For the eighth straight year, Junior Auxiliary of Taney County (JATC) is inviting children to shop for holiday gifts in Santa’s Gift House as a way to enjoy the spirit of Ozark Mountain Christmas. This event is designed for children in Taney County schools in grades K-4. On Saturday, December 9, 2017, 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 snow globes, ornaments, colorful paintings, etched glassware, decorative items, plush toys, hats, scarves, jewelry, doggie chew toys, 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. The elves have handcrafted over 1000 gifts to choose from as they are accompanied by JATC members who serve as their personal shoppers.
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. Family members who accompany the children are seated in comfort and can enjoy seasonal treats and warm beverages. They also can select items from the “Free Table” stocked with donated and seasonal items.
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.
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.
JATC projects include Tender Critters for children in trauma; Santa’s Gift House; College Scholarships for a senior at all four Taney County public high schools; Scholar Care provides financial and monthly support for a college student each year; Prom Dresses for girls in need; Heart of the Arts supporting arts activities for clients of the Developmental Center; financial and labor support for the Women’s Crisis Center including birthday parties and child watch for the children; School Supplies “refreshment” in January for elementary schools; Hip Hop into Fitness at the area’s elementary schools where kids get exercise in various fun obstacle stations; and Homework Helpers for children who live in extended-stay 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 held in the spring each year. This year the 18th Annual Trivia Challenge and Silent Auction will be held at the Radisson Hotel in Branson on April 14, 2018. Last year nearly $20,000 was raised, all of which was reinvested in our community. This year the theme is Sherlock Holmes; after all “It’s elementary, my dear Watson.”
Also, JATC raises money from other events such as Belk’s Charity Days, Schwan’s Cares, AmazonSmile, Mr. G’s Annual JATC Days, the Branson Women’s Expo, grants and individual donations. Generous local businesses also donate to JATC’s various events including Doug Baker State Farm Insurance, Ozark Mountain Ear Nose & Throat, Mr. G’s Pizza, Binswanger Glass, Chateau on the Lake, Big Cedar, State Park Marina, 417 Fundraising, Usborne Books, Central Bank, Dale Sanders American Family Insurance and Branson Bank.
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”.