Since 1980, thousands of low-income families in Tarrant County have received holiday toys from the Cowboy Santas program.
This year, a new partnership with the Salvation Army will bring even more smiles to children’s faces.
The Cowboy Santas board has determined that the best way to continue serving local families is by merging with another nonprofit organization. Beginning Oct. 1, Cowboy Santas becomes part of the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.
Along with its the familiar red kettles, the Angel Tree program is one of the Salvation Army’s highest profile Christmas efforts. Cowboy Santas will add more families — especially from Fort Worth and Tarrant County — to the Angel Tree program. This year’s collection effort is expected to be the largest toy drive in North Texas.
Participation in Cowboy Santas has waned over the last decade. Between 2008 and 2012, an average of 11,477 children were served each year. However, in more recent years, the number of children receiving gifts was down to an average of 9,348 per year.
An analysis of Cowboy Santas costs showed that the program would not be able to stand on its own as a nonprofit organization without an annual boost from the city’s General Fund and other city-supplied resources. Donations to the program fluctuated, making it difficult to anticipate how much city support would be needed.
The Cowboy Santas warehouse on North Main Street will close on Aug. 30, and all existing clients will be urged to apply to the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. Angel Tree provides toys and clothing for children up to 14 years old.
Angel Tree applications will be accepted beginning Sept. 30. Applicants can go to one of Fort Worth’s Community Action Partners sites to register. Other options include the Southeast Arlington CAP site, 1601 E Lamar Blvd., Suite 201, in Arlington; to make Saturday appointments, call 817-392-5790.
Visit the Cowboy Santas website to learn what is needed to apply.
Residents wishing to help the program can adopt an Angel at an area shopping mall during the holiday season. Companies that would like to continue to support these families during the Christmas season can sponsor an Angel Tree or make monetary or toy donations to the Angel Tree program.
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