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INDIANAPOLIS — The nonprofit The Christmas Experience is raising money this holiday season not only for toys but to help central Indiana families move past difficult times.

Parents who apply and are approved to participate can shop for free for new toys, clothes, coats and shoes from a “store” set up by the nonprofit. They’re also offered guidance and connected to a wide variety of community resources to make a long-term difference in their lives.

Families have access to a food pantry, free haircuts, family photos, resume and job-seeking assistance, financial counselors, child support service representatives and more.

If you’d like to get involved, there are several ways to help:

Donations are tax-deductible, and 100% of the money goes to Hoosier families.

The Christmas Experience is also accepting applications from families, referred to as guests, who would like to receive assistance. Complete this online application to be considered.

The nonprofit prioritizes families by the most dire need, and it also receives referrals from school counselors and school districts, church members, community colleges, local jails and more.

The Christmas Experience got its start in 2010, serving 24 kids that year. In 2020, the organization helped 131 families and 402 children.

The nonprofit said it is prepared to grow much larger this year, if donations allow.