Christmas is still 21 days away, but volunteers across Texas, like you, are helping vulnerable children and families celebrate early.
Moms, dads, children, bikers and even Santa Claus himself helped ring in the Christmas season this weekend by raising money to help the vulnerable through Buckner locally, donating presents and giving gifts to foster children.
Bikers rev up Christmas fun in Beaumont
A line of motorcycles, supped-up trucks and hot rods brought Christmas presents for nearly 80 boys and girls at Buckner Children’s Village in Beaumont as part of the 28th Buckner Toy Run.
Trinity Travelers Chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, Tri-City Corvette Club, Wild Horse Mustang Club of Southeast Texas, Southern High Rollers 4x4 Club of Houston, Austin's Chop Shop and Beaumont Chapter of The Patriot Guard came together to help the children.
"It's so special to have something that shows them and treats them like they are important, and so we get to replace with maybe some of the bad memories that they have with some really good ones," Laura May, executive director of Buckner in Southeast Texas told 12NewsNow in Beaumont.
The smiles on children’s faces make the effort worth it, according to coordinator Mary Ann Johnston.
"That's the highlight of the Christmas season, their face just lit up. They couldn't believe they got what they asked for from Santa," she said.
Buckner Rio Grande Valley Children's Home halls are decked in holly, bikers are decked in leather
Bikers also helped about 100 children served by Buckner in the Rio Grande Valley during the South Texas Law Dogs Motorcycle Club’s 8th annual Christmas toy giveaway at the Buckner Rio Grande Children’s Home in Mission.
The children snacked on holiday treats and played games when Santa surprised them with a visit on top of a motorcycle. More than 80 club members participated in the ride, raising money and donating gifts.
“This is what I live for,” South Texas Law Dogs President Allen Flores told the McAllen Monitor. “When you see the joy and the warmth of the children, it brings tears to your eyes. I get emotional just talking about it. We try to reach out to them as much as we can.”
Buckner Rio Grande Valley Executive Director Monica Salinas said the motorcycle club’s efforts brighten the children’s holiday.
“The bikers are a great blessing to us,” she said. “These are children that need a little bit of stability. They need love and attention. So this’ll is a great opportunity for us to bring a little bit of hope and joy to their lives, even if it’s just for a little while.”
Santa makes early stops in Amarillo and Lubbock
Santa found time in his schedule for early visits with Buckner foster children in Lubbock and Amarillo this weekend at events at Trinity Baptist Church in Amarillo and Southcrest Baptist Church in Lubbock.
“We have a soft spot for our (foster) kids as this is a tough time for them, being away from their biological families,” Cristian Garcia, Buckner foster care West Texas regional director, told the Amarillo Globe-News. “This is a fellowship for all of our families to get to know each other and be supportive of each other. It’s a time where the staff and the people in our community can pour into them.”
The events helped conclude National Adoption Month. Santa ate with the children and took time for photos with each of them. Additionally, children received presents donated from organizations, businesses and families throughout the Lubbock and Amarillo area.