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Gift Lift program collects blankets to help with holiday blues

For so many people, the upcoming holiday calendar is packed with parties, shopping, and Christmas cheer. But for other Hendricks County residents, it can be a lonely time without family or celebrations.

Hand-made ornament made by a pre-school children. (Photos courtesy Mental Health America of Hendricks County)


That’s why Mental Health America of Hendricks County (MHAHC), a nonprofit that promotes mental health awareness in Avon, has teamed up with Hendricks Power to collect donations as part of its annual Gift Lift program that helps residents living in assisted living or struggle with mental illness.

“The need increases every year. We expect to serve between 800 and 1000 people in Hendricks County long-term care facilities,” said Executive Director at Mental Health America of Hendricks County, Tammi Jessup.

Both groups are collecting donations from Nov. 18 to Dec. 13. The wish list includes cozy socks, large print puzzle books, 2020 calendars, sugar-free candy, hygiene items, and lap blankets.

“The lap blankets are typically the favorite gifts because the people who receive them are often cold and frequently they are in wheelchairs. The blankets are warm, soft, and comforting,” said Jessup.

“Many of them are lovingly made by community members, church groups, Girl Scout troops, and others. MHAHC is always looking for those willing to donate new blankets or make some.”

The items are delivered in festive bags decorated by children and include a hand-made ornament made by a pre-school child.
“Many of the folks who receive these gifts would otherwise not be remembered during the holidays.”

The gifts are distributed at the discretion of the facility, either during a Christmas party or on Christmas morning. We are told that receiving the gifts brings a lot of joy to the resident’s faces.”

The donation program will also help around 100 Hendricks County residents with chronic, severe mental health conditions.

“These gifts also go to people who often are overlooked during the holidays. They can’t afford to buy these things for themselves or their children. They appreciate the gifts they receive so very much. It helps them to know that people care about them.”

Donations for nursing home residents can be dropped off at the Hendricks Power office at 86 N CR 500 E in Avon or at the MHAHC office located at 75 Queensway Drive in Avon.

Priority donations include:
Warm socks
Puzzle books (large print)
Lap blankets
2020 calendars (large print)
Sugar-free candy
Hygiene items

MHAHC is also collecting pantry items:



Pasta sauce

Body Wash

Peanut Butter




Macaroni Cheese

Shampoo/ Conditioner

Canned veggies


Sanitary Napkins/ Tampons

Canned fruit

Baby Diapers – all sizes

Boxed meals

Baby Wipes


Toilet Paper


Paper towels

Canned meat

Household cleaning supplies

Refried beans

School supplies

Tortilla shells Hairbrushes/ Combs

Soups Lotion




Baby food

Grocery store gift cards

Pet food


By Lindsay Doty

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