In all, 224 children served by the Fannin County Children’s Center will have gifts of coats, shoes, books, games, toys and other items to open on Christmas morning, thanks to several generous donors and many hard-working volunteers and staff.
This year’s effort to provide Christmas presents for the children and youth served by CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Center looked different than in year’s past. Some of the changes were due to the pandemic, but others were because the agency’s caseload has grown so much in recent years.
This year the staff and volunteers of the Children’s Center created a pop-up store at the Bonham Armory for the week of December 14. Parents, caregivers or advocates came to the store at a designated times to “shop” for the children in their care. Each child got a book and either a coat, hoodie or pair of shoes. Each family got one family board game and plenty of wrapping paper. Caregivers were also able to select toys and other gifts using a point system.
“For the last few years, our traditional way of doing Christmas had grown to be more than our staff could reasonably manage. I started asking other CASA and CAC programs how they did Christmas, and we learned of this pop-up store idea,” said Sandy Barber of the Children’s Center. “This way of getting gifts to kids turned out to be much more empowering for our families and allowed for more volunteer involvement.”
“Our community was amazing in their generosity once again! So many people gave what they could and it all added up to make sure all of the children served by CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Center have something special for Christmas,” said Barber.
Rebel Roots Boutique, WalMart, Bonham Chrysler, CapTex, Legend Bank, First United Bank, Fannin Federal Credit Union, Fix and Feed, Tax Assessor Collector Office, Blessings and Butterflies, Stay Grounded Coffee Company, Warrior Tire, Red River Gypsies and 9-1-1 Nutrition put up teddy bear trees to help the center collect presents. “Many of these businesses have been doing this for as long as anyone can remember. Some places were new this year too,” said Barber. “We are very grateful for their faithful and generous support of our Christmas Drive.”
Gifting The Cycle is a nonprofit that gives bicycles to children in the North Texas area. They gave 50 bicycles to the Children’s Center for Christmas presents.
Presents were given to the children and youth who are being served by the Children’s Center’s two primary programs: CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Center. Some of the children are living in foster homes, away from family and friends. Other children have gone to live with grandparents or other relatives as a result of abuse or neglect. Many of these families struggle financially when one or more children suddenly come to live with them. In other families, the discovery of sexual abuse in the home has meant the loss of family income when the offender leaves.