By Nancy Price
The generous spirit of a Center Grove teenager remembered for giving local children a special Christmas lives on each holiday season through a nonprofit called Megan’s Fund.
Fifteen years ago, Megan Williams, 17, was a Center Grove High School junior, honor roll student, served on the court of the Johnson County Fair Queen Pageant and was vice president of the school’s Key Club. A volunteer for the Indianapolis Children’s Bureau, Williams had a passion for helping others, especially children, according to Rachel Cline, her best friend at CGHS.
“Megan was full of life and loved to help others,” said Cline.
On Dec. 17, 2005, Williams was on her way to buy Christmas gifts for children through a program, “Hope for the Holidays.” The program, which the Indianapolis Children’s Bureau participates in, accepts donations to underprivileged families. In addition to funds she raised, Williams planned to donate money she earned from her part-time at Finish Line, Inc.
“She was very excited about the specific children she had sponsored and was determined that they would have the best Christmas ever,” added Cline.
Sadly, Williams was killed in a car accident while driving to purchase those gifts.
A year later, “Megan’s mom (Cheryl Bauer) and I wanted to continue Megan’s legacy of giving to children at Christmas time,” said Cline. “Our organization gives to children through the Indianapolis Children’s Bureau, the United Way Christmas Angels and Foster Fairies.”
“We have grown each year and offer different opportunities for fundraising each year,” Cline continued. “This year most everything is being done virtually due to COVID but in past years we have had bowling fundraisers, raffles, canvas painting parties and more to raise money to shop for children in need at Christmas time. With social media, our cause continues to be shared to more and more people each year!”
There are several ways donors may participate:
- Donate cash directly to Megan’s Fund. Funds will be used to buy items for families in need. Donations may be sent to 1041 Barefoot Trail, Greenwood, IN They are also accepted at Chase Bank locations and Urban Euphoria Salon and Spa, 450 S. State Road, 135 C, Greenwood, IN 46142. Business owners may also add a cash or item donation box at their locations.
- Material items. Items typically most in need include personal hygiene (toothpaste, toothbrushes, body wash, deodorant, etc.); children’s books; board games; educational toys; baby essentials (lotion, body wash, diapers, wipes, etc.); hats and gloves (newborn to adult sizes); cleaning supplies; washcloths and towels; grocery gift cards (any denomination); coloring books, crayons and markers; children’s socks, underwear and other clothing items.
- “Adopt” a family in need. Megan’s Fund welcomes individuals, along with families, friends or coworkers to help provide for one of the families picked by the nonprofit. Families may range from an individual to four or five people. Megan’s Fund will let you know what the family needs; all that is required is shopping for the family.
“Our greatest need at the moment is for sponsors for individual children or for toy donations for children that do not get sponsored,” said Cline.
“Megan’s Fund helped our family during the Christmas season 2015 when my husband was diagnosed with cancer,” said Andrea Sutton of Whiteland. “They provided our children with Christmas cheer at a time when it was needed most. Every year since that year we have given back by either sponsoring children or donating items for their raffles and events they have throughout the year. I am so grateful to be able to help give back to this amazing organization that gave so much to my family!”
“Megan has touched so many lives I the short 17 years that she was here, and in the years since she has passed,” said Cline. “Megan’s legacy has continued to live on through hundreds of children’s smiling faces each Christmas morning! I think Megan would be in awe at the difference she has made, and the amount of lives she has touched in a positive way. We hope to continue to grow and help reach more children each year.”
Cline invites those interested in participating, as well as those with ideas on fundraising to contact Megan’s Fund by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or send a message on the organization’s Facebook page. The nonprofit also has a website with further information: megansfund.webs.com.