Families and children in Buckner programs across the state got in the Christmas spirit and celebrated the holiday with food, games and a whole bunch of laughter.
Members of Cadent Capital, a Dallas financial planning company, joined the festivities to help parents and children shop for gifts for each other.
"Families who've participated in our strengthening programs this year were given an opportunity to shop from items that have been donated," said Gabriel Flores, site manager for the Family Hope Center. "Then the parents and their children met as a group and exchanged one gift between each parent and child. This is a platform we gave each parent and child that, as they exchanged gifts, they get to see how much they are mutually loved."
At the Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid, about 65 families also participated in a Christmas market where they were able to pick out toys for their children and get a Christmas meal.
Tens of thousands of dollars worth of toys were collected and donated by generous individuals, organizations and corporate donors, like City Credit Union, Neon Cowboy, Toys for Tots and the Texas State Guard.
Dallas Police Department officers also joined the festivites, giving out additional toys and words of cheer to the families as they loaded up their cars with Christmas goodies.
In Lubbock, Buckner children were treated to a Christmas breakfast and greeted by a very special guest: Santa and Mrs. Claus. Wayland Flying Queens Basketball team brought crafts and each child received books donated by Barnes & Noble and pajamas from Carter's.
Children participating in Buckner programs in Houston were also surprised by Santa at their annual Christmas market. While their parents picked out Christmas presents from the market, children were able to greet Santa, sit on his lap and give him their Christmas wishes.
And what is Christmas without a gingerbread house! Residents from Family Pathways in Lufkin gathered for a hearty meal, joyous fellowship and constructed festive gingerbread homes with plenty of sweet treats.
We hope your family is enjoying plenty of beautiful Christmas celebrations and we wish you a very merry Christmas!