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Texas Special Children's Projects hosts holiday affair Tuesday in Texarkana

by Junius Stone | December 7, 2021 at 10:00 p.m.
Billie Shaddix, a volunteer for Texas Special Children's Projects since 2010, helps serve Tuesday's Christmas dinner for participants. Texas Special Children's Project does this every year, only skipping 2020 because of COVID. Even then, they made arrangements to visit their community members, bringing gifts and Christmas cheer. (Staff photo by Junius Stone

TEXARKANA, Texas -- Christmas celebrants descended upon Texarkana Moose Lodge 2282 on Tuesday to participate in holiday revelry as well as community. The event, an annual holiday gala put on by Texas Special Children's Projects of Texarkana, featured a dinner, a visit by Santa, stockings filled with candy, and more.

"We've been doing this event for the whole 10-year history of the Texarkana chapter," said David Hanshaw, chapter director. "We only missed it in 2020 due to COVID. Even then, we made arrangements to visit these community members, bringing them presents and the like."

The mission of Texas Special Children's Projects is "to enrich the lives of handicapped, disabled and special needs individuals by providing quality recreational, entertainment and activity projects throughout the year."

Participants come from a diverse group, organizers say.

The people we serve and the activities we organize are important.

"Many are severely debilitated children in specialized care hospitals. In other cases, some are developmentally challenged adults who due to their challenges will remain psychologically at the age of a minor child during their lifetime. Others are those with extreme physical challenges which limit their mobility."

Senior citizens who suffer from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, are included.

Texas Special Children's Projects is funded through donations and is not supported by any government grants, according to its Website.

"We serve residents of local group homes taking care of special needs residents as well as helping families caring for a special needs person," Hanshaw said. "This event, in particular, is very special to the people we serve. Not only do they get a chance to enjoy some holiday fun especially for them, but this year even more than most, they get to reconnect socially. They missed out on some of that last year. We are here to ensure they have a good holiday time."

For Hanshaw, seeing them enjoy the celebration is worth the effort.

"It is very heartwarming to see them having a good time," he said. "This is all funded by members of the Texarkana community and it is good to see those resources put to good use. Most of our sponsors want to remain anonymous. They just want to help out and be a part of the occasion."

(For more information or to find out how to help, go to online.)

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