GET INTO THE MIND: Churches and Other Organizations Offer Opportunities to Give Back This Holiday Season – The Daily Reporter


HANCOCK COUNTY – Some people feel the “Christmas spirit” most when serving others. Others are looking for ways to make their holiday season a little more meaningful by giving themselves up. Here are some ideas for doing this.

Play elf (or reindeer, or Santa Claus) for an afternoon. Renewal Neighborhood Ministries brings together new toys and games for children from early childhood through high school. They stock Renewal’s annual Christmas store, where parents in the neighborhood surrounding Renewal can purchase Christmas gifts for their children at a great price. Drop off the items at Outlook Christian Church in McCordsville by December 12. Information: 317-335-6815, or visit and select “About the Christmas Shop” for more information on volunteer roles and needed items.

To lend one hand around the house. “We will have household projects that our neighbors will need help with throughout the year, including Christmas,” writes Debra Weber, executive director of Love INC. on the ministry of our neighbors thanks to their skills. Sometimes we have yard cleanup projects, and when it snows, we get calls for snow removal.

Sort and package food. Volunteers provide weekly pantry hours at FARM (Fortville Area Resource Mission), most working two to three hours between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Need an evening shift? FARM has evening pantry hours on the third Thursday of the month. Learn more by calling 317-203-9606 or emailing

Pack clothes. Lambswear Inc. is a children’s clothing ministry that was started in 2012 by two women from Outlook Christian Church in McCordsville. It programs volunteers at its facilities at 5841 Thunderbird Road, Suite D, Indianapolis. Learn more at

Eat pizza. Are you struggling to fit the service into your schedule? You have to eat anyway; do it at Mozzi’s Pizza on December 8 and benefit Journey Bags of Hancock County, which provides clothing and personal care items to foster children or families in financial crisis. Print the flyer posted on the group’s Facebook page on November 2 and present it to your server so that 20% of your purchase price goes to Journey Bags.

Set up tables or sort out toys. God’s Open Arms hosts the annual Day of Love and Caring, when families in need find a stash of gifts and clothing for their children for Christmas Eve, as well as a festive meal. Can you sort the toys? Bagged meal? Welcoming guests? Load a trailer? Find the available tasks at

Ring a bell for the Hancock County Salvation Army. “These red kettles would remain empty containers without an army of volunteers,” Advisory Board Chair Jill Null wrote in an email. “Some volunteers wear costumes, some sing and dance, some fill their kettles promising to stop singing. Families with children may enjoy serving together, and the little ones are always big fundraisers. Visit to sign up for a two hour kettle shift at Kroger or Walmart in Greenfield or Needler’s Fresh Market in New Palestine.

Volunteer with friends. Tom Ferguson, executive director of Hancock County Food Pantry, is happy that small group Bible studies at a local church have decided to volunteer together in the pantry for a week during the holidays. Others can schedule time slots to help online at or by calling Liz Rusche at 317-446-6227.

Share daffodil bulbs. If you’re dividing the bulbs before colder weather arrives, or if you’re ready to buy a bag from a home improvement center, Hope Center Indy collects daffodil bulbs. They will be planted by early December to produce flowers in the spring of 2022 on the campus in central western New Palestine, where the ministry serves women who have escaped human trafficking. Learn more about ways to help at

Offer a cup (um, a bottle) of cold water. The Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen in Greenfield could use more bottled water for their take-out. People can drop off crates during delivery hours at the door of the soup kitchen office (aisle door) or at the back door: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.


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