It may be the middle of a hot summer, but some important work is being done now to make sure many local children in the Jackson County area will have a merrier Christmas.

Jackson-based businessman Jason Gillum has been had at work organizing the 5th annual Jeepin’ 4 Joy event, which is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 8. The event, which features a long Jeep ride through scenic Southeastern Ohio, also serves as a main fundraiser for the annual JAFE Joyful Christmas project, which raises money and provides Christmas gifts for needy and underprivileged children in Jackson County.

Gillum founded the project and has continued to be the main organizer. Last year’s event raised $4,200 and wound up serving 700 local families. Registration is continuing for the Aug. 8 event, but Gillum reports that approximately 100 Jeeps are already registered to participate.

Riders must be checked in no later than 1:30 p.m. and the ride will begin promptly at 2 p.m. The gathering and takeoff point will be behind the Homestead Country Market (the old Carter Lumber site) located on State Route 327, just off the State Route 32 exit near Wellston. As always, the route is being kept secret until the day of the ride. When the ride is over, an outdoor concert featuring Nashville recording artist Shane Runion will take place at the last stop.

Due to the social-distancing recommendation and other safety concerns, organizers are offering the following suggestions to prospective participants:

• Get a full tank of gas before you come to the take-off location.

• Bring your own food and drink.

• A portable grill might come in handy for the last stop.

• Bring a few lawn chairs for the passengers of your Jeep. If you are sitting, you aren’t spreading anything.

• Bring a bathing suit and change of clothes if you plan to go down the slide. (Maybe rig up a curtain to change behind.)

• There will be portable restrooms, but participants may want to bring their own sanitizer and toilet paper.

The registration cost is $45 and includes a T-shirt and a Jeepin 4 Joy decal as long as the supplies last. Pre-registration can be done through a link on the Jeepin 4 Joy Facebook page. Same-day registration is also available although late registrants may have to wait for their T-shirts and decals.