DALLAS – It is the holiday season.
For many caring community members, the hustle and bustle and the joy of sharing special gifts with local families has become part of a tradition.
Thousands of excited children, along with anxious moms, dads and grandparents, packed the Automotive Building in Fair Park on Saturday.
The large crowd gathered for the 19th annual Christmas in the Park event.
“They are coming here for bikes, toys, shoes, tennis shoes, beds, story books, clothing, and furniture," Reverend S.M. Wright II said.
The S.M. Wright Foundation calls Christmas in the Park significant. The group and a variety of sponsors used the holiday program to help meet the needs of families facing economic challenges during the holiday season and beyond.
Parents who registered say they appreciate the program.
“We just had a baby, so we are down a paycheck. On top of that we actually have one that got emergency to the hospital at Children’s on Monday. So if I wouldn’t have signed up for it, I don’t know how we would have made Christmas at all," Denesia Labalais said.
Spreading this type of cheer is becoming more important from year over year, according to the Foundation’s staff.
“It’s sad to say the need has increased with the way inflation is and the cost of living," Rev. Wright explained. "And it’s hard for a family to keep up with the cost of living. So we have a lot of families that really need the assistance.”
The motive is all about sharing and giving back. Hundreds of volunteers were on hand helping to bring smiles to 20,000 people passing through the space. Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities was among the groups pitching in.
"The most amazing thing is to see that you’ll see joy, not only in the people that are here receiving, but the people that are giving," Pat Smith said.
Families who participated in this year’s program say the caring gestures from the community mean so much during the holiday season.