For the fifth straight year, Junior Auxiliary of Taney County (JATC) is inviting children to shop for holiday gifts in Santa’s Gift House. Designed for children in Taney County schools in grades K-3, this year JATC will offer two locations to make it more convenient for children and parents all over Taney County. On Saturday, December 13 the event will be held at the Branson United Methodist Church Family Life Center at 1208 West 76 Country Blvd in Branson from 9am – 12 noon. On Tuesday, December 16 the event will be at the Forsyth Elementary Cafeteria at 178 Panther Street in Forsyth from 6pm – 8pm.
Santa’s Gift House is a fun event for children and adults. Children go “shopping” and select up to four items for 50 cents per item that they give as holiday gifts to their loved ones – parents, siblings, friends, teachers, and others. These high quality gifts include sports bottles, belt hangers, holiday ornaments, decorative items, plush toys, hair accessories, jewelry, among others. The gifts have been handcrafted by members of JATC and their friends and family so that these children can have meaningful gifts to give to others.
Nina Grayson, Ginny Hale, Elaine Broughton, and Gail Besser serve snacks.
In addition to the shopping spree, children will be able to have a photo taken with Santa.
JATC is more than a nonprofit organization, it’s a group of women united by a single cause and dedicated to helping the children of Taney County. That’s the magic of JATC. It was chartered by a group of caring, enthusiastic women in 1998 and continues to grow and thrive throughout Taney County. Approximately 50 members annually contribute more than 4,000 volunteer hours and thousands of dollars as they strive to improve the mental, physical, social and emotional well-being of children in Taney County. Each summer JATC hosts a number of informational meetings so that women over the age of 21 may hear about JATC’s activities and decide if they would like to consider membership in the organization.
Each year JATC assesses the community’s needs and establish service projects to address those needs. Many JATC projects have been sustained for years, such as College Readiness programs and scholarships for seniors from all 4 Taney County high schools, prom dresses for girls in need, stuffed animals for children in the local hospitals, mid-year replenishment of school supplies and hygiene products for Taney County elementary schools, and support for the School Backpack Program.
Several newer projects include Journey, a mentoring project for young women; support for the Women’s Crisis Center, in which they provide home improvement and monetary support for one of the cottages; and Book Swap Stop/Homework Helpers, in which they provide snacks, enrichment programs, reading and homework help for children who live in extended-stay hotels/motels.
Members raise money for these projects through one major event - a fun Trivia Challenge with dinner, live entertainment, a raffle and a Silent Auction. This year the 15th Annual Trivia Challenge and Silent Auction will be held at the Radisson Hotel in Branson on March 28th, 2015.
JATC is part of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries (NAJA), a non-profit organization founded in 1941 with headquarters in Greenville, Mississippi. NAJA has more than 15,500 active, associate and life members in 98 chapters located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. Their slogan is “Care Today-Character Tomorrow”.
More information on JATC can be found on the Junior Auxiliary website JATCMO.ORG, their Facebook page, Junior Auxiliary of Taney County or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published: Branson Daily Independent, Nov. 14, 2014; Branson Tri-Lakes News, Nov. 19, 2014