Matt and Melissa Sitterding’s truck bed was packed with bicycles, toys and blankets.

The couple, originally from Seymour, along with three others helped deliver gifts Wednesday around Seymour as part of the Sertoma Christmas Miracle.

Through gifts, monetary donations and Angel Trees, the annual program provides presents on Christmas Eve morning for children in need in Jackson County.

“Our main goal is to bring joy to underprivileged families and kids,” said Ryan Begley, co-chairman of the event.

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About 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Sitterding family visited their first household.

As they walked up guiding two bicycles, a little girl — still wearing her pajamas — opened the door. She caught sight of what she was about to receive.

“She said, ‘Thank you, thank you, for my brother’s bike that got stolen,’” Melissa Sitterding said. “It was really cute.”

The Sitterdings said they have delivered gifts for Sertoma for about seven years. They return to Jackson County from Kansas City, Missouri, around the holidays each year to visit family.

During the delivery process this year, they brought along their two nephews, 4-year-old Jordan Fox and 18-year-old Tristan Sitterding, and his girlfriend, Katie Campbell.

Tristan Sitterding and Campbell, both Seymour High School students, said it was their first time to volunteer with the program.

“To put a smile on their face feels good,” Tristan Sitterding said after dropping off the pair of bikes.

In total, Sertoma Christmas Miracle delivered 314 boxes of toys to families across Jackson County. John Fox, co-chairman of the event, said that amount translates to presents for 726 kids.

Each box contained two wrapped toys for each child and a blanket.

Fox said the donations were down about 10 percent this year. He said that could be because the economy continues to struggle.

But he also said the community, businesses and volunteers come together each year to make the event happen. No matter how down they are in donations, no child in the program goes without a gift.

He specifically said Cort Acres, Valeo and Follow the Son motorcycle club in Brownstown helped out by holding their own toy drives.

Volunteers donate their time to make deliveries. One group, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Posse, helps each year.

Jeff and Gina Gardner are members of the Posse. The Seymour couple have delivered for about eight years. They’ve even brought their two sons before.

“It makes your Christmas,” Gina Gardner said.

She said they deliver to the same area each year, which is near where they live in the Seymour-Redding School area.

“We kind of know that’s where we’re going to go and know some of the people,” Gina Gardner said.

A group of friends from Seymour High School were among the deliverers. Julia Adams, Abigail Davis, Claire Loebker, Elizabeth Davis and Emma Woods packed into a vehicle and made room for boxes of toys on their laps.

They were driven by Adam Davis, an older brother who attends the University of Kentucky.

“We do it every year. It’s kind of become a tradition because we like doing it, and it’s fun,” Abigail Davis said.

She said many of the families and kids are grateful.

“They come out and say, ‘Thank you,’” she said. “It’s a good feeling.”

Begley, who is also president of the local Sertoma chapter, said he’s noticed there are some kids each year who eagerly await their delivery.

“Some of them will meet you before you get out of the vehicle, and their smiles are all over when they find out some of it is for them,” Begley said.

Pull Quote

“Our main goal is to bring joy to underprivileged families and kids.”

Ryan Begley, co-chairman of the Sertoma Christmas Miracle project

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“To put a smile on their face feels good.”

Tristan Sitterding, on delivering toys for the Sertoma Christmas Miracle