Secret Families provides Christmas for those in need

Shoppers meet at Anderson’s Meijer to start buying items from families’ Christmas lists in this 2020 photo.

ANDERSON — Every year since 2010, Secret Families of Madison County has provided families in need with gifts and necessities for Christmas.

This year, Secret Families is shopping for 102 families. The organization receives names from social workers, principals and other local school staffs

“When we get them from the schools, we can only get four or five from each school, and there’s so much more need out there,” said Valerie Harp, Secret Families board member.

Once the families are picked, board members reach out to the families and find out what they need. They gather clothing sizes for anyone in the house who needs clothes and ask if the family needs anything like towels, blankets and cooking utensils.

“When we call and talk to them, we find out their family situation,” Harp said. “We’ve really had a lot with COVID that have lost their jobs. They’re behind on things, and they need help.”

Additionally, they also ask the families if they need a Christmas tree.

“If they do, then we deliver a live Christmas tree with ornaments, lights, stand, everything that they need for the Christmas tree,” said board member Tina Robbins. “You’ll be surprised how many families have never had a Christmas tree.”

Secret Families also provides every family it helps with a laundry basket full of toiletries and household items such as laundry detergent, a $50 Meijer gift card for Christmas dinner and a Bible.

The organization is accepting donations of toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, bar soap, laundry detergent, household cleaner, dish soap, paper towels and toilet paper. Donations may be dropped off at Needler’s Shopping Plaza in Pendleton, Re/Max in Anderson, Modern Trailer Sales, F.C. Tucker in Anderson and Pendleton and Madison County Federal Credit Union branches on East Eighth Street, Charles Street, Nichol Avenue and Ind. 28.

Secret Families spends abouyt $550 on each family that it supports, so its fundraising goal before the event is $55,000.

Aside from donations, Secret Families also needs volunteers to help with shopping, wrapping and Christmas tree delivery.

Shoppers will meet at 6:30 a.m. Dec. 4 at Anderson’s Meijer store to shop for everything on the families’ Christmas lists.

After the items are purchased, they will be dropped off at Tom Wood Honda of Anderson to be wrapped. Once wrapped, the gifts will be on their way to families.

“Community Hospital donates (its) vans to help us go del,iver and we have volunteers that go with them,” Harp said.

To donate money or to sign up to volunteer, visit Money donations also can be dropped off at Re/Max in Anderson.

Follow Kylee Mullikin on Twitter @kyleemullikinhb or call 765-640-4250.

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