By Danielle McCarthy Everett
Local nonprofit Aware Central Texas celebrated the 10th anniversary of its annual Christmas on the Farm event Saturday at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton. The annual event is Aware’s biggest fundraising effort each year and the money raised goes toward furthering the group’s mission of preventing child abuse, neglect and family violence in communities throughout Central Texas.
“It’s a low-cost event for families,” said Harriet Brodie, director of development for Aware Central Texas. “We try to create a neat family event that they can remember for years to come.”
Brodie said the event has become a family tradition for many in the Central Texas area and estimated thousands of people visited the event throughout its duration Saturday afternoon. She said a group of 200 to 300 volunteers made this year’s event possible and set up about 40 fun activities throughout the expo center, including horse and tractor rides and even a booth where kids could visit with Santa Claus himself. Each activity required a certain number of tickets, which cost 50 cents each and directly benefit Aware.
“We’re about kids,” Brodie said. “We want to bless kids. We want kids to be happy and we want them to have something that they can remember the special times and that’s what we’re doing at Christmas on the Farm. Everybody’s here doing that very thing.”
One volunteer, Kisena Anderson of Copperas Cove, said Christmas on the Farm became such a special tradition for her and her children when they were younger that they all decided to volunteer at the event together this year.
“It means a lot,” Anderson said. “Aware Central Texas is an amazing organization and what they stand for is awesome. Just seeing all these people here – this is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Aware, so this means it’ll be an awesome year for them.”
Many other volunteers were affiliated with various local nonprofit and community organizations, such as the Kiwanis Club of Belton and the Belton Citizens Helping in Police Services program. Martin Serbin, a volunteer with the Belton CHIPS program, said the organization’s involvement in the event means a lot.
“It means we actually care for the community,” Serbin said. “We try to get involved as much as we can with the community.”
Brodie said plans for this year’s event began in August and are already in the works for next year’s event.
If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering for Aware please contact 254-939-7982 or stop by Aware located at 903 N Main St.