It’s that time of year again.
Surveys by RetailMeNot, an online coupon website that tracks shopping trends, show that consumers have started their holiday shopping earlier than usual this year and are operating on smaller budgets. About half of those surveyed said they will be buying less this year due to rising inflation.
There’s no getting around it: times are tough. And this holiday season is going to be tougher for some households than others.
Get into the spirit:Polar Express and other Indiana vacation train rides for the whole family
If you’re able to buy a few extra things this holiday season, here are some ways you can shop for Hoosier families in need.
Jewish Family Services Adopt-a-Family
What: The Jewish Family Services Adopt-A-Family program serves needy local Jewish households during Hanukkah. In 2021, the program ministered to 77 families with the help of 819 parishioners. There are several ways to get involved:
- Go online to adopt a family and shop based on the wish list provided. When giving donated gifts, please include all gift receipts and place the gifts in a bag marked with your family’s identification number.
- Volunteer to wrap gifts during the Community Day event on December 4th at JCC Indianapolis’ Laikin Auditorium (6701 Hoover Road).
- Purchase gift cards and drop them off at 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: Return items to Jewish Family Services (6905 Hoover Road) before December 9 or to the JCC on the agency’s Community Day, 1-3pm, December 4.
Join us: To adopt a family or volunteer, visit jewishindianapolis.org/adoptafamily. If you are in need this holiday season, contact Julie Sondhelm at 317-536-1476 or [email protected]
What: Coburn Place provides housing for survivors of domestic violence and their children. One way to help is by holding a fundraiser in your community—groups of friends, co-workers, family—for themed items like toiletries or household items, or for gifts. You can also shop through the agency’s Amazon Wishlist: amzn.to/3h9x1es. For a list of generally accepted articles, see coburnplace.org/donate.
When: Christmas gifts must be delivered or dropped off by December 16th and general donations should be received by December 20th.
Join us: Online donations can be sent to the agency, Coburn Place, ATTN: Drew LaCroix, 604 E. 38th St., Indianapolis, IN 46205.
Email [email protected] to schedule a drop and learn more about current, urgent needs. For security reasons, you must schedule a time to drop off donations.
Child voice from Indiana
What: Kids’ Voice provides court-appointed advocacy services for Marion County youth affected by the justice system or family welfare systems. This year, agency staff and volunteers will combine gifts and Christmas donations to create the Holiday Gift Shop. Gifts are then distributed to needy families and children.
Gift cards can be mailed to the Kids’ Voice office at 615 N. Alabama St., Suite 200 in $20 increments, or gifts can be purchased from the Amazon wish list: amzn.to/3FGVp1j.
When: Gifts and donations should be received by the agency by December 6th.
Join us: To donate, visit kidsvoicein.org/donations. To volunteer or for more information, email [email protected]
The Angel Tree of the Salvation Army
What: Each year, The Salvation Army connects donors with “angels” or children in need to ensure they receive personalized gifts for the holiday. These children can be adopted before December 4th by visiting bit.ly/3NuTAX7, clicking “Adopt Now” and following the instructions. You can select a child’s gender or age (if you have a preference) and learn more about them, including items they need like shoes and clothes and a gift they want. Buyers should expect to spend at least $100 on gifts, including two or three stocking fillers.
When: Gifts should be delivered to one of the following locations by December 6th:
- Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Eagle Creek Corps Community Center, 4400 N. High School Road, or at the Fountain Square Corps Community Center, 1337 Shelby St.
- Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at The Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters, Indiana, 6060 Castleway West Drive.
Join us: To learn more about the program or to adopt an angel, please visit bit.ly/3NuTAX7.
What: La Plaza, which supports Latin American youth and families, helps families in need during the holidays by connecting them with individual or group sponsors. They work with families to create wish lists of the names, ages, and gift preferences of children and adults in each family. Sponsors are welcome to do the shopping and wrapping and can drop off gifts at La Plaza (8902 E. 38th St.) or coordinate to drop toys off directly with family. Alternatively, sponsors can make a financial contribution and La Plaza will shop for and wrap gifts. A family of four can be sponsored for around $500.
