For the seventh straight year, Junior Auxiliary of Taney County (JATC) is inviting children to shop for holiday gifts in Santa’s Gift House. This event is designed for children in Taney County schools in grades K-4. On Saturday, December 10, 2016, 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.
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 wind chimes, snow globes, fisherman survival kits, decorative items, plush toys, hats, scarves, jewelry, among many others. The gifts have been handcrafted by members of JATC and their friends and families so that these children can have meaningful gifts to give to others.
In addition to the shopping spree, children will be able to have a photo taken with Santa, and create a Christmas craft of their own. Santa’s Gift House has been a popular service project for JATC, providing the community’s children with an opportunity to experience the joy of giving gifts during the holidays.
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 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.
JATC annually assesses the community’s needs and establishes service projects to address those needs. Many JATC projects have been sustained for years, such asScholar Care for scholarships to 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 Women’s Crisis Center.
Several newer projects include Heart of Arts which allows JA members to secure art & craft supplies and provides support to adults with developmental disabilities; Learners Today-Leaders Tomorrow where JATC provides K-6 pupils and teachers in rural Bradleyville Elementary School with a multi-faceted program of tools, materials and technical assistance designed to enhance learning and improve skills in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) This program was established with the assistance of a grant from Branson Hollister Rotary; Emergency Education Fund which provides financial support for students at OTC who are facing an emergency situation that, if not addressed, will almost certainly force them to drop out of school; and Homework Helpers where JA members provide snacks, enrichment programs, reading and homework help for children who live in extended-stay hotels/motels.
Money for these projects is raised primarily through one major event - a fun Trivia Challenge with dinner, live entertainment, a raffle and a Silent Auction. This year the 20th Annual Trivia Challenge and Silent Auction will be held at the Radisson Hotel in Branson on March 25th, 2017. Other fundraisers include Schwan’s Cares, Belk Charity Day Sales, Branson Women’s Expo, Amazon Smile, and Mr. G’s Annual JATC Days. We also receive donations from numerous local businesses and individuals including Doug Baker State Farm Insurance and Combs Hotel Properties.
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.