The Christmas Basket Fund starts today

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Traditionally, two local organizations donated to the Christmas Basket Fund a few weeks before the official start.

$ 350 total donations from Jackson Masonic Lodge 46 and the Seymour Chapter Order of the Eastern Star were recently made at The Tribune office in downtown Seymour.

“You like to be first,” said Barb Walters, advertising administrator at The Tribune.

Today begins the 75th anniversary of the local project, which has helped people in need to buy groceries during the Christmas season. It is sponsored by American Legion Post 89, The Tribune, and JCB.

The generosity of Jackson County’s residents has resulted in over $ 10,000 in each of the past few years. Last year it was $ 11,430.

Carl VonDielingen, chairman of the Christmas Basket Fund, said the committee’s goal is $ 15,000 so that 300 gift cards can be distributed.

“In one year we got $ 28,000, so that depends on the economy,” he said of the donation.

Donations allow $ 50 JayC Food Stores gift cards to be distributed to less fortunate people in the area whose applications have been approved.

Applications for assistance begin today and will be accepted until December 15th. To receive one of the gift cards, people must reside in Jackson County and submit a letter stating their need for assistance. Inquiries should be directed to the American Legion Basket Fund, PO Box 566, Seymour, IN 47274.

There is a limit of one gift certificate per person and one per address. Requests that provide a PO box address will not be accepted.

Donations can be made by companies, corporations, service groups, churches, individuals or families. Donors can donate anonymously if they wish and dedicate their donations in memory or in honor of others.

All donations can be mailed to or dropped off at American Legion Post 89 or The Tribune in Seymour, or any JCB branch. Donors and their dedications are published daily in The Tribune.

The fund was started in 1945 by veterans returning to Seymour and Jackson Counties from WWII to provide groceries to the area’s families for Christmas.

The fund originally served the needy in Seymour, but was later expanded to include all of Jackson County.

Although this year is unique due to the COVID-19 pandemic, VonDielingen said the committee is determined to keep the Christmas Basket Fund going.

“You don’t have a lot of personal contact, so that works well,” he said.

Although he doesn’t know exactly how many years he’s been involved in the project, VonDielingen said he enjoys it.

“I volunteered for a year and have been there ever since. Retirement did that for me, ”he said with a smile. “It’s a lot of work for two months and there are only two other people on my committee, but I enjoy simply helping people in need. It’s work, but we get a lot of good input and donations from the community. “

At a glance

Applications for assistance from the Christmas Basket Fund will begin today and will be accepted through December 15th.

To receive one of the $ 50 gift cards from JayC Food Stores, people must live in Jackson County and submit a letter stating their need for assistance. Inquiries should be directed to the American Legion Basket Fund, PO Box 566, Seymour, IN 47274. Inquiries with a PO box address will not be accepted.

Donations can be mailed or dropped off at American Legion Post 89 (402 W. Second St., Seymour, IN 47274) or The Tribune (100 St. Louis Ave., Seymour, IN 47274) or any JCB branch.

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