How to give to Hoosier children and families in need


The scary season is over and it’s time to prepare for the holidays.

Many Americans have already started their Christmas shopping – a survey by RetailMeNot, a digital coupon site that tracks shopping trends, found that a whopping 83% of respondents planned to start their Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving.

But after almost two years of pandemic-related economic and personal stressors, not every family has a head start or even has room in their budget to do a lot of shopping, if at all, this Christmas season.

Get ready:According to our experts, these are the 25 best gifts of 2021

Do you have a little something to give this year and would you like to spread some joy? Here are some ways you can help children and families in need.

Jewish Family Services Adopt-a-Family

What: The Jewish Family Service Adopt-A-Family program serves local Jewish households in need during the Hanukkah holiday. In 2020, the program served 67 families with the help of 787 parishioners.

As: There are several ways to get involved:

  • Go online to adopt a family and shop based on the wishlist provided. When giving gifts that have been donated, please enclose all gift receipts and place the gifts in a bag labeled with your family’s identification number.
  • Volunteer to help wrap gifts during the Community Day event on November 14th.
  • Buy gift cards and return them to Jewish Family Services.
  • Make a financial contribution.

Those interested in shopping can do this individually or in a team. It is recommended that donors spend at least $ 100 per person per family.

When: Submit items at your convenience to Jewish Family Services (6905 Hoover Rd.) Or Agency Community Day at 1:00 p.m., November 14th.

Take part: To adopt a family or do volunteer work, visit

Marsha Rauscher (left), Judy Weitzman and Karen Stern wrap gifts that they bought on Sunday, December 8, 2019, in the Jewish Community Center for the less disadvantaged.  The event, sponsored by Jewish Family Services, helped more than 60 local families receive Christmas gifts through donated items purchased by sponsors as part of the Adopt-a-Family program.

The Julian Center

What: The Julian Center cares for 6,000 Hoosiers each year who are affected by domestic violence, sexual assault and other life-threatening crises. All families who signed up for their annual Adopt-A-Family program have already been given away, but those who want to help can buy gift cards for any families arriving between now and the holidays.

As: Visit the Julian Center website and log in to donate a gift certificate of any amount from the following stores or gas stations:

  • Walmart
  • target
  • Meijer
  • Kohls
  • Kroger
  • Expressway
  • Circle K

When: Gifts can be given on December 9, 10, 11 and 16 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm in the Empowerment Center Building of the Julian Center on N. Meridian St. 2011.

Take part: visit to sign up, donate a gift certificate, or for more information.

Children’s voice from Indiana

What: Kids’ Voice provides court-appointed legal services to Marion County youth affected by the justice system or the family welfare system. This year, the agency’s staff and volunteers will combine gifts and Christmas donations to create the Holiday Gift Shop. They are given gifts to families and children in need.

As: Send gifts or gift cards (in increments of $ 20) to the Kids’ Voice office at 127 E. Michigan St., Suite 500. Gifts can be purchased and funded through the Amazon Wishlist ( at

When: Gifts and donations should be received by Kids’ Voice by December 1st.

Take part: Questions and requests from volunteers in the gift shop can be sent to

The Angel Tree of the Salvation Army

What: Every year the Salvation Army connects donors with “angels” or children in need to ensure they receive personalized gifts for the holidays. Buyers should expect to spend between $ 75 and $ 100 on gifts and include 2-3 hosiery for each child.

As: Visit and click “Apply Now” and follow the instructions until you receive confirmation. You can choose a child’s gender or age (if you have a preference) and learn more about them, including needed items like shoes and clothing and something they’d like, like educational toys or a scooter.

When: Gifts must be returned to one of the following drop-off points by December 4th.

  • Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Eagle Creek Corps Community Center, 4400 N. High School Rd. Or the Fountain Square Corps Community Center, 1337 Shelby St.
  • Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at Salvation Army Indiana 6060 Castleway West Division Headquarters Dr.

Take part: To learn more, adopt an angel, or make a financial contribution, visit

The Villages of Indiana

What: The Villages of Indiana is one of the state’s largest private, nonprofit care and adoption services. There are several ways to get involved, including sponsoring a child or several children, sponsoring a foster family, a new toy campaign, or sponsoring an older teenager who is aging from a foster family.

As: The most popular way to get involved is by shopping from one of The Villages’ 12 Amazon wish lists based on age or gender. There is also a wish list for older teens receiving services. If donors would like to receive a tax confirmation, they should include their name and address on the gift message or send an order confirmation to

When: The deadline for sending gifts and donations is December 10th. Gifts can be given or sent to The Villages, 3833 N. Meridian St. Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. or on Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Take part: You can find The Villages’ Amazon wish lists here To sign up to adopt a child or family, visit

Christmas baskets for Westminster Neighborhood Services

What: Westminster Neighborhood Services works to improve the quality of life for residents in the Middle East of the city. Last year, 758 children received toys as part of the Christmas Basket program.

As: There are several ways you can help:

  • Sponsor a child or family’s stockings by buying gifts, hats, socks, and underwear for each child. The average cost of a full stocking is $ 45, and gifts shouldn’t cost more than $ 25.
  • Buy items for shopping bags (300 required each, nothing in large quantities: peanut butter, instant potatoes, sauce, fruit cocktail, canned vegetables, syrup, pancake mix, canned sweet potatoes) and hygiene sets (900 disposable razors, 300 each, detergent and dish soap, 700 deodorant) .
  • Help organize or distribute baskets.

When: The stockings can be picked up until November 1st. Stockings and groceries and toiletries should be returned to Westminster by Friday 3rd December. The baskets will be distributed on December 11th.

Take part: To register to adopt a children’s stocking, visit Those interested can contact Jennifer Harlow at or 317-245-6282.

Carrie Burch collects items, including wrapped gifts, at Westminster Neighborhood Services, Friday December 9, 2016. Volunteers and staff prepare for the party on Saturday December 10, where donations will be distributed to local families.  Two bags of groceries, a turkey, and a bag of personal hygiene items are among the items that are distributed to the families.  Children also receive hats, gloves, socks and underwear, as well as gifts.  You can also choose a present at the Christmas party.

HVAF from Indiana

What: Helping Veterans and Families works to provide stable housing and resources to veterans and their families with the goal of eradicating veterans’ homelessness.

As: Adopt a veteran or a veteran and their family and shop from their wish list.

When: Gifts must be received by December 17th at the HVAF office, 964 N. Pennsylvania St.

Take part: To adopt a veteran or family, email Andrea Carlile, Community Engagement Coordinator, at To learn more about HVAF, visit

You can reach IndyStar reporter Holly Hays at Follow her on Twitter: @hollyvhays.


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