Holiday Hands of Hope inspires generosity

Jennifer Payne, left, and business partner Renee Ahearn with a 2014 Holiday Hands of Hope collection box.

Jennifer Payne, left, and business partner Renee Ahearn with a 2014 Holiday Hands of Hope collection box.

By Holly Kline

Fishers business has kicked off their third annual Holiday Hands of Hope campaign and is counting on the community’s generosity to help provide new, unwrapped toys and books for children at the Wheeler Mission Center for Women and Children in Indianapolis. Collection boxes are set up in several Hamilton County businesses through December 17 and donations will be delivered in time for Christmas.

“Last year we received over 555 items and we hope to get even more this year,” said Jennifer Payne, Co-Owner and CEO of “Wheeler creates a Santa Shop and the women who are living there can choose items for their children.”

Shawnna Rice, administrative supervisor and after care coordinator for Wheeler Mission, is appreciative.

“We are most definitely in need of new unwrapped toys for children of both genders and all ages up to teenager,” she said. “Last year the women here loved being able to ‘shop’. The looks on their faces made all the work put into setting up the Santa Shop so worth it.”

Payne started Holiday Hands of Hope because she wanted to give to those who are less fortunate and she is grateful for the public’s generosity. She was moved in particular by two stories from last year.

“We had one woman who wanted to donate and she asked for the ages and sizes of all the kids at Wheeler at the time,” she said. “She then went out and bought brand new pajamas for each child. Also, there was a birthday party at Sky Zone in Fishers and the birthday kid asked that the presents go to Wheeler Mission.”

Inspired to donate? Area drop box locations include Accelerated Rehab in Fishers, Indianapolis and Noblesville, Sky Zone in Fishers, Dave & Buster’s, Incrediplex and Latitude 360 in Indianapolis, The Paint Cellar and Off The Wall Sports in Carmel, and Jump N Play in Noblesville and Avon.

Payne hopes for a successful campaign and spoke about the most rewarding part of organizing Holiday Hands of Hope.

“For me, it’s when I deliver the items to Wheeler and get to see how excited the women are,” she said. “It brings tears to my eyes.”


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