Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s Citizens’ Assistance Office (MCAO) is partnering with the Houston Police Department’s Police and Clergy Team (PACT) and Project LIFT, Inc. to host the 2nd Annual Spark of Love Children’s Christmas Luncheon and Toy Giveaway. Sponsors for this year’s event include Summit Dental, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Direct Energy, Resource Residential, Escopeta Oil, Lopez Negrete Communications, Sam’s Club, Kroger and the Museum of Cultural Arts, Houston.
“This time of year is for giving back,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. “The City of Houston is proud to organize an event for community members to feel the joy of the season even if they don’t necessarily have the financial means. I am grateful we have corporate sponsors who can help us turn dreams into reality for families and children.”
MCAO coordinated with case managers from local human service agencies, the Houston Police Department and local churches to identify children and families, some of whom are in the foster system, who lack the means for gifts or food items during the holidays. Children ages 2 to 14 yrs old from communities such as Brays Oaks, Gulfton, and Sharpstown were pre-registered for the event along with their parents or guardians.
Last year the event provided Christmas gifts to 400 families and anticipates serving 700 this holiday season.
Mayor Annise Parker and other elected officials including Scott Hochberg, State Representative, District 137; Al Hoang, Houston Council Member, District F; Mike Laster, Houston Council Member-elect, District J; Larry Green, Houston Council Member-elect, District K, visited with the families attending the luncheon. Attendees enjoyed games, musical guests, as well as picture opportunities with Santa Claus. During the event children visited the “North Pole,” where Santa’s Elves will assist them in selecting age-appropriate gifts. In addition, parents and guardians had opportunities to win door prizes and receive food boxes.
The Mayor’s Citizens’ Assistance Office partners with community organizations and businesses on several initiatives to provide assistance to communities and foster a greater quality of life in neighborhoods.
Police and Clergy Team (PACT) is a social outreach team that works with the Houston Police Department to help improve the safety and well-being of apartment communities through the implementation of comprehensive faith-based programs.
Project LIFT is a nonprofit, with a faith component, established to serve the immediate and long-term needs of homeless people, at-risk youth, persons with alcohol and drug dependency, victims of domestic violence and the ex-incarcerated residing in Houston. The program’s primary focus is to identify, utilize and partner with other agencies to reduce homelessness, as well as the recidivism rate in the state.