Christmas Family Fun Day benefits Buckner

7-year-old Audrey Humble shows off a Christmas decoration made at the event.
9-year-old Eben Jeanjaquet plays one of many games monitored by volunteers.

While most philanthropic endeavors this time of year concentrate on toy donations and feeding the hungry, Christmas Family Fun Day allowed Buckner to restock its reserve of much-needed items Saturday, Dec. 19. The outdoor event, held on the grounds of the REMAX office on Gladys in Beaumont, featured a bounce house, face painting, massages, door prizes, food, pictures with Santa, arts and crafts, and activities, all entirely free to the public with a donation of sheets, towels and wash cloths, or duffel bags.

“REMAX and the Jill Warren team hosted this awesome event for families in our community,” said Jessica Rhodes, Ministry Engagement Coordinator in Southeast Texas for Buckner. “They collected sponsors to help pay for, just … everything – all the rentals, all the equipment, everything for the day – and they sponsored the whole thing.”

With that kind of support, local families were able to enjoy all the fun they could muster at no charge. Live music was provided by the David Lee Kaiser Band, food by Blue Broussard and David Thompson, and several volunteers coordinated activities for children, from games and face painting, to crafts and a chance to meet Santa himself. Shirts sold at the event, as well as any extra donations, were given to Buckner, a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

“Any extra monetary donations go to Buckner. We did ask that anybody who comes to the event bring sheets or towels or duffel bags, something that is an everyday need for our kids. And that was a huge blessing to Buckner, because it’s hard to get people to donate outside of toys during this time of year. So we’re really meeting a need for us,” Rhodes remarked.

The Buckner representative said the organization was incredibly grateful for those who sponsored the event, considering planning only commenced about two months ago.

“This is the first year, so we started in probably the middle of October/early October talking with them about it, and so they’ve done a great job, really working under a short time frame at a busy time of the year.”

Those who donated the requested items were given a raffle ticket upon entry, and event representatives raffled off gifts, gift certificates to local restaurants, and more. The donations came rolling in, filling large boxes with the sheets, towels, and bags Buckner so desperately needs.

“That’s a general needed donation, and they stay within foster care for the most part, and they also go to our short-term emergency shelter,” Rhodes stated. “We serve about 90 kids a year, and so it’s a lot of turnover and things get worn and, you know, children go through things fast. And especially towels – 16 kids, bathing every night (at the emergency shelter), and just the amount of laundry, it’s a lot, so we try to keep them up to date and stocked with new stuff quite often.”

Christmas Family Fun Day was considered a tremendous success, and plans are in place to make it an annual event. 

For more information on how you can help Buckner, visit www.buckner.org/our-work/beaumont.

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