Grinch steals donations from Indy church, community responds with ultimate Christmas spirit

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A Grinch may have stolen holiday donations from one local church, but no one can take away Christmas spirit.

The burglar broke into a storage unit at Church 52 in late June and made off with toys, clothes and electronics. The east side church holds an annual Christmas shopping experience for hundreds of families in need.

“I’m not gonna sugar coat it, I was broken," said Church 52 outreach coordinator Jamie Inskeep of the burglary.

During the event, parents can pick out gifts for their kids much like at a store. They also have resources on hand to empower families to reach a better financial standing.

“We don't want to enable families we want to empower them to provide for themselves," Inskeep said.

It takes the church a year to prepare, so the theft was a big blow. After CBS4’s coverage of the crime, they received thousands of dollars in donations. Eventually, the Pacers gave them a call to pledge 500 toys this winter. They will be one of the locations for the annual Pacers toy giveaway. So far, none of the other locations in the state have been announced.

“We were like ‘all these kids now have to go without or with less?’” said Kelli Towles, the Pacers Senior Director of community relations. "We were like, ‘Oh my goodness!’ What a great opportunity for us to give back? We hadn’t really got into the New Pal area yet [for their giveaways.]”

“Something that meant for so much bad and negative has been turned to something so positive," Inskeep said through a smile.

There will be another fundraising event for the Christmas shop coming up in September. Bikers are lining up a poker run ride at Lena’s Sugar Shack. Inskeep said registration is $25 and that bikers will be showing up around 11 a.m.

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