The annual Christmas Basket Fund has begun accepting donations of money and requests for assistance.
The fund was started in 1945 by veterans returning home to Seymour and Jackson County from World War II to provide food for area families at Christmas. Originally, the fund served those in need in Seymour but later was expanded to include all of Jackson County.
Now in its 71st year, the project is sponsored by American Legion Post 89 in Seymour in partnership with Jay C Food Stores, Jackson County Bank and The Tribune.
The 2015 Christmas Basket Fund raised $12,004, which was enough money to provide 300 gift cards to needy people in the county. In 2011, a record $20,130 was donated.
This year’s fund recently received its first donation of $250 from Jackson Lodge 146 Free and Accepted Masons in Seymour. In recent years, the lodge generally has been the first donor.
The fund already has received more than 30 requests for assistance. Most requests come from people who have lost their jobs or elderly residents who rely on Social Security income.
“We had some come in early requesting assistance for Thanksgiving,” said Carl VonDielingen, chairman of the Christmas Basket Fund. Jack Schrader is serving as treasurer.
This year’s goal is to raise enough money for more than 300 gift cards. The $50 gift cards can be used to purchase food at Jay C Food Stores.
All donations may be mailed to or dropped off at American Legion Post 89, The Tribune or any branch of Jackson County Bank.
Businesses, corporations, service groups, churches, individuals or families may donate, VonDielingen said. Donors may contribute anonymously if they choose and may dedicate their donations to others. Donors and their dedications are published daily in The Tribune.
In order to receive one of the gift cards, people must live in Jackson County and must submit a letter stating their need for assistance. Requests should be mailed to American Legion Basket Fund, P.O. Box 566, Seymour, IN 47274. All requests must be received by Dec. 15.
There is a limit of one gift card per person and one per address, VonDielingen said.
Requests that list a post office box address will not be accepted.
Donations from individuals and businesses may be given to the Christmas Basket Fund through Jackson County Bank, The Tribune or American Legion Post 89.
Individuals may write a letter requesting assistance to American Legion Post 89 at P.O. Box 566, Seymour, IN 47274.