By State Representative Tan Parker
I know that I say this often, but this year truly has flown by! It seems like just yesterday that I was headed into the 85th Legislative Session, then the special session quickly followed by one daughter starting high school and another starting college. Now, Christmas is at our front door with the promise of a new year not too far behind.
Though the end of the year might signal a sense of rush and hurry, I actually find great comfort in knowing that we are embarking on a time of gratitude and giving back. Despite the many economic successes of our state, the reality is there are many families who will face very difficult challenges this holiday season. Our communities are not immune to this and that is why I want to highlight several ways that we can work together to help those who need lifting up especially during this time of giving.
Without question, Denton County is truly a remarkable place with wonderful and concerned citizens who are dedicated to solving problems and putting forth ways that we can make a real difference. This is certainly evident in the number of incredible organizations providing opportunities in the coming months for people to donate and volunteer their time. Here are just a few that I want to mention:
The Flower Mound Police Department and the Flower Mound Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni Association are hosting their eleventh annual Santa Cops Toy Drive. New, unwrapped, non-violent toys and monetary donations will be accepted until December 13th. For more information on drop-off locations, please visit: www.flower-mound.com/1057/Santa-Cops-Program.
If you would like to nominate a family to receive gifts, please fill out the form at flowermound.com/DocumentCenter/View/10639 and return it to the Flower Mound Police Department in person at the Police Station, 4150 Kirkpatrick Lane or by emailing [email protected].
Angel Tree Program
The Lewisville High School Angel Tree program is a wonderful way to help children in our community experience a better Christmas. In its 15th year, the LHS Student Council works with Communities in Schools of North Texas social workers and school counselors to nominate families. Adoptions of those in need range from newborn through 19 years of age. If you aren’t able to provide gift items, they also need Christmas wrapping supplies and gift cards. Please visit www.lisd.net or email [email protected].
Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program has been incredibly successful in bringing communities together to support children and seniors in need every Christmas since its establishment in 1979. Opportunities to sponsor a child or senior can be found on Christmas trees in venues such as local shopping malls, churches, and community organizations. You can also visit the Salvation Army Dallas – Fort Worth webpage to adopt an angel: www.tsamm.org/angeltree/.
Volunteer Services Council for Denton State Supported Living Center
For 40 years, this rewarding program has been focused on the generosity of others to grant 2 gifts for a resident to enjoy at Christmas. The Denton SSLC is home to over 400 people with disabilities who cherish the opportunity to celebrate the season. Neil Sperry and WBAP AM host the Christmas is Caring radio program from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. from December 11th – 15th where people can call in their donations to 214.525.2550. Gifts for the program can also be brought to any North Texas Calloway Nursery centers. Find out more about what is on the wish list of these special Texans at www.vscdenton.org.
Ranch Hands Rescue
RHR is a premier center focusing on therapy for severely abused children along with mental health support for veterans through pairing them with abused animals. They will be having their annual Christmas Open House on Saturday, December 13th where you can help them help others. RHR is ready to share their new second facility located at 9457 Highway 377 in Argyle with our community. There is a special ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. with festivities scheduled from 4 p.m.–8 p.m. Learn more at www.ranchhandrescue.org
There are many opportunities for us to help one another, but please remember that none of this is possible without your involvement. The holiday season, and Christmas especially, is about more than just the gifts we give but rather how they impact those who receive them. I pray that you will join my family and me in providing joyous moments this holiday season for anyone who might be in need.
As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives, and I truly welcome your feedback. If you would like to share a thought with me, please feel free to contact my Capitol office at 512.463.0688 or by email at[email protected]texas.gov.