Christmas in October…

Christmas in October
The Pedi Lounge


My Favorite Things Gift Shop

are having a fundraiser for

Secret Families of Madison County 

on October 11.






Between now and the end of November, they will be collecting

  • new, unwrapped toys
  • new Meijer Gift Cards (used to purchase family gifts on Secret Families’ Saturday on 12/5)
  • toiletries: tissue paper, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, tooth brushes, bath soap, lotion, shampoo, etc.
  • household items: dish soap, laundry soap, etc.

Drop off location is at My Favorite Things Gift Shop.

Located downtown at 1031 Meridian Plaza.

Monday-Friday 10-6 and Saturdays 9-1.


If you are interested in being a vendor  email Lisa Harney

Cost is $35 and a new, unwrapped toy.
October 11th 11-5
Dickmann Town Center

Fall is a time for Beginnings


I love the Fall.  Memories of getting new clothes and shoes for school, new school supplies, new friends, new beginnings.

However, for many families in our community this is a time of added anxiety. Parents desire to provide the things their children need, but for these families there is no money for new shoes to fit growing feet, no money for new school uniforms, clothing or warm gear for the winter.Back-to-school-clothing


Secret Families of Madison County ends up filling in those gaps with the presents we provide to our families. Most of the gifts purchased are new shoes, jeans, winter jackets, underwear and socks. Those items can eat up our $100/person budget pretty quickly.

So, during this fall, can you be thinking of ways to help us help the struggling families in your community?  Please contact us to let us know how you plan to help. This will be a great encouragement to us.

Can you plan NOW to:

  1. Put away some $ each week

    in preparation to sponsor a portion of a family ($100 per person, ½ a family of 5 – $275, an entire family of 5 – $550).

  2. Involve your friends, family, co-workers, small group

    to join you in this effort to expand your reach if going it alone seems like too large a task.

  3. Ask your extended family to put Christmas Gift $ for adults to SFMC instead.

    Then ask them to help on the first Saturday to shop, wrap and deliver. You may be shaking up the status quo, but it will be for a good reason.

  4. Ask your employer if they can sponsor a family or two

    this year instead of having a Christmas party or providing employee gifts. Then plan to get a group together to shop, wrap or deliver gifts to have a team-building experience.

  5. Ask your church if they can add Secret Families of Madison County to their Christmas outreach.

    There’s room for us and Operation Christmas Child (Shoebox) and Angel Tree. We would love to come and talk to your pastor or missions committee about how they can get involved.

  6. Ask your civic or social clubs to sponsor a family.

    We love going out and speaking to groups about Secret Families.

  7. Join our planning team

    to assist in fundraising in the Madison County area. Our team is so good that people think we have tons of people on our board, but we can count ourselves on one hand. We need your help.

We have so many terrific volunteers who sacrifice their time on the first Saturday of December to make a happy Christmas a reality for our families. But the sad truth is that without the fundraising, financial commitments and sacrifice of others to donate to Secret Families of Madison County, we will not have the money to purchase our gift cards to shop for these families.

Fall is also time of year when SFMC contacts the schools to let them know how many families we are committing to help this Christmas.

This is done every year without the funds to back up those numbers in our bank account. God is always faithful and has provided every year. Along with your prayers for our ministry we need to know that you are behind us financially this year, in whatever way you are able to assist.

Thank you!

Help Us Stock Up for Next Year!

Help Us Stock Up for Next Year!

We hope you are experiencing a warm and loving Christmas today. Please know that your support of Secret Families of Madison County, helped 70 families have a COMPLETE Christmas – a tree with decorations, gifts (necessities – like clothing, shoes, underwear and also toys and wants) to put under it for every member of the household, a gift card that enabled them to purchase Christmas dinner and a Bible to read about the One we celebrate this season.

Being a non-profit, it’s important for us to watch closely after our finances. In order to do what we do and help the most people we can, we have to take advantage of those after Christmas sales to stock up on supplies for the coming year.  We do not have the extra funds in our account to do this for ourselves.  We are asking all of those special folks who dare to go out on December 26th and thereafter, looking for deals, to look for deals for us too!

