Volunteers deliver toys and bikes to more than 800 kids in Jackson County


Santa had a full schedule Tuesday night delivering presents to children around the world, but in the early morning hours on Christmas Eve he made a special stop in Seymour.

Decked out in his familiar red suit and hat, Santa wanted to get a look at some of his helpers in action.

He had heard about the Sertoma Club of Jackson County’s 47th annual Christmas Miracle project and had to see it for himself.

Although it was still dark outside, a group of men, women and children already were hard at work carrying boxes of wrapped toys and wheeling bicycles out to load into their cars and trucks.

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From the Christmas Miracle headquarters at Shops of Seymour, they would travel to all corners of Jackson County, delivering the presents to children whose families are struggling financially.

Sertoma member John Fox, who serves as chairman of the Christmas Miracle project, said despite the ups and downs of the economy, the need continues to grow.

This year, 332 families with a total of 873 kids were signed up to receive gifts. Last year, 298 families with 784 children were helped.

“That’s an 11% increase in the number of kids served and a 9% increase in families,” he said. “We seem to grow every year.”

To help that many kids, Fox said it takes an army. But every year, it happens. From those who choose angels from the angel trees to buy for to the ones who donate toys, bikes and money to the many people who show up to wrap and of course deliver the gifts.

Each child receives two or three gifts along with a new blanket and other little items such as socks, hats and gloves and smaller toys.

“I sit here and am just amazed,” Fox said Tuesday morning while checking volunteers in and directing them on what to do. “Some get here as early as 6 a.m. to get started.”

One of the first groups to arrive every year is the Jackson County Sheriff’s Posse, who delivers to some of the outlying homes in Crothersville and Medora.

By 8 a.m., all of the boxes and bikes at the Christmas Miracle headquarters are gone and on their way to their new homes.

When it’s all said and done, there are between 400 and 500 people who are involved in some way, Fox said.

Todd Brumfield, Chad Smith and Aaron Otte of the Pershing Township Volunteer Fire Department showed up to load one of their emergency vehicles up with gifts to deliver in the Freetown area.

“This is probably the fourth or fifth year we’ve helped out,” Otte said. “Normally, if we’re at somebody’s house, it’s to put out a fire or something bad, but delivering presents is a way for us to make people smile.”

There were plenty of smiles and laughs as the volunteers worked, knowing they would soon be able to bring happiness and joy to many kids, who may not have Christmas presents to open otherwise.

It was a sight to behold, Santa said, and one he won’t soon forget.

“This is just fantastic,” he said. “I’ll definitely be coming back next year.”

Having helped wrap presents in the past for Christmas Miracle, Jamey Doriot of Seymour said this year, she wanted her young daughters to experience what it feels like to give and help others, so they showed up to deliver.

“They liked wrapping the gifts, and I thought they were old enough to do more,” she said. “We are all really happy to be doing this.”

Both Sophia Doriot, 7, and Emma Doriot, 9, may still have been a little sleepy from getting up so early, but they couldn’t hide their excitement.

“I think it will be fun to help Santa and give presents to kids,” Sophia said.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”By the numbers” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

332 number of families in Jackson County served by Sertoma Club’s annual Christmas Miracle

873 number of children receiving gifts

11% increase in the number of children receiving gifts

9% increase in the number of families registered to receive gifts

400 to 500 volunteers to help buy, wrap and deliver presents throughout the county

2 1/2 number of weeks volunteers spend wrapping presents before delivering on Christmas Eve


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