This item was produced by a reporter in the Schieffer School of Journalism's Public Affairs Reporting class.
Cowboy Santas are celebrating their 30th season of giving back to the community and are encouraging Tarrant county citizens to contribute.
"This is our 30th year of bringing toys to 12,000 children and about 5,000 families," Cowboy Santas outreach coordinator Michael Vega said. "We expect to reach those goals again this year."
The organization is looking for new, unwrapped toys and books for children 12 and under. Everyone in the community, including 109ers, is encouraged to give what they can to help the needy.
"The community has been coming together with the help of so many city employees collecting toys and books, helping children that might not have a merry Christmas with out the assistance," Rosie Moncrief, honorary chairperson for Cowboy Santas, said at the kickoff gala for the Cowboy Santas in November.
This is just the second year the group is taking books, which were a huge success last year.
"Books are valuable and educational," Vega said. "That is something that is easy for people to donate, too."
There are several drop-off places around the city where people can bring gifts. Seven community centers are taking gifts and the 95.9 FM The Ranch radio station and all Fort Worth police and fire departments are taking gifts.
The community centers are Andrew Session, Como, Martin Luther King, Northside, North Tri-Ethnic, Southside and Worth Heights.
"Some people donate a big item, like a bike, some can only give a $2 or $3 item, but there is no gift too small," Vega said. "As long as they are unwrapped and age appropriate, we will take it."
The Cowboy Santas have seven more "party dates" from Dec. 8-21. These are days when families in need can come and pick up their bag of toys. Families need to register at one of the community centers before picking up their toys.
By registering, the family is guaranteed an age, and gender-specific bag of gifts for the kids they register.
"We need volunteers that want to come in for an hour or two and pack presents or give out presents," Vega said. "Families will line up in the afternoon and collect their toys for their children volunteers."
The organization also has toy drives coming up including events with WFAA at the Will Rogers Center Dec. 13 and CBS 11 in Sundance Square Dec. 16.
Cowboy Santas is hosting a toy drive in Sundance Square Dec. 17 and a golf tournament Dec. 11 at Sycamore Creek Golf Course.
"We have been working all through October and November to get ready for these events," Vega said. "I know this will be a great year and we can't wait to help out 5,000 families in the county.”
Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief also spoke at the gala in November and he is encouraging everyone in the city to help those in need.
"I ask you to step up to the plate, to write a check, to volunteer, to go shopping for toys," Moncrief said. "Even if you don't have kids, go shopping anyway for those who need those toys."