As the community transitions into the holiday season, not everyone in Walker County will have the opportunity to gather around a Christmas tree to share presents with family.
For the children served by CASA of Walker, San Jacinto and Trinity Counties, the holiday season will look different for each, depending on their situation. While some children stay with relatives, others are in the foster care system or residential treatment centers. Either way, a holiday season spent away from family while the world moves into celebrations of gratefulness and giving among friends and loved ones is a sharp reminder of the upheaval that these children are living in.
“Christmas is a hard time to be away from your family,” CASA of Walker County training coordinator Janet Davidson said. “Our advocates really want to make it a special time, these children have experienced so much trauma, even the initial trauma of being removed due to the abuse and neglect, so our advocates want to make it a very special time for them to let them know that they do have someone in their corner that is solely focused on them and their case.”
Every November, CASA of Walker, San Jacinto and Trinity Counties partners with the community to collect toys and gifts for all of the children that are in the care of Child Protective Services to brighten their holiday season spent away from their homes.
Businesses and churches in and around Huntsville have opened their doors to accept donations for CASA’s toy drive through the end of November. Popular gifts include board games, arts and crafts activities, sporting equipment, blankets and gift cards.
“Some of the sites like to collect for a specific age group because when you ask for a toy drive, you generally get the elementary age to maybe junior high age,” Davidson said. “Some of the locations may collect specifically for babies or teenagers because those are two of the demographics that are often missed.”
CASA advocates will begin visiting the CASA office in early December to pick out two or three gifts for the children in their care or use donated gift cards to shop for specific wish-list items. The advocates will then give the items to the children they serve during their December visits.
Donations will be accepted through the end of November at several Huntsville businesses including Curves, Ernst Jewelers, First Financial Bank, Huntsville Church of Christ, The Huntsville Item, K&G Capital Mortgage, Pack and Ship, Second Baptist Church, Tax Express, Tough Shirts and Wiesner of Huntsville.
Donations will also be accepted in San Jacinto County at Coldspring United Methodist Church, and in Trinity at Open Door Ministries, Trinity Standard and Trinity Pines Baptist Church.
All donations must be new and unwrapped items.