Nearly 700 homeless children and families from Dallas-area shelters experienced the magic of the holidays at Rainbow Days’ annual Saturday with Santa event as Rainbow Days was delighted to host families from 17 different shelters, transitional living sites and motels in our community for a meaningful holiday family bonding experience held at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church.
Saturday with Santa was a jovial day for families to celebrate the holiday spirit outside of the shelter environment. Participants played fun carnival games, enjoyed a delicious lunch provided by Chuy’s (Knox-McKinney location) and got to spend time with Santa Claus himself! Each child left with a stocking filled with presents and a brand new toy for Christmas, and all parents also received necessities and holiday treats in stockings of their very own.
“Saturday with Santa enables us to bring the joy of the holidays to children in our community who are experiencing challenges no child should have to face,” Rainbow Days CEO Sherri Ansley says. “We are so grateful to be able to meet this need with the help of many generous supporters who continue to invest in Rainbow Days and the children and communities we serve.”
Many individuals, corporations and local organizations helped make this day possible through financial gifts, in-kind donations and volunteer hours. Rainbow Days is especially grateful for the support of: Lovers Lane United Methodist Church; The Rees-Jones Foundation; Chuy’s (Knox-McKinney location); Citi; PepsiCo; National Charity League; Young Men’s Service League; Texas A&M DFW Hispanic Network; Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs; Nicole Williams; Diane Oxley and Christian Stringer; Susan O’Suilleabhain and Clare Ni’Shuilleabhain; Liz Case Pickens; and countless other kind-hearted donors, volunteers and supporters.
This year, children, youth and adult family members from 17 local shelters and transitional living sites participated in Saturday with Santa. Housing partners include: Family Gateway; Salvation Army; Family Place; Reconciliation Outreach; Hope’s Door New Beginning Center; Nexus Recovery Center; Family Gateway Permanent Supportive Housing at Meadow Lane, Cedar Crest and Pemberton Hill; Dallas Life; Under 1 Roof; Interfaith Family Services; Shared Housing Center; Mosaic Family Services; Brighter Tomorrows; and Genesis Women’s Shelter. Several families experiencing homelessness and living in Budget Suites motels were also present at the event.
ABOUT FAMILY CONNECTION: Saturday with Santa has been a key activity offered within Rainbow Days’ Family Connection program since the early 1990s. Family Connection is Rainbow Days’ award-winning collaborative model for meeting the critical needs of children ages 4-12 who are experiencing homelessness. Each year, Family Connection positively impacts more than 1,000 homeless children through support groups, summer camps, family outings and tangible goods. Through these effective services and local partnerships with around 50 partners and shelter sites, Rainbow Days brings hope, coping skills and resilience to these children to help them overcome life’s challenges.
ABOUT RAINBOW DAYS: Saturday with Santa is a program of Rainbow Days, a 501(c)(3) Dallas-based nonprofit organization. Founded in 1982, Rainbow Days has a mission to help children and youth in adversity build coping skills and resilience to create positive futures. Through support groups, camps, mentored events and tangible items, Rainbow Days serves over 11,000 at-risk children and youth in the Dallas area annually. For more information, please visit our website, www.RainbowDays.org, or call our office at (214) 887-0726.