When: Sponsors will be matched to families in mid-November.
Join us: To learn more or to adopt a family, contact Cesar Jones at [email protected] or visit laplazaindy.org/donate.
The Villages of Indiana
What: The Villages is one of the state’s largest non-profit child care organizations with offices across the state. There are several ways you can help families and children this year:
- Shop through the agency’s Amazon Wishlists or host a Christmas gift drive for kids, from babies to teens: amzn.to/3WvYvek.
- Sponsor a foster family that includes children cared for by family members such as grandparents, aunts, uncles or siblings by providing gifts for the whole family. Suggested spending is about $100 per family.
- Sponsor older teens coming out of foster care by purchasing gifts such as gift cards (recommended retailers include Walmart, Target, Old Navy, Kohls, Amazon, or Starbucks), perfume and cologne, electronics, fleece blankets, and/or household items. You can view the agency’s older youth wish list and ship gifts directly to offices across the state: amzn.to/3zIVxJH.
When: New, unwrapped gifts must be picked up or delivered by December 9th at the agency’s Indianapolis headquarters, 3833 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208.
Join us: To learn more about how to donate to a foster family or sign up for a sponsorship, visit villageskids.org/spiritofgiving22.
Westminster Neighborhood Services Christmas baskets
What: Westminster Neighborhood Services provides assistance to a small but very needy area in the east of the city, where over 40% of residents live below the poverty line and over 20% live on less than $10,000 a year. Here are a few ways you can help the families you serve:
- You can buy gifts for the Christmas baskets. Each gift request includes a child’s name, age, gender, pant and shoe size, and a toy or gift they’re hoping for this year. The agency asks that donors purchase a winter hat, gloves, socks, and underwear in addition to gift requests. Please keep gifts to $25 or less.
- Volunteers are needed to help assemble the baskets from December 5th to 10th.
When: Gifts must be delivered to the agency at 2325 E. New York St. by December 2nd.
Join us: To sign up to shop for a child, visit westmin.org/westminster-christmas-help. To volunteer, visit westmin.org/volunteer-sign-up.
HVAF of Indiana
What: Helping Veterans and Families works to provide stability and resources to those they serve with the goal of eliminating veteran homelessness. HVAF will coordinate with interested donors to match them with families based on size and wish list. Buyers should expect to spend around $100 per family member.
When: Gifts must be delivered to HVAF Headquarters at 964 N. Pennsylvania St. by December 16th.
Join us: Those interested in adopting a family should contact Andrea Carlile, Community Engagement Coordinator, at [email protected] or 765-425-3366.
What: Volunteers and staff from the agency, which serves Hoosier children and adults with cognitive and intellectual disabilities and their families, meet at southwest Meijer (10509 Heartland Boulevard) to select gifts for the 200 children who call Damar home and pack up The gifts will be purchased with donation funds and distributed to children cared for by the agency during the holiday season. Volunteers are encouraged to wear their most festive attire for the occasion.
When: 6th to 7th December, with volunteer openings both days from 3pm to 4.30pm and 4pm to 5.30pm
Join us: To register as a volunteer, please visit bit.ly/3NAe3tK.
The Damien Center
What: The oldest and largest HIV/AIDS charity in the state has a few ways you can help clients and their families:
- The Damien Center will put together food boxes for families and individuals in need. You can buy a whole box for $30 or buy a few items from this Amazon wishlist: amzn.to/3h6hc8d.
- Shop for an individual or family from a provided wish list. Gifts may be returned wrapped or unwrapped at the Damien Center office at 26 N. Arsenal Ave.
When: Customers will receive their grocery boxes and gifts on December 15th.
Join us: If you are interested in sponsoring a client or family, contact Annie Nelson, Client and Family Enrichment Manager at [email protected]