children in need.

The trees can be found at the following locations in Seymour:

  • Jackson County Public Library, 303 W. Second St.
  • Jackson County Visitor Center, 100 N. Broadway St.
  • Tractor Supply Co., 2003 E. Tipton St.
  • Nstylz Hair Design, 321 E. Second St.

Donation boxes also are available at Orscheln Farm and Home Store, 1051 E. Tipton St., and Exist Salon and Spa, 425 W. Second St.

Filler gifts such as Matchbox toys, gloves, blankets and other items also are being sought.

Gifts also can be taken to Christmas Miracle Headquarters, 1315 E. Tipton St.

Applications for anyone seeking gifts for their children are available at Jackson County Health Department, WIC office, Seymour City Hall, Jackson County Department of Child Services, all branches of the Jackson County Public Library and all participating agencies of the Jackson County United Way. They can be mailed to Jackson County Sertoma Club, P.O. Box 841, Seymour, IN 47274.

Pull Quote

“The need isn’t any less. And no one wants to see a child not have a present to open on Christmas.”

John Fox, co-chairman of Jackson County Sertoma Club’s Christmas Miracle Project

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.