Community Supports the Junior Auxiliary of Taney County Tender Critter Drive

Tender Critters bring comfort to many children in trauma.  Holding a soft cuddly stuffed animal helps kids think of something other than what’s going on around them.  Last year JATC donated almost 2000 stuffed animals to the Cox Branson ER, as well as the Branson and Hollister Police Departments, and they expect the number to increase every year.

This year many businesses are helping with the Junior Auxiliary of Taney County (JATC) Tender Critter Drive held each February to replenish the supply of stuffed animals that will be delivered weekly to the Emergency Department at Cox Medical Center-Branson.  The staff then gives them to children who visit the ER or need to stay in the hospital. Thanks to all the caring people and businesses in this community for helping us deliver love and comfort in each of these little critters. When children face the confusing and often scary experience of a hospital emergency room visit or a hospital stay, a cuddly stuffed animal can be the difference between anxiety and reassurance. 

Chico’s Outlet and White House/Black Market at Tanger Mall will offer you the chance to enter into a drawing for an opportunity to win one of several prizes.  Every stuffed animal brought in will get you an entry into the drawing which will be held on March 1, 2018.  Customers of these businesses should watch for an email with more information.

Legends in Concert is holding their area appreciation for residents of Stone and Taney County on February 16, 17, and 18, and any guest who brings a new stuffed animal for JATC’s Tender Critter Drive will get a free upgrade to preferred seating (first 5 rows).  Legends will also accept donations at their box office for the whole month of February.  Reservations for area appreciation can be made by calling 339-3003.

Belk employees are once again joining in on the Tender Critter drive by donating stuffed animals as part of their commitment to being involved in and supporting our community.

Collection bins will also be located at Arvest Bank on Hwy 248 & Gretna Road, Branson Bank on Hwy 248, Binswanger Glass in Branson, Central Bank in Downtown Branson, CoxHealth Fitness Center at the RecPlex, and St. Joseph’s Anglican Church in Branson.

The Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 913 in Branson and Chapter 1119 in Kimberling City, the Taneycomo Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and PEO, Chapter IB are once again joining in the Tender Critter drive by encouraging their members to collect Critters during the month of February. 

“Tender Critters” is one of the longest running projects for JATC, with members donating new stuffed animals at each of their monthly meetings.  This collection is a year-round effort and JATC invites members of the community to help brighten a child’s day by donating a “tender critter” at any time.  Just send a message to, and a JATC member will contact you about picking up your donation.

JATC members strive to develop and execute projects that improve the mental, physical, social and emotional well-being of children and families in Taney County.  More information about the organization and its projects is available at   Approximately 50 members annually contribute more than 4,000 volunteer hours on projects including Santa’s Gift House; College Scholarships for a seniors at all four Taney County public high schools; 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, as well as child care so moms can attend counseling sessions; School Supplies “refreshment” in January for elementary schools; Homework Helpers for children who live in extended-stay motels; and Hip Hop into Fitness to encourage exercise and good nutrition habits for kids at local elementary schools.

Members raise money for these projects through one major event - a fun Trivia Challenge with dinner, live entertainment and a Silent Auction.  This year the 18th Annual Trivia Challenge and Silent Auction will be held at the Radisson Hotel in Branson on April 14, 2018.   Also, JATC raises money from other events such as Belk’s Charity Days, Schwan’s Cares and the Branson Women’s Expo as well as donations from corporate charitable giving (e.g., Amazon Smile, Usborne Books), generous local businesses (e.g., Doug Baker State Farm Insurance, Ozark Mountain Ear Nose & Throat, Mr. G’s Pizza, 417 Fundraising, Branson Bank, Central Bank, Great Southern Bank, American Family Insurance, and Lowe’s), grants and individual donations.

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. 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”.

Published by: Branson Tri-Lakes News, Wednesday, February 17, 2018