The Humanity Behind This Holiday Season
Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Courtesy of GSN and CFD
The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and while many Hamilton County residents are busy planning their holiday menus and have already begun their holiday shopping, there are many within our own county that are planning on doing without.
The kind folks at The Good Samaritan Network (GSN) are already gathering resources and volunteers to assist our neighbors in need, but they need your help in order to make the season brighter for every man, woman and child who finds themselves in need. No one person or one organization can take on a task of this magnitude without the help of other service and public safety agencies. In addition to GSN’s efforts, the Carmel Fire Department (CFD) is hosting its annual Community Assistance Program (CAP).
CAP began in 1967 when CFD began delivering food and presents to families in need in Carmel. With the support of the Carmel community, CFD has assisted hundreds of families during the holiday season for 41 years.
GSN Founder and Executive Director Nancy Chance explained why there are still so many people and families in need throughout our county.
“The people and families that we serve are making their rent, utility and car payments,” Chance said. “They are trying to stretch their dollar by going to a food pantry and putting their kids on free and/or reduced lunches at school. That is how they are surviving. For the last 10 years, they’ve been working two or three jobs at $12-$13 an hour with no vacation, no time off and usually no benefits. They are in burn out mode and have just been surviving.”
Chance continued, “We are trying to keep people from falling into first-generation poverty. If they fall into entitlement, it takes four times the amount of money to get them out of it than what we would’ve put out to help them in the first place, and it takes 10 years to turn people around once they fall into it.”
It costs approximately $50,000 (GSN cost) for 1,000 holiday food baskets. Chance emphasized that people can make online donations and/or sign up to volunteer. Timeslots are available on the GSN website and are easy to sign up for. Families and folks of all ages are encouraged to come out and spread some holiday cheer!
How can you help?
Good Samaritan Network 2018 Festival of Trees
3535 E. 161st St., Carmel, IN 46033
The Festival of Trees is an annual fundraising event in which local artisans and designers create holiday-themed artificial trees and wreaths that are auctioned off live to benefit the Good Samaritan Network of Hamilton County. The Good Samaritan Network of Hamilton County provides direct assistance to underserved Hamilton County residents. The hope of helping build better lives for people is not limited to food and shelter insecurities or financial instability; it reaches to the spiritual and everyday life as well as education, jobs and health issues.
GSN Holiday Assistance Opportunities
Thanksgiving Assistance Distribution
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
This year’s annual Thanksgiving Assistance for Hamilton County residents, which includes distribution of food boxes and baskets, will be held at the Hamilton County 4H Fairgrounds in Noblesville, IN. A “Holiday Assistance” application is required. Applications should be completed online (gsnlive.org) as soon as possible or contact the Good Samaritan Network office at 317-842-2603. One application, completed annually, can be used for Thanksgiving assistance and/or Christmas Assistance.
Thanksgiving Day FREE Meal – 3 Locations
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
A Thanksgiving Day sit-down meal is provided at various Hamilton County sites from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Staging and venue locations include White River Christian Church in Noblesville; Sheridan Community Center in Sheridan and St. Louis de Montfort in Fishers. All locations include a FREE sit-down meal without reservations. At the Noblesville and Sheridan locations, carryout will also be available. All assistance is first come, first served.
Thanksgiving Day Delivered Meals
GSN will also provide meal deliveries for elderly, disabled or shut-in Hamilton County residents who have signed up for a Thanksgiving Day meal delivery. Delivery is needs-based, and an application does not guarantee delivery. Volunteers will deliver to their assigned households early in the day on Thanksgiving. Residents must be home.
Christmas Assistance Distribution
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
This year’s annual Christmas Assistance for Hamilton County residents, which includes food, toys and clothing, will be held at the Hamilton County 4H Fairgrounds in Noblesville. A “Holiday Assistance” application is required. Applications should be completed online (gsnlive.org) as soon as possible or contact the Good Samaritan Network office at 317-842-2603. One application, completed annually, can be used for Thanksgiving assistance and/or Christmas Assistance.
Christmas Eve Meal Delivery
A Christmas Eve meal is provided to elderly, disabled or shut-in Hamilton County residents who sign up in advance. Assistance is first come, first served for the elderly or special needs clients who have signed up for a Christmas meal delivery. Delivery is needs-based, and an application does not guarantee delivery. Volunteers will deliver to their assigned households early in the day on Christmas Eve. Residents must be home.
For those in need of assistance, GSN recommends that you apply ONLINE by the first week in November for Holiday Assistance at gsnlive.org.
CFD Community Assistance Program (CAP)
Timothy Griffin is the public information officer for Carmel Fire Department. He shared why CFD’s CAP program is so meaningful to not only the families that it serves but to members of CFD on a personal level. “People line up in their cars outside of the station, and all of the off-duty firefighters bring their kids and families. We hand out those boxes, and it just feels great. It is community at its very best.”
Please make tax-deductible donations payable to CFD Auxiliary. Please write “CAP” in the memo line. Mail to CFD, Attn: CAP, 2 Civic Square, Carmel, IN 46032.
Be a Sponsor
Register with CFD by December 1. Let CFD know how many children you’d like to purchase gifts for, and we will match you with children in need.
· See tinyurl.com/hbh9rll for detailed information
· Register by calling CFD at 317-571-2690, ext. 7000, or email CAP@carmel.in.gov
Be a Volunteer Delivery Driver
Help deliver food and gifts from CFD Headquarters to families in need on December 8 from 9-11 a.m.
· Leave your information at 317-571-2690, ext. 7000, or email CAP@carmel.in.gov
· Visit our website at carmelfd.com