At certain times, like North Texas Giving Day, D Magazine likes to highlight good causes. That’s what this is. This Saturday, the city’s largest holiday fundraising event happens at the city’s most underused asset and helps Dallas’ neediest. For the past 21 years, the S.M. Wright Foundation has grown Christmas in the Park from a small event that served 200 underprivileged kids to one that last year aided more than 44,000 families at Fair Park’s Automobile Building.
It’s bikes and toys for Christmas, but also furniture and clothing for their parents. There’s a room where thousands of bikes are lined up waiting for kids. There’s music and food. The Automobile Building roars to life. Students from Highland Park High School spend months finding gently used coats bedding, shoes, and athletic clothes that are presented to kids and their families. Recipients register months in advance, then come to Fair Park to enjoy the day.
Pierce and Allie Beth Allman are again co-chairs. Pierce recalls Allie Beth and S.M. Wright II organizing a program to feed families at Thanksgiving. That grew into Christmas at the Park, a way to help the impoverished surrounding neighborhoods meet their basic needs.
“Many folks are in dire straits and truly want to be self-sufficient and self-reliant,” Pierce Allman said. “They have a strong desire to learn and get back on their feet. We want to help.”
The monetary donations go toward future Christmas in the Parks or other events that the S.M. Wright Foundation organizes throughout the year. Guidestar, which rates and tracks nonprofits, has awarded the organization a Gold Award for its open transparency. (Its last available 990 Form, from 2018, showed that it provided almost $1 million in contributions and grants.)
The event isn’t open to the public, and volunteer spots are full, but donations are welcome. Head here for more information. Have any other holiday campaigns that need a shout out? Put them in the comments.