It’s difficult to think of Christmas in Parker County without giving.
Each year, a group of men start the holiday spirit months in advance; fundraising for local children.
Parker County Sheriff’s Posse members begin making their holiday lists with the June Rodeo, and with the Ranch Rodeo held each September. This Posse tradition began about a decade ago.
All proceeds from the mutton busting events in the main rodeo and from the Ranch Rodeo go toward a child-based Christmas project. This year, Posse members chose the Santa’s Helpers Manna Storehouse Angel Tree project.
Back in 1947, a group of 13 area ranchers and business men formed the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse with more on their minds than assisting the sheriff or hosting rodeos. They intended to keep the heritage of the old west alive and pass on western traditions to each generation.
“When the charter members formed the Sheriff’s Posse, they had a specific ideology in mind,” said Posse Captain Randy O’Neal. “For the past 70 years, each member has contributed to the Posse and community with their own talents, and each member contributed with the spirit of a giving nature. We hope to continue sharing the western heritage that we grew up with. In providing gifts for the Angel Tree, we are the ones who received the blessing. We truly enjoy participating in this project.”
Manna Storehouse and the Salvation Army started out with 1,412 Parker County angels for the 2016 Christmas season. There are currently 200 angels who did not get adopted. Although there is no time left to adopt the angels out, volunteers are currently accepting donations in order to fill the angel’s wishes in-house.
Santa’s Helpers Co-director Casey Woodard said the 2016 season has been the most successful year, to date. In 2015, more than 600 angels were left to purchase gifts and clothing for in-house.
“This week, the Sheriff’s Posse members donated enough toys for about 27 children,” Woodard said. “It’s just so nice to be chosen out of all the other organization and charities out there. Every single donation is appreciated because of the number of children is growing. Every toy, every coat, every donation counts, and is desperately needed. We appreciate the Posse members and the entire Parker County community for coming together to help fill the Christmas wishes of these children.”
Woodard added Manna Storehouse is seeking new clothing and toys in order to fill the remaining 200 angel wishes. Donations can be dropped off through Friday only between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., at 129 East Spring Street, in Weatherford.
Woodard said the greatest needs are for toys, hoodies and shoes sizes ranging from toddler to women and men’s sizes for older angels.
The final deadline for drop off donations is this Friday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m.
Monetary donations will be taken throughout the year to begin the 2017 Christmas season.