Mental Health America of Jackson County recently provided a Christmas dinner and gifts to local residents with mental illness and/or developmental disabilities and their caregivers.

Nearly 100 people attended the annual Christmas Gift Lift on Dec. 10 at Central Christian Church in Seymour.

Bob Dembek, director of Mental Health America of Jackson County, said the event provides an opportunity for the community to help make Christmas brighter for residents of local group homes and those who live with their parents or other family members.

The event is one of several social gatherings the organization sponsors throughout the year, Dembek said. “It’s important for them to be able to spent time with friends and have fun, just like it is for everyone,” he said.

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Each person whose name was submitted beforehand was given a bag of gifts that included items they wanted and needed. There were also lots of door prizes given away.

The gifts are purchased through donations from Cummins Seymour Engine Plant, Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals and Dicksons along with area churches and civic groups.

“They don’t get a lot for Christmas, so we get what we can with our budget,” Dembek said. “It’s usually things they can use like gloves, socks or a blanket and then things they asked for like toys or maybe a movie or game.”

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