MONROE COUNTY, Ind. - Thousands of dollars in gifts meant for homebound seniors were stolen days before Santa was set to make his deliveries.
Nonprofit groups Area 10 Agency for Aging and Home Instead planned on delivering 400 gifts worth $5,000 to elderly clients in Monroe and Owen counties next week.
But that was before the volunteer who was storing the gifts in his garage made a heart-dropping discovery Thursday.
"He came out and said, 'Did you pick everything up?' And I said, 'Nope.' And he said, 'Then we have a problem,'" said Joe Yonkman with Home Instead. "We went in and there were a few bags here and there, and some stuff had fallen out of bags, but for the most part, everything was gone."
The gifts included essentials, such as blankets, towels, lotion socks and pillows.
Organizers are now scrambling to collect 400 new gifts by next week.
"The Santa Express is rolling on Friday morning. And if we have to stay up all Thursday night wrapping presents, I can't imagine a better way to spend Thursday night," said Kerry Conway with Area 10 Agency for Aging.
The gifts may have been stolen, but the grinches haven't taken the groups' determination to give seniors in need a merry Christmas.
"All I can hope is they undergo a similar metamorphosis as the Grinch did, when his heart grew two sizes and he brought the gifts back," Conway said. "It would be nice if our Grinch would do that, too."
Donations can be dropped off at Area 10 on Edgewood Drive in Ellettsville. Cash donations are also welcome. For more information, click here .