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Nonprofit Cowboy Santas Struggling To Match Demand

By Andrea Lucia, CBS 11 News
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(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s been a rough year for the Rodriguez family.

“My husband’s been laid off. We had a baby, and I can’t go back to work,” said Katrina Rodriguez.

Still it wouldn’t be quite so bad, they say, if they could, for one day, light up their children’s faces. Especially three-year-old Gavin’s.

“He’s waiting for Santa Claus. When we were sitting here eating lunch, you could barely hear him but he’s sitting here singing ‘Jingle Bells’,” said Rodriguez.

Making Christmas wishes come true is what the Cowboy Santas program is all about, but this year, even they are struggling.

“It’s been really gut wrenching,” said Carol Brown, one of the program’s founders.

Donations have fallen far short of demand. With 1,500 families still waiting to pick up presents, the warehouse shelves are almost empty.

The several hundred families who came today stood for hours waiting for their names to be called.

A late donation, $6,000 from Fort Worth city workers, helped volunteers get through the day. But Tuesday and Wednesday, just as many families are expected to be waiting for presents. Last year, the nonprofit served 4,500 families. This year, the 30-year-old organization signed more than 5,000 up.

To donate, you can take a new toy – or write a check – at any police or fire station in Fort Worth.

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