United Christmas Service Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is United Christmas Service and how does it work?

Since the beginning of our United Christmas Service (UCS) program in 1952, United Way of Central Indiana has provided holiday assistance to families in need. Caseworkers from our partner organizations refer qualified families to UCS. To be qualified, households must meet income requirements and demonstrate significant basic needs challenges. To donate visit uwci.org/ucs or send a check to United Christmas Service, Dept 8692, PO Box 2303, Indianapolis, IN 46206.


Q. My group sponsored a family last year, can we do that again in 2017?

Thank you for helping our community through the UCS Family Sponsorship Program in past years. Families with the greatest needs were referred to the program by over 100 partnering agencies and then matched with sponsors like you, resulting in $300,000 in gift assistance. While we appreciate the generosity of sponsor groups like yours, UCS will not offer the Family Sponsorship Program in 2017. Instead, households will be eligible for a Direct Assistance voucher. This voucher (a.k.a “Merry Money”) provides financial support during the holiday season while connecting families in need to community agencies providing case management services year-round.


Q. We are interested in supporting United Christmas Service but are also looking to sponsor a family directly. Do you have a recommendation?

Research has shown that UCS can reach more individuals and families through the Direct Assistance Program; however, if you are interested in sponsoring a family directly, please call us at 317-921-1372 and our team will match you with a community agency serving families in need this holiday season.


Q. What is a Direct Assistance voucher (a.k.a. “Merry Money”)?

A UCS Direct Assistance voucher is a onetime use voucher of $30/person or $120/family of four.  It can be exchanged in a variety of local stores to help families purchase basic needs items such as clothing, food and toys. Vouchers cannot be used to purchase tobacco or alcohol products.  These vouchers cannot be cashed or used to pay outstanding bills.


Q. How are individuals and families selected?

Individuals and families participating in UCS are referred by a trained caseworker from one of United Way’s 100+ referral partners. Families are selected based on the household’s challenges to meeting their basic needs. Prioritization of households is determined with income guidelines and self-sufficiency qualification criteria.


Q. Can I write a note to the family receiving our voucher?

Yes! We encourage anyone who would like to personalize their contribution to a family in need to use the attached holiday paper. Return your note wishing the family good cheer during the holidays with your payment, and the United Christmas Service team will share it with the family receiving your support. For additional templates, including one for children, or to make additional donations, visit our website at www.uwci.org/ucs.

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