A local nonprofit organization that has been delivering Christmas miracles to underprivileged children for more than 40 years has begun preparing for this year’s event.

The annual Sertoma Christmas Miracle, however, cannot fulfill the children’s wishes without the help of donors.

“This program only exists because of the extraordinary charity of the people of this county,” said Ryan Begley, event co-chairman and president of the Jackson County Sertoma Club.

“We are not associated with any national or international toy drive,” he said. “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

Click here to purchase photos from this gallery

Last year, more than 300 families were served through the Christmas Miracle program.

“Each child received a gift worth approximately $35,” co-chairman John Fox said. “Last year, there were around 726 children who participated, which is down some from past years.”

Applications for the 2016 Sertoma Christmas Miracle are now available in Seymour at the Jackson County Health Department, WIC office, Seymour City Hall, Jackson County Department of Child Services and Human Services Inc. They also are available at all branches of the Jackson County Public Library and all participating agencies of the 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. Applications must be received by Dec. 17.

The Christmas Miracle Headquarters will be located in Suite 311 in the Shoppes at Seymour on Tanger Boulevard in Seymour, beginning Dec. 1. Hours of operation will be 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 812-498-2275, but that number will not be in operation until Dec. 1. All donations made will go exclusively to children in Jackson County.

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

“Only children who are 12 years of age and under may apply,” Fox said. “They must also reside in Jackson County and be home throughout the day on Christmas Eve in order to receive delivery of the gifts.”

Sertoma Christmas Miracle is a very enjoyable charity to be a part of, Fox said. Giving a gift to a child through this program can bring joy to the heart of both the donor and the child, and it might be the only present the boy or girl receives for Christmas, he said.

This year’s Sertoma Angel Trees will be located at the Seymour branch of the Jackson County Public Librar and Shoe Sensation in the Jackson Park Shopping Center, NStylz Hair Design and the Jackson County Visitor Center, all in Seymour, starting Dec. 1.

Angels will be available for choosing, beginning Dec. 1, with a child’s first name, sex, age and toy choice printed on each one. Everyone is encouraged to pick up an angel, purchase the gift listed on the angel and deliver the unwrapped gift to the headquarters.

There also will be a drop-off box at Exist Salon and Spa in Seymour.

Sertoma is an acronym for SERvice TO MAnkind. For more than 100 years, volunteers known as Sertomans have served communities across the United States.