Around the State
Special to The Dallas Examiner | 12/21/2015, 10:40 a.m.
Special to The Dallas Examiner
Children of prisoners are silent victims, but this Christmas St. Paul United Methodist Church brought a voice to about 100 children for its first ever Ultimate Christmas Party on Wednesday. The outreach program of St. Paul and the partnership with Prison Ministry Fellowship identified children in surrounding Downtown Dallas ZIP codes whose parents are incarcerated and shared the desire of their incarcerated parent for their children to have gifts for Christmas. The gift requests were distributed to church members, friends and co-workers and hundreds of wrapped gifts poured into the church over the past three weeks and tonight is the ultimate event – giving gifts that are wrapped with personal notes from their incarcerated parent to the children.
“To be able to support the parents who are parenting through incarceration for what should be a joyous season is very rewarding for us,” St. Paul Lead Pastor Richie Butler said. “So often in our society, we throw away compassion with the inmate and ignore the families. Tonight is a way for us to not just engage this evening, but to become a supportive place for parents and guardians who have stepped up to care for these children in the absence of a parent.”
In an effort to help homeless children have a merry Christmas, Dallas County Health and Human Services and Iota Mu Sigma Chapter once again partnered with Vogel Alcove to provide gifts to homeless children. The Iota Mu Sigma Chapter and Sigma Beta Club members collected toys from their members to donate to Vogel Alcove.
For almost 25 years, Vogel Alcove has provided free, quality child development services for Dallas’ youngest victims of poverty – homeless children 6 weeks to 5 years old. Vogel Alcove is the only free comprehensive early childhood education program in the city of Dallas whose primary focus is to provide free childcare and case management for children and their families residing at 18 local emergency and domestic violence shelters and housing programs.
On Saturday, thousands of Southern Dallas families will gather at Fair Park for the 17th Annual Christmas in the Park. Some will come for basic necessities like clothes and food while others will come to find a toy or bike to help make a child’s Christmas wish come true. There is also a Coats for Kids section where brand new winter coats will be handed out. Run by the S.M. Wright Foundation, a non-profit organization providing support and stability to inner-city underprivileged children and less fortunate families in the South Dallas/Fair Park community, Christmas in the Park has grown from serving less than 200 underprivileged kids in 1998 to over 40,000 residents last year. An estimated 40,000 Southern Dallas residents will participate in this year’s event.
Dallas City Councilmember Adam McGough (District 10) greeted mothers and their children on Wednesday with holiday treats as they celebrated the commencement of their first semester of ESL and parenting classes. “This holiday season we decided to honor the mothers who struggle to provide for their children but go the extra mile to ensure a brighter future for their families,” McGough said.