Spark of Kindness

A toy bucket for Spark of Kindness is pictured at Anytime Fitness in North Vernon. Many businesses around Jennings County have boxes and buckets where you can drop off new or gently used toys (bucket) or money (box).

While some are prepping for Thanksgiving now that Halloween has come and gone, many more are already thinking farther ahead to Christmas, and that includes several local organizations that are striving to ensure every child in Jennings County has a present to open on December 25. But in order to so, they will need your help!

Jennings County Helping HandsSince 2020, Jessica O’Neill, some friends and the Jennings County Sheriff’s Office started a free Christmas giveaway in North Vernon for children of needy families. After collecting all they could in three weeks, the sheriff’s office delivered the gifts to local families. They ended up helping over 150 children last year, and this year, they are hoping to do the same, and already have 100 kids signed up.

Since last year, a board of directors has been formed and are working towards an official non-profit status, with the title “Jennings County Helping Hands.” They hope to expand and be able to help year round with the needs of the community.

If you are interested in contributing to the Helping Hands, they are taking monetary and gift donations from now through Wednesday, December 15; also any gift wrap, bags and tissue paper. Drop-off locations include Layman Hummel Insurance at 29 E. Poplar St. in North Vernon and Vernon Cemetery Office at 315 S. Pike St. in Vernon. For questions, contact jenningscountyhelpinghands@gmail.com

If you are interested in sponsoring a specific family/child, that is a possibility as well. Anything you are able to give will be going straight back into the community. The Helping Hands team greatly appreciates any contributions.

At the moment, dates of gift delivery are in the works. Also, in the coming weeks, they will be putting on the “Stuff a Cop Car” drive from last year. They will potentially have two locations for that donation as well.

Spark of KindnessSpark of Kindness is a pending non-profit organization based solely in Jennings County that is celebrating it’s eleventh toy giveaway this holiday season. The organization, directed by Dena Monday, gives toys to families in need in Jennings at Christmastime.

They are accepting new and gently used toys and monetary donations until December 1. Registration forms are also due by December 1.

Drop-off locations include:

Box Only Locations (money donation only)

North Vernon Church of the Nazarene

Don’s Tire and Auto

Designers Edge

Yard Barbours

Jennings County Schools

Bucket Only Locations (toy collection only)

Little Red Kitchen

Layman Hummel Insurance

Tailfeather Farm Market

Hoosier Home Furnishings

Irish Hill Liquors

Miller Tire

Perfect Day Cafe

Furniture and Things

Butlerville Grocery

Hair Zone

Rumors Salon

Crimson Oak

Lawson Realty

Sunoco Gas Station (North State St.)

Gas station across from JCHS

Gas station across from ETC Systems (South State St.)

Hall Heating

Total Look Beauty

Crystal Flash Gas Station

Big Head Pizza

Sister’s Floral and Gifts

Carquest Auto Parts-RIght Auto Parts

Dairy Queen

Wendy’s

AMVETS

AAM

O’Reilly Auto Parts

Iron Benders Fitness and Nutrition

The Shop with Darian and Gega

Box and Bucket Locations

Greg Hicks State Farm

Indiana Farm Bureau

Dollar General Buckeye St.

Anytime Fitness

St. Mary’s Church

NV ETC

Brewer’s Livestock

The toy giveaway will be on December 11 by appointment only at the North Vernon ETC building at 1200 E. O&M Avenue.

For any questions, contact sparkofkindnesstoys@gmail.com.

Toys for Tots Bartholomew and Jennings CountiesToys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas. The program was founded in 1947.

Contact coordinator Kelly Sullivan directly at outreach@toysfortots.org or call 812-350-7071 with your questions and visit http://north-vernon-in.toysfortots.org/ to donate monetarily or apply to receive toys.

Donation drop-off locations in Jennings County include:

8545 S, IN-3, Commiskey, IN 47227 / COMMISKEY CORNER STORE

422 S Madison Ave, North Vernon, IN 47265 / GRATEFUL GRUB

14 N State St, North Vernon, IN 47265 / CVS

9 N State St, North Vernon, IN 47265 / WALGREENS

216 N State St, North Vernon, IN 47265 / CENTERSTONE

130 N State St, North Vernon, IN 47265 / HEARNE VISION CARE

111 N State St, North Vernon, IN 47265 / JENNINGS COUNTY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

747 N State St, North Vernon, IN 47265 / THE EYE CARE GROUP

1 Curry Dr, North Vernon, IN 47265 / NORTH VERNON BEVERAGE CO.

2375 IN-3, North Vernon, IN 47265 / JENNINGS COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY

2110 IN-3, North Vernon, IN 47265 / ORSCHELN FARM AND HOME

3765 IN-3, North Vernon, IN 47265 / GT INDUSTRIES

2795 State Hwy 7, North Vernon, IN 47265 / GARLITCH

1 Steel Way, North Vernon IN 47265/ SET Enterprises

220 N State St, North Vernon IN/ German American

The application deadline is November 30 and the donation deadline is December 3. A one-time distribution of toys will be on December 11 at the Fair Oaks Mall in Columbus from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

North Vernon First Christian Church and Operation Christmas ChildIf you’re interested in taking your Christmas generosity one step further, more than 4000 locations will open to collect Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts for the Samaritan’s Purse project. Volunteers are preparing to collect shoebox gifts during National Collection Week, November 15 to 22, offering a curbside option.

Operation Christmas Child has been collecting and delivering shoebox gifts—filled with school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys — to children worldwide since 1993. This is a project that everyone can still be a part of, even with COVID-19 restrictions.

Individuals, families, and groups still have time to transform empty shoeboxes into fun gifts. The project partners with local churches across the globe to deliver these tangible expressions of God’s love to children in need.

Jennings County’s nearest location is in North Vernon at First Christian Church on 108 E. Walnut Street.

Hours of Operation:

Mon, Nov. 15: 9 a.m. — 12 p.m.

Mon, Nov. 15: 3 p.m. — 6 p.m.

Tue, Nov. 16: 9 a.m — 12 p.m.

Wed, Nov. 17: 3 p.m. — 6 p.m.

Thu, Nov. 18: 9 a.m. — 12 p.m.

Fri, Nov. 19: 9 a.m. — 12 p.m.

Sat, Nov. 20: 9 a.m. — 1 p.m.

Sun, Nov. 21: 12 p.m. — 4 p.m.

Mon, Nov. 22: 9 a.m. — 11 a.m.

Those interested in more information on how Operation Christmas Child is making adjustments during its National Collection Week can visit the organization’s Important COVID-19 Updates webpage for the latest information and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.