We are in need of the following items for 2015.

  • boxes of Christmas Lights , multi-colored or white (Hobby Lobby usually has them for 70% off @ $1.66/box)
  • plastic canisters of unbreakable ornaments 30 count (Rose’s, Ollie’s and Big Lots have great prices)
  • tree stands for smaller LIVE 4-5′ trees
  • Christmas wrapping paper (30″ rolls only, please – easier to store)
  • Upright storage bins for 30″ rolls of wrapping paper
  • Adhesive gift tags

Just contact us and we can arrange to collect your donated deals.

Thank you so much! Many blessings to you in the New Year!


These are some photos of the supplies that work best for us.

WP_20141225_14_33_12_Pro WP_20141225_14_28_51_ProWP_20141225_14_27_31_Pro

Update from Secret Families’ Saturday 2014

Heart Ornament

We just wanted to update you on what transpired last weekend when we had our shopping, wrapping and delivery event on Saturday, 12/6.

Secret Families of Madison County was able to:

  • deliver 330 bags of gifts, one for each person living in the household that you referred to us,
    • Many of our shoppers gave out of their own pockets, if they went over our $90 per family member budget, just to make sure the families got what they needed.
  • give out 68 – $50 Meijer gift cards for Christmas Dinners,
  • hand out 68 Bibles,
  • deliver 36 live Christmas Trees (donated by Blue Grass Farms), to the families who requested one,  with 2 boxes of lights, a big canister of ornaments and a tree stand,
  • give a  ‘Dr. Wonder’s Workshop’ DVD to each family, donated by Silent Blessings Deaf Ministry ( . Read the amazing story behind this one!
    • One of our families had ‘text’ entered by their contact phone. When they were contacted, via text, to talk about starting the interview for their gift list, they wanted to do it only  by texting. When they were told this wouldn’t work, they decided to come down to the interviewer’s office and get the list filled out in person. When the family arrived, the interviewer did not realize the parents were deaf. After fumbling around a bit, she printed out the interview form and had one of the parents fill it out. Then she remembered that, across the hall  the Silent Blessings Deaf Ministry had an office. Their Executive Director, Reverend Marshall Lawrence, just happened to be in the office that day and was able to translate for the interviewer and family. We call this a God-incidence. We gave Mr. Lawrence our Secret Families’ flyer. Afterwards, he was so touched that he decided to bless all of the 68 families with a DVD.

Please share this great news with others. We hope our families felt blessed this year, because we were sure blessed by serving them.

We are looking forward to spreading more Christmas joy in Jesus’ name next year in 2015.

Merry Christmas!

‘Twas The Night Before Secret Families’ Saturday

Family with Presents 2

‘Twas the night before Secret Families’ Saturday,
when all thro’ the gang, not a worry was stirring, not even one sprang;
‘Cuz all families were interviewed and lists were compiled,
stories were shared and wishes were made for each child;
and the bags were all marked and rolled up with care,
In hopes that our shoppers soon would be there;
The wrapping paper rolls nestled all snug in their bins,
with visions of happy children, smiling with grins,

And the Red Ribbon crew, having marked all the homes,
Had just settled their routes with their delivery gnomes —
When early next morning, there appeared such a queue,
Meijer shoppers arriving, to do what they do.
Away to the food court, they flew like a flash,
to hear their instructions then off to shop with a dash.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But shoppers returning with carts- filled up to here,
With gifts for each person all tucked in their sacks,
making sure, in that family, that no one would lack.
The coffee and donuts sustaining the crowd,
while using those mPerks, of those savings, they’re proud.

