Tribune staff reports

A local organization that has been making miracles happen for needy children at Christmas for more than four decades has begun gearing up for this year’s event.

The annual Sertoma Christmas Miracle, however, doesn’t work without one thing.

“This program only exists because of the extraordinary charity of the people of this county,” co-chairman Ryan Begley said. “We are not associated with any national or international toy drive. Anyone who donates gifts or money to Sertoma Christmas Miracle can rest assured knowing that their contribution is used only for the children of Jackson County.”

Story continues below gallery

A year ago, 726 children were served through the program. Each child received two presents and a blanket.

“The numbers have been going down gradually,” co-chairman John Fox said.

Fox said the number of children served in 2009 and 2010 was more than 900, but it appears the economy has been improving enough that some no longer need the help.

“But there’s still a big need,” he said.

Applications for the program are now available in Seymour at the Jackson County Health Department, WIC office, city hall, Jackson County Department of Child Services, Human Services Inc. office, the Jackson County Public Library in Seymour and branches in Medora and Crothersville and all participating agencies of Jackson County United Way.

Applications also are available at the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department in Brownstown during regular business hours and at Bundy Brothers in Medora. All applications must be received by Dec. 19.

Christmas Miracle Headquarters will be located at Suite 311 in the Shops at Seymour on Tanger Boulevard, beginning Dec. 1. It will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 6:30 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

Applications for toys and monetary donations may be sent to Sertoma at P.O. Box 841, Seymour, IN 47274. Applications and donations also may be dropped off at the headquarters, starting Dec. 1.

The headquarters’ phone number is 812-498-4581, but that telephone will not be operational until Dec. 1.

Sertoma is participating in the Charity Tracker network to avoid any duplication of services. All applications must be signed by the parent or legal guardian.

Applications are accepted for children 12 years of age and under, and they must live in Jackson County and be home for the delivery of the gifts throughout the day on Christmas Eve.

This year’s Sertoma Angel Trees will be located at the Seymour Library, Tractor Supply Co., N Stylz Hair Design and the Jackson County Visitor Center, starting Dec. 1.

There will be drop-off boxes at Orscheln Farm and Home and Exist Salon and Spa.

Starting Dec. 1, an angel with a child’s first name, sex, age and toy choice will be printed on each angel. Anyone willing to help may pick up an angel, purchase the gift listed on the angel and deliver it unwrapped to the headquarters.

“Since we have a new Christmas Miracle Headquarters location this year, we want to make sure everyone knows to take all Angel Tree gifts to the Christmas Miracle Headquarters, starting Dec. 1,” said Begley, who also is president of the club.

Sertoma is a nonprofit service organization that stands for SERvice TO MAnkind.