With the holiday spirit in full swing, it's important that families of all socioeconomic backgrounds get to enjoy it.
There are a number of local organizations that seek to brighten the season for struggling families by providing much-needed services and gifts.
“This is important to show that they are valued; that they are worthy of. A lot of people in privileged communities get to experience holiday joys, but when you’re at a disadvantage, you don’t. We offer that for them,” said Dee Ross, founder and CEO of The Ross Foundation.
They are hosting their ninth annual toy giveaway Saturday, Dec. 16 at the Boys & Girls Club, 3870 N. Post Road, from 1:00-4:00 p.m.
They are preparing to give away over 1,500 toys on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Beyond that, we don’t want to see them come back next year, so they leave with more than what they came with because we give them an intake form for services to help them beyond the holidays,” Ross said.
Their intake form lists options for food, employment, housing, tutoring and mental health services.
Ross said he takes pride in his community, and it is the community that runs the event with partners, making sure they create impact.
IMPD Southeast District is also providing holiday services during its breakfast with Santa event Saturday, Dec. 9, 9-11 a.m. at 1150 Shelby St.
This is a free family-friendly event where children will get a to-go breakfast, photo with Santa Claus and one free toy.
“Beyond the joy of free toys, breakfast and photo with Santa, it strengthens the bond between law enforcement and the community, promoting trust, understanding and a sense of a shared celebration. This all contributes to building a safer and more connected community,” said the department in a statement to the Indianapolis Recorder.
Other organizations providing holiday assistance include:
Roaring Fire Ministries
The organization is giving away free children’s snow boots Sunday, Dec. 10, 11 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at 3737 N. Oxford St.
Children must be present at the time of the giveaway and boots are available while supplies last. There will also be a limited supply of free women and toddler coats for mothers and their children.
Rev. Richard Hunter Ministries
The group is hosting their 29th annual Christmas Help Program at Martin University Friday, Dec. 8 from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Individuals and families should call (317) 347-1690 from Nov. 24-Dec. 6 to request a box for pickup. Leave a voicemail with your name, phone number and family size. Boxes will include one week’s worth of groceries.
Kingdom Apostolic Ministries
Individuals and families have until Monday, Dec. 11 to submit a letter to KAM for their Christmas assistant application. The letter must include name, address, email, phone number and, if applicable, each child’s name, age, shoe size, clothing size, diaper size and any toys they would like.
The letter can be dropped off or mailed to the Greater Apostolic Faith Temple at 4900 E. 38th St. For more information, call (317) 549-1200.
Mothers Against Violence Healing Ministry
This organization is helping families who have been affected by crime and violence. They are offering free Christmas gifts for children under the age of 15. They are also planning to hand out clothes, games, tablets, dolls, stuffed animals and more on Dec. 12. The distribution is at 4039 Graceland St.
Registered parents can arrive at their distribution center, where a volunteer personal shopper will escort them through the Angel Tree Toy Shop. Parents will be able to select items from the donated gifts for their children at no cost, take them home and wrap them for Christmas.
For more information on registration and dates and times of distributions, call (317) 236-1255.
Catholic Charities Indianapolis
A Christmas Store is located inside the Xavier Building, 1435 N. Illinois St. Individuals and families can call (317) 236-1512.
Children and teens who are approved/registered can “shop” for free Christmas gifts.
Registered individuals and families can also receive tablets, clothes, video games or consoles, Legos, Christmas tree decorations and more.
Additionally, there are free holiday programs for immigrants, single mothers or those fleeing violence in Indianapolis, the elderly and others.
CME Church of Phillips Temple
The organization is offering assistance with toys and food for families in need, ensuring that everyone can have a joyful holiday season. Distribution will be at 210 E. 34th St. Call for more information at (317) 925-2000.