According to Family Gateway Community Engagement Director Kathy Kidwell,
“Our mission is to provide stability and life-changing supportive services to families with children experiencing homelessness. For the past 10 years, I have had the pleasure of overseeing volunteers and coordinating special initiatives to get the community involved in our work.
“This holiday season, we need the community’s help to provide hope and joy to children experiencing homelessness and their families. This year, we have more families in our care than ever before. We are now operating three shelter locations – all of which are full – and anticipate serving at least 235 families and approximately 580 children through our holiday program.
“For children, experiencing homelessness has negative effects on their academic and social-emotional development. Children who are experiencing homelessness typically move at least one time annually until they become stabilized. Moving from place to place and living in highly stressful situations makes it difficult for children to explore, learn, and grow, putting them significantly behind their peers. At Family Gateway, our team works diligently every day to meet the educational and social-emotional needs of the children in our care. We know that a successful holiday program will bring hope and joy during a difficult chapter in their lives.
“After adjusting our holiday program last year due to COVID-19, we are thrilled to welcome back our Holiday Store! Donated toys will be set up in the store for families in our program to ‘shop’ for their children completely free of charge. This will be our fifth year to host the Holiday Store for our families. We are asking for corporations, organizations, neighborhoods, and places of worship to get involved by hosting toy drives.
“The deadline to drop off new and unwrapped toys to our downtown shelter (711 S. St. Paul St, Dallas, TX 75201) is Wednesday, December 15. We are also accepting monetary donations to support our holiday program. Gifts can be made online at https://www.familygateway.org/donate. More information about our holiday program, including links to our Amazon and Walmart wish lists, can be found here: https://www.familygateway.org/holidays. ”
* Graphic/photo provided by Family Gateway