Despite the leaves starting to change color and temperatures feeling a bit cooler as fall begins in the Midwest, Sharon Kinder, executive director of Grandview Assistance Program (GAP), has Christmas on her mind. Each year, the organization provides a Christmas store for area families in need. During a time of celebration and giving for most families, some in our area depend on local agencies such as GAP to help provide what they can’t.
This year, however, GAP is beginning the season with a deficit. For several years, the organization has partnered with a local church to provide storage space for items to be used in the Christmas store. Recently, someone took the liberty to go through those items, taking a significant amount with them. After doing a thorough inventory of all the Christmas store items, it was discovered that nearly $600 of new donated items were missing. Also, things that Kinder and her volunteers were unable to put a value on or account for went missing as well.
“Anything that we bought last year at a discount, like scarves, hats and mitten sets, are now full price,” said Kinder. “How do you put a value on that?”
In order to make up ground to provide the Christmas store this year, Kinder started to search for a secure location to store the items. The Grandview School District, one of GAP’s largest supporters, came through with a plan. Dr. Ralph Teran, Superintendent, called Kinder after getting wind of the circumstances.
“Dr. Teran, who is a great advocate for us, contacted me right away asking what the school district can do to help,” said Kinder. “There were a couple of places that the district had in mind, but this one worked out to be the best.”
The location that the district offered Kinder is the former daycare center across Highgrove Road from the high school. In the past, the district used the building as a staging area. Last Saturday, Kinder and volunteers spent some time cleaning up the building so they can begin moving items over to that location as soon as possible. According to Kinder, there is wiring for an alarm in the building and she will be researching ways to get that facilitated quickly in order to provide the security she is looking for.
“With us having the key, we’ll be the only ones going in and out,” said Kinder.
Because of the impact of the items that were taken from storage for the Christmas store, GAP is hoping to receive donations in order to provide for the community this season. Those wishing to donate have until December 9 to drop items off any time Monday through Friday at the GAP office during open hours. Suggested items for donations include: for preschoolers, baby dolls, Tonka toys, Fisher-Price toys, Playskool toys, etc.; for ages 6 – 11, radio-controlled vehicles, Barbie dolls, craft sets, Star Wars toys, Transformers, Power Rangers, Batman, Avengers, Spiderman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Legos, Nerf, Hot Wheels, Barbies, basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, etc.; and for pre-teens and teenagers, portable CD players, cosmetic sets (both men’s and women’s), craft sets (scrapbooking, jewelry making, etc.), sports equipment (skateboards, footballs, basketballs, scooters), handheld electronic games, radio controlled vehicles, hair straighteners, etc. Also needed are winter wear (coats, gloves,
hats and scarves) and warm blankets.
“What you give locally, stays locally,” said Kinder.
GAP services Grandview and the Grandview School District area, including Martin City. GAP provides a variety of services to their clients. They are primarily an emergency assistance program dedicated to helping families and individuals, with a goal of providing stability during crisis situations. In general, GAP helps families with the following basic needs: rental assistance when an eviction notice has been received, food for short-term needs, utility assistance when a shut-off or disconnect notice has been received, school supplies and the Christmas Store.
Beginning Tuesday, November 5, Grandview Assistance Program will be taking applications for Christmas assistance on Tuesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Applications will be accepted until November 26, or until all appointment slots are full. Items needed are current (up-to-date) lease or mortgage verification, picture I.D., social security cards for all household members, and income for all household members for the month of October 2013. For more information, visit their website at www.gapcares.org, or visit 1121 Main Street in Grandview. Grandview Assistance Program is a not-for-profit agency with a 501(c) (3) status. All contributions are tax-deductible.