It was a magical time at the fifth annual Santa’s Gift House hosted by the Junior Auxiliary of Taney County (JATC) on December 13th in Branson and December 16th in Forsyth.
Santa’s Gift House provided the community’s children with an opportunity to experience the joy of giving gifts during the holidays. They “shopped” and selected up to four items for 50 cents per item that they then gave as holiday gifts to their loved ones. These high quality gifts included sports bottles, belt hangers, decorative items, crocheted toys, hair accessories, jewelry, picture frames, rag dolls, crocheted scarves, handmade soaps, knitted hats and scarves all handcrafted by members of JATC and their friends and family so that these children had meaningful gifts to give to others.
The children demonstrated their compassion and generosity like never before. Several children brought an extra $2.00 to give to a child who might not have the money to shop. One boy was so impressed with the rag doll he chose for his sister that he sought out the person who made them to “tell the lady who made them how awesome they are!”
A little girl told her volunteer shopper that she was buying presents with her “sparkle” money — two dollars from the tooth fairy (covered with glittering fairy dust to ensure that it was authentic!) And of course, there was one little girl who was awestruck by the fact that “the real Santa Claus came to MY church!”
Considering all the wonderful responses from approximately 150 children, JATC plans to hold the event in both Branson and Forsyth again in 2015.
Santa’s Gift House is one of many service projects that JATC members provide to the community. Others include College Readiness programs and scholarships; 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; 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 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 inTaneyCounty.
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 www.JATCMO.org.
Published: HometownDailyNews.com, Jan. 4, 2015 Springfield News-Leader, Jan. 2., 2015