For many, the holidays are a time filled with gifts, food, loved ones, and magic, but this is not the case for everyone. Some view the holidays as a reminder that they may not have the funds to provide a feast for their family or presents under the tree. At Denton County Friends of the Family, we strive to bring magic back into the holidays — specifically for our clients who may be spending the holidays in our emergency shelter, or in the middle of transitioning into permanent housing.
Thanksgiving Day can be a painful reminder of our clients’ struggle with housing. That is why our team works hard to ensure that our clients can still enjoy the holiday. On Thanksgiving Day, we cater a full Thanksgiving meal for families, with comfort foods like turkey, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce, to name a few! Clients are also able to cook meals that may be traditional or meaningful to them. For our clients in the transitional housing program, being able to provide a Thanksgiving Day meal for them in their new home is an empowering experience.
The winter holiday at the shelter is a beautiful expression of togetherness: everyone joins in to decorate the home with lights, tinsel, and festive flair. Our shelter team gets together a few weeks before the big day to decorate the tree, and the children join in the fun by making holiday banners, wishing everyone well. Our transitional housing program provides our clients with decorations and a tree for their new home. On Christmas Eve, the shelter staff place presents under the tree for each family in the home. Our transitional housing program clients can do the same thing, thanks to our Adopt-A-Family program. For children living in our shelter, or participating in the transitional housing program, there is nothing more magical than waking up to presents under the tree, surrounded by loved ones.
Clients in our shelter or Transitional Housing program say they don’t feel like they’re in a program or a shelter. Instead, they feel like they’re part of a big family. This holiday season, you can be a part of the DCFOF family striving to make a difference in the lives of our clients by donating or volunteering. As we step into the holidays, help us ensure that everyone, regardless of their circumstance, experiences the same love and celebration that we hope you do during all year-round.
Visit our program pages for the Thanksgiving Drive and Adopt-A-Family to learn more about how you can get involved this holiday season.
Blog post was written by McKenna Johnson, who interviewed Melanie Sanchez, House Manager, and Victoria Schofield, Housing Navigator