One week remains to apply for Sertoma Christmas Miracle


One week remains to apply for Sertoma Christmas Miracle.

Co-chairman John Fox encourages people to submit applications as soon as possible if they want to ensure their children ages 12 and under receive gifts on Christmas Eve morning.

“It’s specifically directed to kids that would have less of a Christmas or no Christmas so that they can have a nice Christmas,” said Fox, a member of the not-for-profit service organization Jackson County Sertoma Club that organizes the annual effort. “The thing for them to keep in mind is especially with the delay in mail, the earlier they get the applications in, the better selection they may have.”

The deadline to apply is Dec. 18. The program is for Jackson County residents only.

Fox said Sertoma makes extensive use of a database called Charity Tracker, which is sponsored by Jackson County United Way, to verify addresses to assure applicants live in the county.

“Several groups in Jackson County register recipients of aid in the database, allowing Sertomans to verify identities to a degree and prevent double-dipping,” he said. “If the applicant has been served by another organization, Sertoma chooses to serve others in order to stretch donated funds.”

Applications are available in English and Spanish and may be picked up in Seymour at the Jackson County Health Department, WIC office, Seymour City Hall, Jackson County Department of Child Services and Human Services Inc.

They also are available during regular business hours at the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department in Brownstown, Bundy Brothers in Medora, all branches of the Jackson County Public Library and all participating agencies of Jackson County United Way.

Applications also can be downloaded online at

As of Thursday afternoon, Fox said only 107 families have applied. In the past, Sertoma has provided gifts to more than 800 kids in one year.

He attributes the low number of applications to several factors.

“We talked to a couple of social service agencies, and their clientele isn’t coming in anymore. The people are going out to them,” he said. “One of the ways everybody used to get applications was on their counter. Blank applications were there when they were in to pick up.”

Also, applications haven’t been coming in the mail like they used to.

“We’ll get several in a day and then go for a day with none,” Fox said. “That’s really, really atypical of what it has been in the past.”

He also said people are still trying to readjust to whatever normal is during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another factor is the weather hasn’t been “Christmasy,” he said.

“It has caught up a little the last couple of days, but we’re still down on applications,” Fox said Friday morning.

As Sertoma receives applications and they are approved, tags are added to Angel Trees at three locations in Seymour: Jackson County Visitor Center, Shoe Sensation and Jackson County Public Library. Those list the age of the child and what they would like for Christmas.

Anyone can take those off of the tree, shop for the items and take them unwrapped to the Christmas Miracle Headquarters, 357 Tanger Blvd., Suite 211, at Shops at Seymour on the far east side of the city. Hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.

“Right now, the toys and gifts and a lot of things are coming in well,” Fox said.

“If people want to buy things without picking up an angel, we could get rid of a trainload of Barbies, Legos, baby toys and remote-controlled cars any time,” he added. “We use some of those for filler gifts. The children put in a main gift, but we have filler gifts, too, once in awhile to kind of even them up. If people want to go buy those things, particularly baby toys and things, that would be very much appreciated.”

The deadline also is Dec. 18 to bring toys to the headquarters.

“The sooner, the better on everything,” Fox said.

While Sertoma members help wrap gifts and do other tasks, they are joined by several local groups that volunteer to assist with wrapping.

“We have been blessed. We are chock-full of wrapping groups. Everything is scheduled,” Fox said. “The need of the community to help is way good or better than it ever has been. We’re quite gratified with the community support we’re getting.”

There, however, is still a way to help out. Volunteers will be needed early Christmas Eve morning to deliver gifts around the county. That will start at 7 a.m. Dec. 24 at the headquarters.

“Anybody and everybody is welcome on delivery day, and the closer they can get there to 7, the more they can be assured that they’ll have boxes to deliver,” Fox said. “Our delivery process has been excellent the last couple of years, ‘18 and ‘19. We actually ran out by 7:30, 8 o’clock. It’s another one of those earlier is better things.”

Any size of vehicle can be used to deliver.

“Pickup trucks are particularly useful because we expect to have several bicycles to deliver this year,” Fox said.

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