It’s the giving time of year. Thankfully, Owensboro is full of generous people and we have many organizations that are devoted to enhancing the lives of others. Whether you are continuing or starting a family tradition of sponsoring a child or donating a gift for a deserving child this Christmas, here are some suggestions for local agencies to partner with:
Around the World – Operation Christmas Child
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to over 124 million children affected by war, poverty, natural disasters, and other crises in more than 150 countries around the world. Owensboro Christian Church serves as a regional collection center for Operation Christmas Child. Children’s Minister, Emily Leach, says Owensboro Christian expects to fill two semis full of boxes this year, which will then head to North Carolina for global distribution.
To participate, choose a gender and age group (2-4, 5-9 or 10-14) and fill a standard adult shoe box (or similar sized box) with toys, toiletries, school supplies or other gifts items. Some suggestions are: deflated soccer ball & pump, stuffed animals, dolls, shoes, jump rope, hair clips or bows, small flashlight & batteries, and a note with a photo of your family.
Please include $7 for shipping and drop your box off at Owensboro Christian Church the week of November 16-23rd. You can track your box online and monitor its arrival with a label option available at samaritanspurse.org.
In Our Region – Toys for Tots
The US Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program is conducted annually in over 700 communities in all 50 states. Daviess County Toys for Tots Coordinator Lou Dawdy has been involved since 2005, and overseas the area including Daviess, Hancock, Ohio, Muhlenburg, Henderson, Webster, Union, and McLean Counties, as well as Tell City and Rockport, Indiana.
“I always tell people we are not ‘toys for storage,’ we are Toys for Tots. No matter how many or few toys are donated, or how much or little money is donated, we give it all away!” Dawdy said.
Marine volunteers collect the toys, store them, sort them by age and gender, and then fill requests from Salvation Army, school Family Resource Centers, or other organizations who request toys for selected children.
Toys will be collected at numerous drop off locations between late October and December 15, when the toys will be delivered to agencies for distribution. Drop off boxes are located in Owensboro at: American Legion, AmVets, BB&T Banks, Big Lots, Clayton Homes, Cash Express, Citi Financial, Coldwell Bankers, Contour Express, CVS, Davis Chiropractic, Daymar, Deals, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Independence Banks, Kroger, Maximillian Montessori, OSMO, Rural King, Sam’s Club, Swedish Match, Time Warner, US Banks, VFW, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens.
In Our City – Goodfellows Club
For 100 years, Goodfellows Club of Owensboro has been providing Christmas joy to less fortunate children in Daviess County. The organization works closely with Family Resource / Youth Service Centers at area schools to identify children with the greatest needs, serving approximately 2,000 every year.
With an operating budget of approximately $172,200, the organization receives most donations during the holiday season through Roll Call, the daily fundraising campaign through the Messenger-Inquirer. “Roll Call is taken from Thanksgiving Day until Christmas Day, but we’ll take donations any time,” says Director Tracy McQueen. Donations can be made in person at the Messenger Inquirer or online at goodfellowsclubofowensboro.org.
The largest fundraiser is the annual Soup Day, which will be held on Tuesday, November 2, at Settle Memorial’s ROC building.
In A Specific School – Family Resource / Youth Service Centers
“We have an alarmingly high amount of children that need our help right here at home in Owensboro,” says Owensboro Public Schools Information Officer Dave Kirk.
Both Daviess County Public Schools and Owensboro Public Schools have Family Resource / Youth Service Centers who help students at Christmas; the thing to remember is the FRYSCs are looking for donors in November, not on Christmas break when it is too late to help. DCPS Information Officer Lora Wimsatt says “it really helps our FRYSCs to have an idea of donations and commitments of support well in advance so they can identify needs that remain to be filled.”
Kirk agrees. “If you want to be a sponsor, the best way to help is to call the school you want to help out now and ask how you can help.”