LatinaLista — As of today, there are 105 days until Christmas. In other words, about three months. For most of us, it’s too early to even start thinking about what we’ll be putting under the tree this year. Yet, for one North Texas organization, every day of the year is Navidad en el Barrio (Christmas in the Neighborhood).
For over 20 years, Navidad has been servicing low-income neighborhoods and is the only organization in its region that dedicates itself to collecting books, learning toys and sports equipment year-round to distribute to the children it serves.
While it would be easy to collect standard toys, the Navidad organizers want to give children gifts that has the potential to change their lives. The distributed books help with giving the children an incentive to read and the sports equipment serves as a reason to get off the couch and get active.
In the last 12 years, the organization has given over 351,384 gifts to deserving children.
Via two programs, Fall into Reading and Spring into Sports, Navidad gives out books and sports balls year-round. At Christmas, the organization serves 6,800 families with the Gifts Changing Lives program.
Yet, the organization isn’t just about giving out gifts to children, it’s also about instilling a commitment at a young age to community service. Children 12 and under are able to volunteer in the Saturday Serve program that gives the children various community service activities to fulfill.
While Navidad does enjoy the sponsorship of several big companies, it receives no government or United Way funding and is dependent on donations from both the private and public sectors.
In this case, Navidad’s eleves are kept as busy as those at the North Pole.