There is group of kids in our community that could slip through the cracks and end up with nothing, or very little, for Christmas if it wasn't for the Santa Store run by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. The goal is to make sure every child they serve has a bright Christmas when the situation they are in may seem dim.
Come Christmas morning, all these gifts in the DFPS Santa Store will be under a child in need's tree.
"We served over 1000 kids in the Santa Store last year. We'll serve even more this year. These gifts will go very very quickly. We want to make sure that every child has at least a couple of gifts under their tree to open," said Shari Pulliam with DFPS.
In order to do that, the DFPS takes donations for the children they serve. Pulliam says, "So we would love for people to donate. We're in need of bikes, winter clothing, coats, sweaters and hats for children.
Case workers like Justin Miller work with 20 to 30 kids in crisis at a time. They come to the store and select gifts for those children to make sure they have something under the tree. But he says it's about much more than the gift. He says, "It helps them to see that there are other people who care, people who they don't even necessarily know, and that has a direct effect on the levels of abuse and neglect with our families and it helps to drive the number down."
It also helps to foster a good relationship between the case worker and the child in what is most likely a very difficult time during the child's life, especially older children and teens who are often forgotten.
Pulliam says, "They think about children for Christmas. They think about young children, babies and toddlers. We probably have more older children over the age of 12 that we are serving these days and those teenagers do sometimes go without. So we're really in need of things that a teenager would like to open on Christmas morning. "
The Santa Store is open. Now they just hope open hearts will donate. If you would like to donate, you can take the items to the Santa's Store which is located at Aldersgate Methodist Church at 36-hundred Memorial... in Port Arthur before Friday at Noon. Or if you can't drop your donation by there, they have Santa's helpers who can come pick them up for you. Just give DFPS a call at 409-951-3351. They prefer the gifts to be unwrapped
If you can't make the Friday Noon deadline, DFPS needs donations all year round for their children in crisis, so you can donate to their rainbow room any time of year.
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