Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Kiwanis and Sertoma member, Steve Burt, told Kiwanis about Santa's Helpers. In 1948 representatives of service clubs and patriotic civic organizations, met for the purpose of doing something for the needy families of the community. It was decided that they would put on a drive for used clothing, food and money to buy more food to help the needy families at Christmas time.
The help of sororities was requested. They set up a work shop in the basement of the old Columbia Hotel on East Main Street, where the ladies mended and cleaned the clothing collected. Dr. Charles E. Sharp was selected as food chairman and collected food and money to make food baskets for the needy.
The project grew and in 1950 a better organization was formed with a President, a Secretary-Treasurer and a Board of Five Directors. This method of operation proved very successful and the lists were compiled and turned over to the Greenfield Police Department and Sheriff, to investigate the needs of the families. After the families had been approved for help the information was given to volunteer workers, the children were taken out of school and their needs shopped for by more volunteers.
Various agencies have stepped in to fill some of the voids over the years such as the Red Cross and the United Christmas Service, which is a United Way program. UCS is the present clearinghouse. Caseworkers from United Way’s partner organizations refer to UCS qualified families from their affiliated agencies. UCS verifies these referrals to help prevent duplication of services, allowing the maximum number of people to be served.
Sertoma now coordinates the Santa’s Helpers, providing assistance to children who would not otherwise receive any Christmas. Sertoma works with Toys for Tots. Toys for Tots distribute toys and Santa’s Helpers shop for clothing with the children and their families. This year 142 children from 60 families were helped with each child allotted $70.
Santa’s Helpers is funded by Sertoma, other community organizations including Kiwanis, and individual donors. Contributions can be sent Santa’s Helpers, PO Box 43, Greenfield, Indiana 46140.
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