More rapid than eagles the gift cards were scanned,
then bags, out the door, driven to wrapping land.
“Now! Scissors, now! Tape, now! Tags” were apply’in
and to deliveries, those gifts were a fly’in

“On! Minivans, on! SUVs, on! Pickups and Cars!;
“To their front doors! To those families, ours!”
A Christmas tree given with lights, bulbs and stand,
So their holiday season would not be so bland;
A Meijer gift card for their Christmas Dinner,
plus a Bible, so they could know the One who saved Sinners.

Then they met with our peeps and received all their gifts;
with warm hugs and prayers, their spirits got lifts
from a heart full of thanks — and Jesus too:
And then in a twinkling, they were off to the next,
The caravan leaving and continuing treks.

70 families – blessed, and all taken care of,
by donors, volunteers and the Good Lord of love:
We give thanks to you all, who have given a hoot,
And joined with us, in this fun, Christmas pursuit.
Until next year, when we will bless once again

Happy Christmas to all, and to all an amen!.

Get a taste…

In keeping with the theme of eating this weekend, come get a taste of what we do on our Secret Families’ Saturday.  Please enjoy the following video made by Stephen Perry Enterprises at our 2013 Secret Families’ Saturday!


Leap of Faith

A few weeks ago, we contacted our schools and asked for four (4) families from each elementary and one family from each Private School that accepts Vouchers. We are already starting to get family information back!

Please start praying for these schools, that they will choose wisely;
for the families and for us, that we will be a blessing to them.

It’s hard to believe that in just 5 weeks, we’ll be shopping, wrapping and delivering gifts to these families..

Secret Families’ Saturday: 

That is the fun part of what we do.

Getting a glimpse into a family’s life. Needs conveyed over the phone and transferred to a shopping list.

It’s intimate.

Through shopping for and wrapping their gifts, you can see needs being fulfilled.

  • like the family with no bedding,
  • the single Dad who doesn’t have any towels,
  • the Mom who asked for shampoo…

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Who wouldn’t feel amazing after assisting family after family? That’s what brings our volunteers back each year – giving to others in the name of Jesus and being a part of something beyond yourself.

Here’s where the leap of faith comes in…

Leap of Faith

Secret Families of Madison County commits to serving these families way before we have the financial  capability to do so; our goal is not even a remote possibility.

Every year.

But since 2010, God has been faithful to work on people’s hearts (individuals and companies alike) to give and help us reach or exceed the number of families we have committed to.

Every year.

This year, our 70 families equates to $38,500 that we need to raise. As of this writing, we are funded for almost 13 families (@ $7,100).

57 families unfunded.

We need YOU to help us bridge that gap.

We all love the energy and seeing the results of Secret Families’ Saturday. But we can’t get there without funding; without individuals deciding to donate to make this happen.


Help us get there.

  •  Tell your adult friends and family to donate to Secret Families in your name instead of buying you a Christmas gift.
  • Decide to give donations in your friends’ and families’ names (we have cards you can hand them as their gift)
     christmas donation cards
  • Get your friends, co-workers and club members to chip in to take care of a family. Ten people donating $50.
  •  Put on a fundraiser for us (bake sale, BINGO, rummage, scrapbooking, concert, a dinner or a dance)
  • Challenge another group or company to a fundraising race to see who can raise the most money.

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination and desire to help us help others.

Together, we can put a lot of smiles on children’s faces this season.

Focusing on Jesus this Holiday through Nativity Sets

We lived in California prior to coming to Anderson, Indiana in 2006. One of the wonderful things about the holiday season was an event called ‘No Room At the Inn’. It was put on to benefit homeless families, but the focal point was an array of nativity scenes from across the area. This event was at a different church every year across the county. A small fee was charge for you to meander through the displays, they were set up on tables with little cards next to each set, detailing who the owner was, where the set was acquired, the materials in which it was made. They ranged from fancy pieces to whimsical ones made from driftwood or bowling pins.There was soft Christmas music piped in to add to the reverence of the event. I always looked forward to this, as it began the season with a focus on Jesus. Here’s a link to their site.

