Westside San Antonio Families Receive Christmas Surprise

BCFS Westside Community Center Gives Back to Local Families

Photo: A family standing in front of houseSAN ANTONIO – BCFS Health and Human Services brought some Christmas cheer on Wednesday to 22 people living on San Antonio’s West Side. Staff from the BCFS Westside Community Center surprised three families with an assortment of presents and fresh baked pies, hand-delivered to their homes. The bed of the delivery truck was piled high with gift bags full of a variety of wrapped presents that included diapers, baby bonnets, clothes, toy cars, sports equipment, dolls, and other toys for the younger children as well as gift cards for the parents and teenagers. Parents also received special gifts, something comfy and the means to do something nice for themselves.

The families would “truly not have had Christmas without the BCFS Westside Community Center and its partners,” according to Michelle Shilling, Program Director at the BCFS Westside Community Center.

“The story of each family is powerful and unique – from a family that recently lost a loved one, to a partner who earns minimum wage supporting a family of seven,” said Shilling. “These families give so much to the community, no matter what they receive in return.”

Photo: Pickup truck filled with presentsBut Michelle wanted to make sure they knew how much BCFS appreciated their efforts and was not alone in giving thanks. First Baptist Church helped the families with the means for a Christmas meal, providing them with food and gift certificates for ham and turkeys, and was joined by community leaders, Rotary Club of San Antonio, and Air Force Federal Credit Union, who donated the gifts to make this surprise possible. BCFS added bags of coffee, lemonade and holiday sweets and treats to round out this outpouring of amazing blessings.

BCFS has worked with local partners for nearly a decade to serve the West Side. Most recently, BCFS opened the Westside Community Center in 2014 as a hub for area children and families to access free services and resources. Much of the center’s success over the past year is due in large part to the collaborative efforts of local residents.

To learn more about the BCFS Westside Community Center and the services available, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Westside or call (210) 208-5681.

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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.




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“Christmas Dreams” Come True for Lubbock Youth at BCFS Health and Human Services’ Lubbock Transition Center

Photo: Mom and babyThe BCFS Lubbock Transition Center hosted its 9th annual Christmas Dreams celebration this week for youth formerly in foster care and their children. At the party held Wednesday December 17th, the youth and their guests enjoyed a Christmas meal, a visit from Santa, and over 200 donated gifts were distributed to young people in need.
“There are many youth in Lubbock who aged out of the foster care system at 18 years old to find themselves alone and discouraged without a traditional family support system,” said Kami Jackson, program director for the BCFS Lubbock Transition Center. “For these kids, Christmas can be an unwelcome reminder that they don’t have family to turn to – but we believe every child should be able to open a gift on Christmas and be surrounded by folks that love them.”
At the Christmas Dreams party, 51 youth who are clients of the transition center received gifts, as well as 25 of those young adults’ children. A total of 228 gifts were distributed, donated by First Christian Church, Betenbough Homes, Superior Healthcare, Covenant Children’s Hospital, Cynthia Shrader, the BCFS Lubbock Transition Center Advisory Council, and other generous donors from the Lubbock community.
Every year, clients at the transition center create a wishlist of three gifts they’d like to receive, including one household item, one personal item like shoes or jeans, and a restaurant gift card. If the youth has a child of their own (as is common among young people who spent time in foster care), their children also receive three gifts each.
BCFS’ Lubbock Transition Center is a one-stop-shop for youth in or aging out of foster care, those in the juvenile justice system, and others in need of a helping hand to make the transition into adulthood. The center provides case management, counseling, life skills training, and education and employment assistance. For more information about BCFS’ Lubbock Transition Center, visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net/Lubbock.