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November 2020

Helping Hoosiers This Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is almost here and Christmas is right around the corner. Let us use the holiday season to help fellow Hoosiers. With the challenges we are facing, many could use a helping hand, and there are plenty of opportunities to help.

The gift of blood helps save numerous lives. Approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S. and every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. Safety protocols are being followed in accordance with CDC guidelines at every blood drive to ensure donators are protected. Hoosiers can donate blood in Indiana at Red Cross drives as well as Versiti Blood Center of Indiana. Other locations and contact information for donating blood can be found by visiting the Indiana Department of Health website.

Another way to help those in need is by giving money to organizations like the Salvation Army. Every year, the Salvation Army hosts a Red Kettle campaign and collects money for those in need. They provide for homeless shelters, stock food pantries, help struggling families pay bills and gift clothes and toys to children through their Angel Tree program. Unfortunately, the pandemic caused many in-person Red Kettle events to be canceled. While some bell ringers are collecting money at select locations, recruiting enough people to help is a challenge. Hoosiers can fill the void and register to become a bell ringer here, as well as donate online here.

Volunteers and donations are needed at food banks across the state, especially as they experience a 154% increase in visits from those in need. With older Hoosiers making up a majority of volunteers at food banks, there is a need for others who are not in the pandemic’s high-risk category to step in. To learn about volunteering, click here, and to donate, click here.

For more ways to safely help others this holiday season and beyond, visit in.gov/serveindiana. Whether donating blood, giving money to organizations supporting our communities, or volunteering at food banks, we can all do our part to bless others. May you and those dear to you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Spotlight On National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month, and to celebrate, the Indiana Department of Child Services and Indiana Supreme Court are highlighting the state’s adoption program and sharing stories of Hoosier children who have found their forever homes.

The Stories of DCS is a webpage featuring blog posts and a podcast about various adoptive families in Indiana. There is also a social media campaign about the virtues of adoption via Twitter (@IndianaDCS) and Instagram (@VoicesofDCS). Among those stories is the Bower family, who didn’t want their son to be an only child. When their plans to have another baby didn’t work out, they looked into adoption. Over the years they’ve fostered more than 15 children, providing a nurturing environment until they could go home, and fully adopted three of them.

Indiana House Republicans have championed legislation increasing funding for DCS, limiting caseloads for social workers, allowing young Hoosiers to receive foster care services through age 21 and establishing an adoption program within DCS to help our most vulnerable children. These actions helped Indiana rank first in the nation for its increase in the number of adoptions from foster care. Nearly 2,500 Hoosier children were adopted last year. Because of this, the federal government awarded the state almost $5 million to support the Indiana Adoption Program’s continuing efforts to find loving families for foster children.

The work continues. There are more than 1,500 children in Indiana eligible for adoption, with nearly 300 of those seeking new families. National Adoption Day is Saturday, Nov. 21. To help mark the occasion, the Indiana Supreme Court signed a permanent order allowing media to broadcast uncontested adoption proceedings so Hoosiers can witness the joy when foster children are officially united with new families.

Learn more about our young Hoosiers waiting for adoption at IndianaAdoptionProgram.org.

Thank You, Veterans, For Your Service

Wednesday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day. On this special day, we come together as a nation to honor and reflect on the bravery of the nearly 20 million Americans who have served in the U.S. armed forces.  

Indiana is home to more than 550,000 veterans. To celebrate these local heroes and their families, communities are organizing in-person and virtual programs. From the Tell City Veterans of Foreign Wars ceremony to the Honor Walk at the Baptist Health Floyd and the drive-thru, take-home lunch offered to all veterans in and around Hamilton County, we can safely work to make sure our veterans know they are appreciated.

Be sure to also visit VeteransDayIndy.org at 11 a.m. on Veterans Day to join the virtual service hosted by the Veterans Day Council of Indianapolis, Inc.

We can all also honor military members and their families by:

  • Viewing the Veterans Portrait Project online at VA.gov;
  • Sending flowers and a card to a family who has a loved one currently serving or who has passed;
  • Offering to put a yard flag up at a veteran’s home;
  • Visiting a Veterans Cemetery;
  • Paying for a service member’s meal; and
  • Supporting local veterans’ nonprofits.

To support our veterans, state representatives joined forces with the American Legion, Department of Indiana during the 2020 legislative session to fill about 250 care packages for homeless Hoosier veterans. We also passed legislation supporting students in military families who are transferred to Indiana, helping military spouses secure employment, remembering fallen heroes and expanding tax benefits on military retirement pensions and survivors’ benefits.

To learn more about these initiatives and resources for Hoosier veterans, click here.

Former service members, those on active duty and military families, please know we appreciate and support your dedication to our great nation. We respect you and your needs. Our freedom is costly, and all Hoosiers should come together on Nov. 11 and beyond to honor those who served.

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