Community effort delivers food baskets to local families

The last thing one Center Grove resident was expecting was for someone to show up on her doorstep with a basket full of food.

Sharon Collins, who lives in the Center Grove area with her 18-year-old daughter, works hard to make do each month with the money she gets from Social Security Disability payments. Once food stamps run out, she often finds herself going to a food pantry to make sure she and her daughter have enough to eat.

So when she found out Saturday morning that she had been selected to receive enough food to prepare a hearty Christmas meal, she was overwhelmed with gratitude.

“I’m thankful people are willing to help,” she said. “I love it.”

Every December, the Good Cheer Fund of Johnson County puts together baskets of food for families in need. This year, they had 265 baskets prepared to take out to families in the northern part of the county. Students from schools across the county worked to gather donations of canned food, and the organization supplemented that by purchasing ham, milk, eggs, cheese, bacon, bread and potatoes to go into the baskets as well.

“When you look at this stuff and some of these simple canned goods and things people take for granted, you don’t always realize that it can have such an impact for families,” said Doug Roller, a detective at the Greenwood Police Department, who helps organize the delivery of the Good Cheer Fund baskets.

Dozens of officers with local law enforcement agencies helped deliver the baskets. The officers also can connect families who need further assistance with a local organization that might be able to help, he said.

“The nice thing with having police do this is we know resources in the community,” Roller said.

Doug Farris, a training officer with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, likes to make the event a family affair. He brought his wife and a nephew and niece along to help deliver 14 boxes to families in the Center Grove area.

Farris said he enjoys being able to take part in the moment where someone receives the basket of food and realizes that their Christmas has changed for the better.

“It’s what Christmas is about,” Farris said.

For those receiving the baskets, the fact that they were selected was a complete surprise until they got the knock on their door.

Sascha Gibson, a single mother of two in the Center Grove area, was expecting her third child any day, and had no clue what she would be doing to put together a Christmas meal, she said.

“It feels really good that people are willing to do this,” she said.

Author photo
Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2702.