To supplement our 365 days-a-year work of providing clothes, shoes, and hygiene products, etc., CPD holds drives several times a year to provide additional items to the kids with open cases at CPS:
· Back-to-School provides backpacks with supplies and uniforms to about 1,800 kids
· Coats to 1,400 kids in the fall
· Toys at Christmas for 5,000 kids
The Back-to-School and Coat drives provide essential and necessary items to our kids for survival, and really I would argue that the Toy Drive at holiday time is also absolutely necessary for helping our kids to gain a sense of normalcy.
But we have a fourth drive:
· Easter Baskets
Even I can see how Easter Baskets might not be considered an essential item. In December, every kid on the block is going to get a toy or two. Kids crave the feeling of “fitting in” and they need a toy to do it. But not every kid is going to receive an Easter Basket this year.
Do our kids at Community Partners of Dallas really need an Easter Basket?
Maybe not, but what that Basket represents is really needed. Yes, I’m a Christian and I am thrilled that these kids will get a remembrance of the Easter Season, even if they don’t know what it means. But that is not why the Baskets are truly needed. And yes, I know that pretty much anyone is glad to receive a basket with candy and toys. But that is not why the Baskets are truly needed.
Imagine that you are a CPS investigative caseworker. You are headed to a home because a teacher called in a report of abuse and you are going to knock on that door and start asking a lot of personal questions of the parent who answers that door – A LOT of personal questions. You are going to ask to come inside her apartment, look inside her refrigerator, check for bug and rodent droppings, ask to see her child, take notes and photographs, question that parent about her work, her personal life, her habits, and more. One of our caseworkers told me once that doing this work was just his job every day, but that he always remembers that it is the worst day ever for the person with whom he is talking.
And this is why the Easter Baskets are important. Instead of knocking on that door and saying “I’m here to look at you, your kid, and more”, that caseworker can say, “I’m here to talk to you about all of these things, plus I’ve brought Easter Baskets for the kids.”
It helps that parent to see that the caseworker is there to help them. To bring a little joy to their child. And that (in turn) helps that parent to open up and start talking. To stop the abuse and start the healing.
Thank you so much if you donated to or volunteered for our Easter Basket Drive. The caseworkers will be here bright and early tomorrow morning to pick them up. Healing begins asap.