Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Reason

From the Book of Luke:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 

Can you imagine sending your child to this scary world?  Knowing your child would face hate, persecution, prejudice?  

But this happens every day, every minute.

In Dallas, at Parkland Hospital alone, more than 40 babies are born each day and each one of them will face evil and hate.  We all do.

If I were God (and as Lenny Bruce would say "it depends on the s-- you're smokin'), I don't know that I would have sent my son to die.  But parents have babies every day -- even knowing that this world will hurt and ultimately kill them -- because there is also so much joy in life.  

Yes, life is not perfect.  We don't always get our way.  People do hurt our feelings.  But, we can all do something every day to better this scary world.

Thank you for helping Community Partners of Dallas to help the abused and neglected children of Dallas County.  Each one of us is needed to keep babies safe.  Merry Christmas -- Paige 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Go to Hell.

Just a short one (and 2 days late) since I've had a crazy week...

My favorite toast:

Here's to those who wish us well and all the rest can go to hell.

And because this makes me think of another of my favorite quotes:

You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.
-- Davy Crockett

Happy Holidays.  Hope yours are not hellish!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I hate Walmart.

I hate Walmart -- and if you don't, you haven't been there lately and tried to give them $2,500...

It is crunch time for the CPD Toy Drive.  The icy weather in Dallas put us back a little, but our timing cannot be extended.  The CPS caseworkers must have a few days to deliver the toys to the kids and for some caseworkers "deliver" means dropping off to more than 50 different houses all over Dallas County, packing and unpacking their cars each time.

Anyway, this morning Natalie and I were over at our Peacock Alley Toy Drive warehouse (the kind people at Peacock Alley let us produce the toy drive from their warehouse every year -- I don't know what we'd do with out them) meeting with some great donors from Princess House.  Princess House gave us the most darling children's kitchen stuff -- it is professional quality, but made for children's hands -- fantastic stuff.

Here's a photo of me with the Princess House CEO Connie Tang and a few of their top organizers:  Luz Balderas, Marilu Rodriguez, and Graciela Montes.  We cannot wait to hear about the children who are going to be inspired by this generous gift -- made possible by The Today Show Holiday Toy Drive.

The Peacock Alley warehouse was hopping with donations flowing in from individuals like Mary Taylor, companies like Carrington, Coleman, Sloman, and Blumenthal (who also had a team of employees there volunteering), to big groups like Highland Park United Methodist Church.  Yay, Dallas -- you are doing it for the kiddos!

Anyway, back to Walmart.

As Natalie and I are leaving to head back to the office we get a call from Corinne with an SOS. 

Getting all of the toys in to serve 5,000+ kids with 2 toys each is multi-faceted.  Some people fill wishes, some people just bring in undesignated toys, and some people give money and let us do the shopping.  One of the items we're always short on are bikes

There are several reasons for this.  First, they're expensive.  Second, they're bulky and don't fit in your car.  Third, donors don't want to put them together (we have volunteers to do this, so don't let that stop you next year, friends!).  Fourth, the helmet is an additional expense. 

But, we always have lots of requests for bikes.  A bike gives a child a little independence -- and for abused and neglected kids that is super-important.  Believe me, if it wasn't we wouldn't have so many requests for them -- remember, the caseworkers are the ones who make the requests on behalf of the children, and just think about that caseworker having to personally deliver 1 or 2 or 10 or 20 bikes!  If they are willing to go to the trouble, we want to be sure that those kids get bikes if they want one.

So, the SOS from Corinne (who manages our drive and all of our corporate relations) was that the bikes she ordered with Walmart could not be released to the drivers who were picking them up and bringing them to the warehouse because Walmart would not take our credit card over the phone.  STRIKE ONE.

NOTE:  Now I understand this -- it was a $2,500 bike order, but seriously, Corinne had already talked with several managers to get this set up, get our tax ID ready, etc.

Next, we find Natalie and me waiting in the Customer Service line at Walmart.  It is noon.  One person is helping people in the long line.  One person.  STRIKE TWO.

All we need is someone to page our contact person to tell her we're there so we can pay, but we are waiting in line.  We finally stop someone who looks like a manager (he's wearing a headphone communication set) and I ask him if he can let our person know that we're there.  He does contact her and pass along the message without once looking me in the eye or even responding to anything I've said. STRIKE THREE.

We then wait 30 more minutes waiting for our contact to come -- finally even busy staff people ask us as they keep walking past what we're waiting on -- another manager calls her again -- and finally someone who our person sent to TAKE MY F-ING $2,500+ shows up.  Instead of just running the amount on my credit card and letting us leave this person has to ring each bike up individually.  It is a nightmare and she even had to start over once.  STRIKE ONE MILLION.

Why, Oh Why?

The problem with Walmart is that not a single employee cares whether or not they make a sale -- a 10 dollar one, a two thousand dollar one or a fifty thousand dollar one.

It is no way to run a company, but they sure seem successful.  And we want to buy as many bikes as we can for the kids. 

Yes, I hate Walmart, but I know that I'll be back there next year to buy the bikes.

But I'm spending my money at Target.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Top Toys for Christmas -- Help!

Well, it's Christmas time at Community Partners of Dallas and BOY, have we been blessed with lots of donors who have taken wishes for our kiddos.

This year we had more than 7,600 wishes turned in from the CPS caseworkers in Dallas County -- and that is 14% more than last year.  And even though there are 6 less days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, our donors (and our hard-working staff at CPD) have really stepped it up to make sure wishes get filled for the kids.

NOTE:  That whole 6 less days thing is really being felt by me in my own home decorating.  As someone who has always said that holiday decorating is what separates us from the animals (and yes, I know that my line is a take-off from Steel Magnolias -- they instead say "accessorizing" is what separates us), I have yet to have put out a single wooden Santa, light or bow.  I do have one dejected looking piece of garland only because my neighbor the Boy Scout orders it for me every year without fail.

But, that does not mean that we are out of the woods with the Toy Drive at CPD -- we still have wishes left if you want some, so call today 214-624-7557 -- but now I'm worrying about those kids who don't have a wish in our pile at all...

You see, we have a deadline for the caseworkers to turn in wishes to us back in October, so the kids who have come into care since then never had a wish out in the world.  And with Dallas County CPS working with more than 21,000 reports annually, you know that's a lot. 

So, if you are able, we'd really appreciate your help with our Last Stop Holiday Shop (that's what we call the undesignated toy drive).  Here are some of the most needed items -- our Top Toys for Christmas:
  • Baby Dolls -- all ethnicities needed
  • Push Toys
  • Infant items -- rattles, onesies, etc.
  • Gift Cards (to any store in increments of $25 each)
  • Bikes
  • All type of sports balls -- for all ages
  • Bath and body sets for both boys and girls
Of course, if you just want to donate funds, we'd love that too -- we have lots of volunteers who will do the shopping for you!  Mail your gift today to Community Partners of Dallas, 1215 Skiles St, Dallas, TX 75204 or if you want to donate online at just let us know by marking Toy Drive in the donation drop down menu and we'll be sure that your gift is designated appropriately.

NOTE:  The kids in our drive have been let down by adults over and over in their lives and so when they whisper a wish to their caseworker, they don't really expect it to come true.  And when it does come true, it shows that child that there are some people in the world that he can count on.

I'm counting on you.

Here I am with just a few of the wishes my mom filled this year.  They are sitting in my office until she comes by to inspect the choices I made...