The sponsoring organizations for the annual Greene County Clothe-a-Child and Toys for Tots project tried to think outside the box this year when it came to collecting donations for the project.
Times are tough, and family funds are limited. And it seems like families are busier than ever.
In an effort to draw more attention to its collection efforts, the sponsors asked the Linton-Stockton High School and Junior High choirs for some help.
The choirs will be bell-ringing on Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Angell's Food Center in Linton.
To be more accurate, they will be singing at 11 a.m., noon, and 1 p.m.
"We were just trying to come up with ideas to provide a little bit of entertainment and what might increase donations," Wendy Spurlin, the Civitan Club's president, said.
"We had a lot of different youth groups asking for ways they could contribute other than just bell-ringing."
The choir was happy to help.
"We're going to be singing Christmas carols at the top of each hour," Linton-Stockton High School and Junior High school choir director Sarah Riggins explained. "We want to help.
"The other thing is, we're going to be traveling in May to the America Sings and so much of that is focused on community service. We were looking for as many ways to help on the local level."
Riggins said the students have volunteered their time.
"It's not a requirement for the class," Riggins said. "Not all of them in the class can come because they work or for transportation reasons."
The project's sponsoring organizations include the Linton Civitan Club, Linton Rotary Club, Bloomfield Rotary Club, Linton Ladies Civitan, and Bloomfield Psi Iota Xi sorority.
Spurlin said it's getting more difficult to find bell-ringers and the needed funds for the Clothe-a-Child and Toys for Tots project.
"We have a committee that meets to coordinate all the funding efforts. Every year it gets more difficult to generate the funds," Spurlin explained.
"As for bell-ringers ... it gets to be more of a challenge every year because people don't have the time."
Spurlin has been coordinating the bell-ringing efforts for four years.
The Clothe-a-Child and Toys for Tots Project has nearly completed its screening of applications for Christmas assistance. The project will serve approximately 520 children.
Families will be notified by mail the week after Thanksgiving whether their applications have been approved.
Families receiving clothing vouchers will shop Dec. 14 or Dec. 15. Toys will be distributed at community dinners on two days: Dec. 16 between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. at Saron Church in Linton for those families in the western areas of the county and Dec. 18 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the First Methodist Church in Bloomfield for those families in the eastern areas of the county.
The community dinners will provide turkey and all the trimmings, and are open to anyone. The meal at Saron will be provided by the Linton Rotary Club, and the one at First Methodist Church by the group of churches sponsoring Soup on Saturday in Bloomfield.
Individuals can contribute by donating toys and coats, donating directly at the bell-ringing stations, or mailing contributions to Greene County Clothe-a-Child, PO Box 516, Linton, Ind., 47441.
Boxes displaying the Greene County Clothe-a-Child/Toys for Tots Santa logo are set up to collect donations of new, unwrapped toys. Particularly needed are toys for children 2 years and younger. Locations where toy donations may be left include: at Sears, Dollar General Store, Pizza Hut, Arby's, Regions Bank, MainSource Bank, Southside Express, and the Linton Public Library in Linton; and in Bloomfield at Pamida, Dollar General Store, Bloomfield State Bank, and MainSource Bank.
Used children's coats that are in good condition can be taken prior to Dec. 8 to Mercury Cleaners in either Linton or Bloomfield, where they will be cleaned to be distributed on the clothes-shopping nights.
Bell-ringing stations displaying the project's Santa logo are set up to collect donations on weekends between now and Christmas. Bell-ringers will be located in Linton at Angell's Food Center and Wal-Mart, in Bloomfield at the IGA, and in downtown Jasonville.
Anyone wishing to volunteer time to help ring bells can contact Spurlin for Linton (699-0353), Stacey Corbin for Bloomfield (384-3094) or Dave Keller for Jasonville (665-2961).
Chris is the general manager/editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .