Rita Blanca Coliseum was packed with excited children on Sunday, December 20th, for the 3rd Annual Mary Bell’s Christmas for Kids. The annual event is made possible through the generosity of local residents who provide the funding necessary to purchase hundreds of Christmas gifts for area children.
Children from newborn to twelve years of age were each given a toy for Christmas and more than 600 toys were given this year. In all, 123 children ages newborn to two years, 231 children ages three to six, 162 children ages seven to nine, and 168 children ages ten to twelve received a toy in this year’s event.
More toys will be given to children in foster care through CPS this week. Toys are also taken to the Ronald McDonald House and the Children’s Unit at Northwest Texas Hospital.
Guests at the Mary Bell’s event this year enjoyed cheese and milk donated by Hilmar Cheese of Dalhart and the best cookies in the Panhandle. The cookies were made and donated by members of several Dalhart churches. The Ministerial Alliance was instrumental in asking their congregation to help with the cookies. Hot drinks of coffee and hot chocolate were also provided. A special recognition went out to the Peoples Church for the hot chocolate and volunteers for making the hot chocolate and coffee.
The David Vincent family provided Christmas music and all of the favorites were played throughout the afternoon. The musical group helped Santa Claus with getting the crowd in the Christmas Spirit.
Rodney Weatherly of First Baptist Church gave a small sermon on the gifts of Christmas. He noted that the greatest gift of Christmas is not what was at the giveaway, but what God gave through the birth of His Son. Father Scott Raef of Saint Anthony’s Church gave a similar message in Spanish.
The toys were greatly appreciated by the children and their families. The smiles as they got a bike, skateboard, stuffed animal, small riding toy, basketball goal or game table were so heartwarming.
A great appreciation went out to the Dallam and Hartley Sheriffs Offices, the Dalhart Police Department and the Knights of Columbus for their help in loading larger gifts. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Dalhart Unit, was also of great assistance in putting toys together.
Finally, sincere gratitude is expressed to all donors and volunteers. They truly made the event as successful and fun as it was, and they help keep the Christmas Spirit alive! For more information and to see pictures of this year’s event, visit the blog for Mary Bell’s at Http://marybellschristmasforkids-kim.blogspot.com/.