Christmas is for Children
by Rhonda Ross
Twenty years ago, two social workers answered letters to Santa Claus from New York’s “dead letter” box bringing Christmas to four needy families. One letter pulled from the giant barrel of lost wishes was from a young boy in Newark who simply said, “Please, I want an Atari.” Realizing that children needed more than just warm clothing to realize their hopes and dreams, Christmas is for Children (CIFC) was founded with the vision of bringing needy children something they need, something they want, and something educational. Admittedly making it up as they went along, CIFC grew from helping four families that first year to becoming a legal, not-for-profit, organization that brought the joy of the holidays to 750 families the very next year.
One of those first two social workers brought CIFC with her to Texas when she relocated with her family in 1991. Since then, Trisha Murphy Rae and an army of volunteers have continued to work with other charitable organizations like GRACE, Battered Women’s Foundation, and Kids Matter International, and many more to assist in bringing a happy holiday to families in need. With a yearly average of 1,500 angels, CIFC has helped more than 35,000 children experience the magic of Christmas over the past 20 years. In addition CIFC delivers 1,200 food baskets yearly providing families a holiday feast.
There are a variety of ways to get involved this Christmas and every year. Sponsor an angel and help fulfill the Santa’s Wish list of a child. You can fulfill needs of clothing, shoes and jackets, provide educational items like books and school supplies, and provide just for fun items.
ALTRUSA will deliver 6,000 bags throughout Southlake on December 3rd and 4th so plan to participate in the Red Bag Food Drive to help collect food to fill the baskets to the brim. The chock-full bags will be picked up on December 10th and 11th and the food drive continues on December 16th with Helping Hands day where more than 50 students from Dawson Middle School will donate their time to help sort the large amounts of food in preparation for filling the holiday baskets. The food drive and basket assembly has become a family tradition for many Southlake families. With 1,200 baskets to assemble and deliver CIFC needs more than 350 volunteers to help them make December 17th, delivery day, a success.
Trisha’s son Austin Rae, and his friend, Will Johnson started Battle of the Boxes three years ago in an effort to collect name-brand cereals, a much needed item, for the food baskets. Since then the friendly competition between Carroll High School and Grapevine High School has brought in more than 7,000 boxes of cereal. This year, Austin’s brother, Kyle, and Will’s brother, Patrick, will continue the tradition in true Dragon style. Have your students bring their boxes to school during the Battle.
This year, make plans to help Christmas is for Children continue their mission to bestow charity in a way that allows DFW Metroplex families retain their dignity while providing them with the care, love, and joy that comprise the spirit of Christmas and the Holiday season. For more information and details on how to volunteer visit the website at www.christmasisforchildren.com. You may find that you receive much more than you give.