Westfield Giving provides gifts for local youth in need


On Christmas morning, 5,000 gifts were wrapped under Christmas trees throughout the city because of Westfield’s first-ever collaborative Holiday Giving program. By Christmas afternoon, those gifts were being enjoyed by young people because of the generous spirits and hard work of volunteers and donors all across Westfield.

For the first time, Westfield Washington Schools, Westfield Education Foundation, Westfield Youth Assistance Program and Open Doors of Washington Township joined with churches across the city to fill needs and wishes of young people throughout the community who might have otherwise had no gifts to open on Christmas.

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Walmart manager/coach Breana McCord, from left, helped Westfield Police Department Officer Kaeden Gebhart and Lt. Billy Adams make sure 50 tags were matched with a fitting gift. (Photo courtesy of Westfield Police Department)

Pastor Matt Gaylor of NSPIRE Church had partnered with White River Elementary School in Noblesville in the past, and he knew that WWS struggled each year to meet the same needs.

“I had this dream of uniting our community through service,” Gaylor said. “I went around and tried to be a catalyst. I went to my pastor friends and community leaders and pitched this idea.”

The result was that churches including Crossroads, LifePointe, Northview, Radiant Life, Thrive and Village Park Bible Methodist. joined NSPIRE to partner with district schools and local nonprofit organizations.

“We were able to make sure every school had a ‘neighboring church,’” Gaylor said.

Volunteers from congregations and schools selected tags from giving trees or signed up for tags online. They purchased gifts and donated money. NSPIRE covered around 125 kids in the WWS intermediate, middle and high schools.

“We received over $15,000 in fiscal donations that allowed us to shop for tags as intended but also for tags that were not picked up and for late registrations,” Westfield Education Foundation Director Ashley Knott said.

In all, Westfield Giving provided gifts for more than 1,200 area youth, according to Knott.

“We have a plan for running with this in the future,” Gaylor said. “It’s our hope that we can unite more people behind the cause. It’s a lot of work, but many hands make light work. It’s my dream that we create a little bit of a social contagion where people in our community realize that they have resources available in our community that they can leverage for something greater than themselves.”

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Michele Arndt, community engagement assistant with Westfield Education Foundation, gets ready to checkout at Meijer with bags of gifts filling the needs on dozens of tags.

Boxing Day

In many English-speaking nations, Dec. 26 is known as Boxing Day. Although traditions vary in different nations, the day supposedly originated from the wealthy giving their staff the day off after Christmas and sending them home to visit family with boxes of food or other goods. Some celebrate the day by donating to charity organizations. Here are some ways people can continue the spirit of giving locally:

Share the Love Diaper Drive — One in two families in Indiana struggle to afford diapers, which can cost approximately $100 a month per child, and no government programs cover the cost of diapers. Indiana Diaper Bank is collecting all sizes of diapers and pull ups, plus new packages of wipes and diaper rash creams to fill the vast need and to provide diapers for families who are currently on a waiting list. Monetary donations are welcome as IDB can purchase four diapers with each dollar donated by purchasing directly from a distributor. For more, visit givebutter.com/ShareTheLove2023.

Open Doors of Washington Township — After giving out more boxes than ever before for holiday meals, the pantry shelves at Open Doors need to be restocked. To find out more about what foods and clothing items are most needed and where and when donations can be dropped off, visit opendoorswestfield.org/#.