WHITEHOUSE, Texas (KLTV) - Project Joy in Whitehouse returned this year for their annual Christmas outreach program for families in need in the Whitehouse area.
East Texas News spoke with volunteers and organizers on this year’s increased need.
“Project Joy gives hope every year, but I think even more so this year,” said organizer Anthony Johnson.
Due to the pandemic, more families and first-time families reached out for assistance this year. This year, organizers say there’s a 33-family increase.
“This year we have 230 families that we are providing toys and food for,” Anthony Johnson said.
Volunteers helped put together an assortment of food into boxes for families. Lynn Mosely, a first-time volunteer, said she is glad to be a part of this year’s project.
“It’s just a blessed feeling to know that you’re bringing something needed to a family, that you’re helping,” Anthony Johnson said.
Anthony Johnson said due to the pandemic, this year’s project made him nervous.
“I was like, ‘God, if you want this to happen, you have to make it happen.’ He overwhelming came through for project joy this year,” Anthony Johnson said.
Project Joy raised close to $10,000 this year. Five hundred-forty-two kids, ranging from newborns to high schoolers, will be receiving items this year.
“So many families are struggling. It has been so amazing to see everybody come and just give. It’s a true joy,” volunteer Katy Ybarra said.
Johnson and his family have been participating for years because they say this event is personal to them.
“We were recipients of Project Joy our first year that we moved here to Texas, 19 years ago,” Maria Johnson said. “We didn’t know what it was, and then when we realized what it was, we wanted to give back and we’ve been apart of it ever since.”
Project Joy has been helping families for the past 35 years.
Beginning Monday, a dozen organizations will help with deliveries of food boxes and gifts to families in need.