“Shelby County Empty Stocking Fund”
The Shelby County Child Welfare Board is a mandated non-profit organization designed to assist the foster children who are from Shelby County as well as assist with Shelby County children whose parents are not financial capable of providing for them at times. We also provide funding to our CPS workers for items that the State of Texas does not provide, such as cameras and other equipment they need and to aid in protecting our children. The Foster care system in Texas has been overhauled by our Legislature and the funding for many things has been cut. As a result, foster parents sometimes cannot provide some extras for the children. When a child is removed from a home in Shelby County, then that child becomes Aone of our children.@ We do not assist children that are brought to Shelby County from other counties. Therefore, our children are sometimes in foster care, away from everyone they know and love, in a home and school where they feel totally alone. Those are the foster children we help. Sometimes we have had a child graduate from high school and want to go to college. We have provided items for a dorm room, sometimes we have helped a small amount with the cost of graduation. We have helped with travel expenses to send children to relatives many miles away that will care for them. We also provide a small gift card to our kids on their birthdays, we provide money for school clothes, and we also send gift cards to them at Christmas.
Our board is made up of volunteers who have to be nominated, voted on and then approved by the Shelby County Commissioners. We do not receive any funding from the county and therefore must depend on the goodness and generosity of the people of Shelby County to raise money.
We have an annual fund-raising drive known as the AEmpty Stocking Fund.@ We send letters out to people and businesses who have donated to our cause in the past and we also gather, usually on the second Saturday of December, on the WalMart parking lot. Young children from our community come and assist in asking WalMart patrons for a donation, even if it is only nickels, dimes, pennies. We will accept whatever a person has that they can share. The young children take Santa Claus hats and turn them upside down and ask that the donations be placed in those. We always provide live music, coffee, hot chocolate and cold drinks along with cookies, candy and usually chili, taco soup, and Ms. McClelland=s famous red beans and rice.
At Christmas time, 5 school districts in Shelby County provide us with a list of 25 children whom they know are not going to have a very happy Christmas. With a portion of the monies we raise at WalMart, we provide gift cards to all these children through the school that submitted their names. One school actually takes the kids to WalMart and assists the children in using their gift cards. We send these gift cards to our kids as well.
We invite anyone to come by WalMart on Saturday, December 9 and share anything they can to aid us in assisting our kids and those less fortunate.