This month, I embarked on my annual journey across Texas to bring the Foundation’s Christmas Lights Program to over 1,200 children with special needs in 19 Texas public school districts. This is a very special event for our organization because it brings the excitement of Christmas to children around Texas in need of some good cheer. As I spend hours driving from city-to-city, day-by-day, I cannot help but to be grateful for all the wonderful financial donors and remarkable volunteers who support us each year. None of these events, especially our signature program, Christmas Lights, would be possible without everyone’s generosity.
The Mostyn Moreno Foundation was created in 2006 by Houston lawyers Amber and Steve Mostyn to honor the memory of two caring Texans: Glenda Jean Mostyn, mother, grandmother, sister, and East Texas educator and Texas State Representative Joe E. Moreno, son, brother, friend, and legislator. Christmas Lights, the Foundation’s signature program, was created with the vision of creating a unique educational program which stimulates decision-making, social skills and other important life skills with the guidance of their caretakers and teachers. The Christmas Lights Program gives each participating child an allowance of $50 cash to spend at a dedicated Walmart store. The teachers work with each child in understanding their budget and deciding which gifts to purchase.
One of the most remarkable things I have witnessed year-after-year at these events is how many of the children we give shopping cash to decide to purchase gifts for their loved ones instead of splurging on themselves. It is has been a life-changing experience for me to see.
After each shopping excursion, every child, caretaker, teacher and volunteer are treated to a festive lunch, highlighted with a visit from old Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus).
In 2014, we added seven more Texas public school districts, raising the total number of participating districts to 19 and children we support to over 1,200. The $50 per child shopping allowance for 1,200 children translates to $60,000 and the all of the catered holiday luncheons cost an additional $40,000, totaling $100,000 annually to run this one event but the return of the investment is priceless.
The Foundation’s programs are only made possible through the giving of generous donors like you. Thank you for your support this year, you made Christmas possible for over 1,200 children with special needs.
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!