East Texas group helps needy families after food stamp reductions
St. Paul Children's Foundation helps thousands of ETX families
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
The 2009 recession-era boost to food stamps has expired. Texas alone is seeing total benefits fall by more than $4 million.
St. Paul Children's Foundation is seeing that impact first hand. They provide clothing, food, pediatric and dental care to thousands of families.
"Right now we are seeing 100 new families a month, and I expect it to go a lot higher this Christmas holiday season," said Sharlyn Cannady, Executive Director for St. Paul Children's Foundation.
That means they are serving more than 40,000 children and their families each year.
Many of those families struggle to provide necessities for their children, so Christmas gifts are not an option, but St. Paul Children's Foundation is changing that.
"We work with our providers and our staff to find out the families...who actually is in dire need that won't be able to provide Christmas for their kids," Cannady explained.
The foundation collects toys...thousands of toys...and stocks up a home on the property, which they transform into Santa's Secret Workshop where parents are invited to choose gifts for their children.
"It is magical," said Argelia Espinoza, a single mother who says she has relied on this program to help provide toys for her six children and now her six grandchildren.
"There's no words to describe the greatness, you know the great feeling that they have," Espinoza explained.
The stories volunteers and employees hear make every minute of their hard work worth it.
"To be able to see the kids smile that got something when they didn't think they were going to get anything at all. They went to school the next day so excited because mom had presents under the tree after they'd already been told they weren't going to be getting anything for Christmas, so it's very rewarding," Cannady said.
St. Paul Children's Foundation has set a new goal this year. They hope to collect 3,000 toys for infants all the way up to 18-years-old.
They are looking for not only toy donations, but also volunteers
If you would like to learn more about St. Paul and how you can help, click here.