For the third year in a row, the Children’s Center created a pop-up store to serve the children served by CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Center. Some CASA children were still served the traditional way. The pop-up store gave parents, caregivers or advocates an opportunity to select presents for their children. Each child got one or more books and either a coat, hoodie or pair of shoes. Each family got one family board game, wrapping paper and gift bags. Caregivers were also able to select toys and other gifts using a point system which gave each child 5-10 gifts.
“Over the years, our traditional way of doing Christmas had grown to be more than our staff could reasonably manage. We learned of this pop-up store idea from other Children’s Advocacy Centers,” 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.”
“Over and over again, we heard parents and other caregivers express their gratitude for this help for Christmas,” said Barber. “There were even some happy tears and lots of hugs of appreciation too.” One mother and grandmother were very excited to find cowboy boots in the exact size needed for their child.
“The generosity of our community was overwhelming and heartwarming once again. So many individuals, businesses, churches and other groups gave what they could. It all added up to make sure ALL the children served by CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Center have something special for Christmas,” said Barber. “This effort would also not be possible without our volunteers, board members and staff who worked hard to set up the store, run it and then take it all down.”
Eighteen local businesses set up teddy bear trees to help collect gifts for the children, including Blessings & Butterflies, Bonham Chrysler, Bonham Veterinary Clinic, Brookshire’s Grocery, CapTex Bank, Fannin Bank, Farm N Home Casualty (Pierson and Fendley Insurance), First United Bank, Gayle’s Restaurant, Honey Grove Library & Learning Center, Legend Bank, Red River Gypsies, Scriptx Honey Grove Pharmacy, Stay Grounded Coffee Company, Tax-Assessor Collector’s Office (Tag Office), Texas Farm Bureau Insurance, Veritex Bank and WalMart.
“Many of these businesses have been doing this for many years. A few were new this year,” said Barber. “We are very grateful for their support and generosity!”
Gifting The Cycle is a nonprofit that gives bicycles to children in the North Texas area. They gave 40 bicycles and helmets to the Children’s Center for Christmas presents. The United Methodist Women of Leonard and the Elvis Lives Texas Style group were two of many groups to donate lots or presents again this year.
When the Rock Yard in Trenton held their second annual Thanksgiving community meal in November, they set out a donation jar. The meal was offered for free and no donations were expected. They collected a grand total of $3000 in cash donations for Christmas presents for the Children’s Center.