Making it a Merry Christmas
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Taylor stuffing stockings in Foster Care Christmas Project
By Cassandra Mickens
The Selma Times-Journal
“Can you imagine being a kid and not get anything for Christmas?” said physician Bruce Taylor, owner of Taylor Internal Medicine of Selma.
Taylor refuses to imagine such a thing.
Wednesday afternoon, Taylor donated a check to the Dallas County Department of Human Resources for its annual foster care Christmas project.
“Imagination doesn’t even come close to the real experience,” said DHR Director James Ware. “It has to be hurtful, to feel you’re not loved. It’s got to be emotionally charged and traumatic and that’s why we do this.”
For the past 10 years, DHR has managed to bring the joy of Christmas to foster children throughout Dallas County. The project started out as a community-wide effort, but soon after the Salvation Army initiated its annual Angel Tree project, DHR took a step back and focused its attention on catering specifically to the foster children it’s responsible for by court order, Ware said.
Now, instead of reaching 3,000 to 5,000 children, DHR is supporting 90 to 100 children this holiday season.
“A lot more manageable,” Ware said.
Foster parents are given $75 Wal-Mart gift vouchers to spend on Christmas presents for their children. With 100 children, DHR plans to give away $7,500 worth of gift vouchers this year.
“We wish we could make it higher than $75, but at least there will be at least one thing under the tree,” Ware said.
Ware said DHR holds a Wal-Mart shopping spree drawing to raise fund funds for the project.
The drawing is DHR’s main source of project funding. Ware said participation was low this year. DHR only managed to raise $1,200.
DHR also applies to Wal-Mart for grant funding. Ware said DHR usually hears from Wal-Mart around October, but hasn’t received word of whether they will receive the grant.
“We don’t know if we’re gonna get it,” Ware said.
DHR has applied for a grant with the Weaver -Parrish Memorial Trust as well.
Taylor has his reasons for donating to the project. Foster children hold a special place in his heart because he grew up in foster care. He said he remembers the dedication of DHR employees and social workers and said his experience in foster care was positive, despite the stigma that is associated with the system.
“The DHR system takes a beating in the press, but it’s a system of folks trying to do what they could,” he said.
Taylor said he has never had the experience of not receiving a gift at Christmas and though he does not remember the details of the gifts he received, he remembers the outpouring of generosity from community organizations and private donors.
“The Xboxes and Nintendos, those things eventually fade away,” Taylor said. “It’s the memories that last.”
To make donations to the DHR foster care Christmas project, call 874-1478.