Twelve years after her death, a Center Grove teen continues to have an impact on the community.
After Megan Williams was killed in a 2005 car accident, her spirit of giving continues to be carried on through an annual charity in her name.
Megan’s Fund, an annual effort by Williams’ mother and best friend, is once again gearing up to provide Christmas gifts and clothing to more than 100 children. Their biggest need now: sponsors for the families they help, co-founder Rachel Cline said.
Williams was 17 when she was killed in a car accident while shopping for needy children before Christmas. In her honor, Cline and Williams’ mother, Cheryl Waterman, began an annual tradition to provide gifts and clothing to local children in need.
And since starting the effort, it has continued to grow.
Last year, they helped more than 120 children, a significant increase from 30 the first year, Cline said.
And Waterman hopes to help at least that many — if not more — this year, she said.
Every year, Cline can’t help but think of what her best friend would be like now, and what they would be sharing. She imagines Williams would be married with kids, an experience they never got to share together, she said.
But she also is proud of all the people Williams continues to impact. And while the annual effort is time consuming, especially with working full-time and caring for her family, she could never imagine not doing it, she said.
“To continue to carry on Megan’s legacy and truly just to see how many people she has touched in the 17 years she was here, but also in the 12 years since she passed,” Cline said.
“There is no way to have a count, it’s endless, there are literally hundreds.”
Through Megan’s Fund, the tragedy of Megan’s death has become something amazing, Waterman said.
“It is truly a blessing to have had and raised a child that thought so much about others and was willing to give that much and that we have that as a legacy for her,” Waterman said.
“It helps me survive day to day to know that. She died so young, but to have such a legacy is such an amazing thing.”
The annual tradition will always be a priority for Waterman, and she is amazed with how many children they have been able to help, even during tough economic times, she said.
Each year, more and more people get involved as they learn about Megan’s Fund, and that is truly an honor, she said.
“We want to make sure the love and the compassion is there that Megan had started and influenced so many people,” Waterman said.
They have just started accepting sponsors for the year, and will take as many as they can get, Cline said. Sponsors can typically expect to spend $100 to $150 per child on clothing and the child’s wish list, which usually includes two to three items, she said.
Currently, they have sponsors for about 50 children, she said.
The children they help are referred from a variety of sources, including local schools, the Children’s Bureau and an Indianapolis community center. They will help as many children as they can, and also accept donations for those who do not get a sponsor, Cline said.
They plan to accept donations until Dec. 18, giving them time to deliver them by Christmas, she said.
But in past years, they have continued shopping until Christmas Eve to make sure every child referred to them has a gift, Waterman said.
“It’s all worth it, because kids are going to wake up to presents on Christmas morning, and families know someone cares,” Waterman said.
Megan’s Fund is seeking sponsors and donations. Here is a look at how you can help:
Become a sponsor: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to be paired up with a child in need. You can also visit the group’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Megans-Fund-167899104650/
Donate: You can donate clothing and toys to be given to children by dropping them off at Urban Euphoria, 450 S. State Road 135, Suite C, Greenwood. You can also donate money at any Chase Bank location using the name Cheryl Waterman-Megan’s Fund.
Attend the fundraiser: The annual fundraiser for the charity will be from 1 to 3 p.m. on Dec. 3 at Southern Bowl, 1010 S. U.S. 31, Greenwood. Wear an ugly Christmas sweater and bowl for $10 per child and $20 per adult.