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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – It’s the season of giving and there is a group in Fort Worth that does that as well as anyone. In our Welcome to Texas report, we highlight the Cowboy Santas Program that thanks to you is a non-profit that gets bigger and better ever every year.
“She is 12 and there is also a 6-year-old girl. So I’m going to grab her books now,” explained Destiny Hartnett who we caught up as she was shopping in the Fort Worth warehouse that is home to Cowboy Santas.
Hartnett is not shopping for herself, but rather for families in need. She started volunteering at Cowboy Santas in high school because she had to. These days she comes because she wants to.
“On one hand here are all these people just giving and giving and on the other hand there are people who just don’t have anything to give. And so this lets you be part of all these people who are giving and I love that,” Hartnett said.
That is the heart of Cowboy Santas.
Carol Brown and another woman started it all 35 years ago. She was working for the City of Fort Worth in an area where families literally had nothing. Brown said, “You don’t want to see your kid crying on Christmas because Johnny down the street got a new toy or new bike and I got nothing. That’s a heart wrenching thing for a parent.”
The stress of the holidays would sometimes lead to violence, so she sought out donations to help families in need.
Over the years the organization grew. Eventually a number of small groups like hers came together to form one, the Cowboy Santas. “So as the organization grew. So did the need. We had to not only be a distribution site but we also had to start raising money and funds and all of that to make it happen,” Brown said. She says none of this is possible without the public donating toys and money.
“We have had a number of toys donated already but we would love to see you come down this evening,” said CBS 11 Chief Meteorologist Larry Mowry at one of the toy drives in Sundance Square in Fort Worth.
CBS 11 helps year after year with some of the toy drives. And this year, again, the public responded.
Donated toys end up back at the warehouse. Each child approved for the program will receive a toy, They also get games, books, stocking stuffers, arts and crafts, and a lot of volunteers make sure it all runs smoothly.
“We believe every child should be able to experience a good Christmas. So yep we are here for life,” said Julie Spencer. The toys are given to parents who can put them out for their kids on Christmas morning.
Cowboy Santas has been a Tarrant County tradition for 35 years, and this year they will make Christmas come alive for 10,000 kids in need.
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