Gift Lift organizers seek community support


Montgomery County cares. This is an obvious statement throughout the calendar year, yet becomes most profound during the holiday season. It is at this time that community members wrap their arms around those in need.

Never has this been a truer statement than when describing the Volunteers for Mental Health Christmas Gift Lift. Somehow, the annual rite serves more than 300 adults every Christmas season. The leaders, coordinators, and sometimes ringmasters, are the volunteers who populate VMHMC’s board, but they are supported and fueled by the kindness of community donations and volunteerism.

Again, this season, Montgomery County’s youth will shine in these volunteer efforts. Southmont FCCLA, coordinated by sponsor Jessica Barnhart, will roll up their sleeves on two occasions: to create toiletry kits, and then to stuff sacks with completed orders from wish lists. The Scouts of First Christian Church also will be providing valuable service to this program. Student members of the VMHMC board, Jessica Bradley and Evelyn Zachary, will lead these efforts.

Students seeking to serve others at North Montgomery will join the efforts by wrapping hundreds of gifts and helping deliver them to local agencies. Libby Allen, student council advisor, will coordinate her students and others at North Montgomery. Allen, who also serves as a VMHMC board member, will be supported by student board members Clauddia Smedley and Ryan Hopper.

Crawfordsville’s student board members, Hayden Jeffries and Kristen Thompson, will employ their leadership skills throughout the activities including children’s activities at Crawfordsville’s Downtown Party Night on Nov. 25.

Individuals in this county will help purchase frequently-requested gifts or donate monetary funds to purchase additional special requests.

Frequently-requested gifts include: sweat pants and sweat tops, hooded sweat shirts (with zippers or without), plain colored T-shirts, cardigans, socks, jeans and small fleece throws. Nice extras include: coloring books and colored pencils, large-print crossword puzzles, nailcare and polish, hairbrushes, combs, razers, cologne and jewelry.

Working within its budget as a United Way partner agency, VMHMC purchases large quantities of toiletry items and constructs a kit for each of the recipients.

Donation collection containers are found throughout the community at local banks, businesses and churches.

Though the containers and their contents will be pulled at the end of Thanksgiving week to be matriculated into the VMH inventory of goods, one may still donate by emailing dbw@vmhmc.org for pick-up. VMHMC actually accepts donations throughout the calendar year.

Tax-deductible monetary donations may be mailed to VMHMC, P.O. Box 491, Crawfordsville, IN 47933.

Those wishing to volunteer for Christmas Gift Lift events may do so through the Point app or by checking for VMHMC events on the Yodel community calendar.

Whether a donation takes the form of a bundle of clothing, a cash infusion or the gift of time, each gift is precious to VMHMC because it helps the group continue to help bring the spirit of Christmas to adults in our community who most need it each year.