Since moving here, I’ve always wanted an event like this to take place in Anderson and even suggested it to other non-profits as a  fundraising idea. But now, God has given us the opportunity to hold a similar event during our Fall Into Christmas – Arts, Crafts and Vendor Fair at the Mounds Mall on October 25th.

It will be in a store front inside the Mall. We will be setting up tables and roping off space between the tables and the flow of traffic. I’ve already contacted a ton of churches in the area to share this event with the members of their congregations. If you have an amazing nativity display you’d like to share with the community or a home-made one from natural materials or Lego’s or whatever, we’d love for you to turn in an application. This helps us know how many sets we need to make room for and how to organize their placement at the event. It also helps us prepare information cards that tells about the set.  The set owner will be responsible for setting up the piece and taking it down at the end.

It will not cost anything for you to share your set, but we will ask for a free-will offering for folks to move through the display. These proceeds will help us sponsor 100 families this Christmas.

Who Are Our Families?

I can’t tell you…

Well, we aren’t called Secret Families of Madison County for nothing, ya’know!

But, I can tell you the general make up of our families.

  • All are referred to us from their child’s school
  • All are on reduced or free lunch programs at their schools
  • Many are from single parent homes – last year, many of these were headed by the father
  • Many are grandparents raising their grandchildren
  • Some are having difficulties finding employment or had gotten a salary cut
  • Some are caring for elderly grandparents or children with disabilities
  • A few of our families were homeless
  • A few had extensive medical expenses
  • A few had no transportation or no means of communication                                                                       (no cell phone, imagine it – or no money to purchase minutes)
  • Some parents could not work due to child care issues or being on disability
  • Some had nowhere to turn due to strained family relations
  • One had just returned from prison and was trying to make a fresh start
  • A few lost everything due to
    • mold in their homes
    • bed bugs not taken care of by their landlord
    • a house fire
    • nasty divorces

Can you see your way to helping us give these families hope during Christmas?

Please consider donating to bless 100 families this year.

  • $10 can provide a family Bible
  • $25 can provide a tree stand, ornaments and bulbs for their Blue Grass Farms Tree
  • $50 can provide a gift card for Christmas dinner
  • $100 can provide one family member with gifts (mostly clothing, shoes and winter gear)
  • $275 can sponsor half a family (average family of 5)
  • $550 can sponsor an entire family (average family of 5)






Why $550?

Money $550. That’s what it takes to provide a complete Christmas for the average, struggling family of five through Secret Families. This includes:

  • gifts  for every member of in the household
  • a $50 Meijer gift card to provide for their Christmas dinner
  • tree supplies: two strands of lights, two boxes of bulbs and a tree stand
  • a Bible
  • HOPE that they are cared for by their community

So, why $550?

Let’s break it down:

  • gifts”  (This item is in quotes because, in truth, much of what these families receive  are necessities – which we’ll explore further in another post). We like to use $90 / per person as our benchmark. Since we shop at Meijer, management allows us to take advantage of their sales that day. Last year, most of our volunteers signed up for mPerks and clipped electronic coupons to decrease prices and increase the blessings for these families. **We use Meijer gift cards to pay for these items during our 1st Saturday of December event day. So, like the $50 cards,  we can purchase these, on-line, before our event. If we have enough donations in our account, we can pay cash and  get the full 4% discount ($18/family). If we don’t, we can use our VISA for a 3% discount ($13.50/family).
  • a $50 Meijer gift card -$50 is $50 right? Not if you purchase these ahead of time, on-line, at a 4% discount. Cost: Roughly $48, there is a cost for shipping to our location.
  • tree supplies: Only 60% of our families request trees, which  are donated by Blue Grass Farms in Anderson. However, the price of the other items vary widely, depending on if they are donated, on sale, or  full price. That’s why we love those after Christmas sales and encourage our supporters to snatch up those items and donate. Costs:. $0-25
  • a Bible:: the price of which also varies depending upon receiving donations and the quality of the item given. Costs:  $0-10
  • HOPE – priceless

So, that ranges between $529.50 to $564.50 per family of five and that’s why $550..
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