Crockett woman’s 7-year tradition of delivering Christmas Eve meals to seniors continues

Caitlyn Mares started delivering warm meals and supplies on Christmas Eve to the elderly people in her community of Crockett as a 16-year-old.
Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 10:44 AM CST
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CROCKETT, Texas (KTRE) - Caitlyn “Caitie” Mares started delivering warm meals, supplies, clothes and blankets to elderly people in her community on Christmas Eve when she was 16. Seven years later, the tradition continues, and she brings Christmas spirit and supplies to those who need it most.

Mares said this started after Christmas traditions had changed for her family.

“We had lost a couple of family members, and there were people who weren’t going to make it to Christmas, and so we just did something a little bit different to celebrate,” Mares said.

That’s how Angels and Elves started.

The group puts together boxes with Christmas dinner, other non-perishables, fresh-baked bread and cookies, as well as knitted blankets, scarfs and beanies.

Mares said the number of people they help varies by year.

“The least we’ve done is 40. We always at least make sure we do 40. One year we had about 80-85,” Mares said.

Kathy Murphy, Mares’ mom, said people donate to the event.

“We do have a couple of donors that contribute every year simply because they believe in Caitie and what these kids are doing. And, other than that, we just reach out to the community. We put a list out for people that want to help drop it off,” Murphy said.

She said they count everything they receive, and if they need more of something, they go purchase it themselves.

On Christmas Eve, they load all the boxes and start their route.

Aliana Torres said, “We go to the door. We just greet them, say, ‘Merry Christmas,’ and it means a lot to me. Knowing I’m doing something good for somebody, it just makes my heart feel a certain way.”

Jazmin Castillo, one of the helpers, joined the very first year at the age of 9. She is now 16 and says doing this every year has opened her eyes.

“I feel like when you’re young, you don’t really understand what older people go through and what they’ve gone through in life. It’s better to give back and learn something because otherwise you’re just going to think they’re just there, they’re nobodies, but they are really somebody. Somebody who has feelings,” Castillo said.

Valeria Castillo, 14, said she started helping at the age of 7. “It makes me happy to help out other people in the community,” she said.

Mares said they do important work.

“I think it’s important to always reach out to the community. It is. Whenever you do something, and something happened to you, you’d want the community to rally together.”

They are still gathering donations for this year’s boxes. For a list of items needed for the boxes, click here. You can drop off items at Crockett Pack and Ship, S2 Nutrition and the Crockett Chamber of Commerce.