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Help Highland Lakes crisis centers support families during the holidays

CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF

HIGHLAND LAKES — Families in crisis will find solace this holiday season as hundreds of residents open up their hearts and wallets to donate gifts, cash and food in support of various giving projects and programs.

Participating groups, which handle abuse and neglect cases and housing families, include the Highland Lakes Crisis Center in Marble Falls, the Hill Country Children’s Advocacy Center in Burnet and the Court Appointed Special Advocates for the Highland Lakes Area, which is based in Kingsland.

“Often, these children are in homes with strangers. They’re in court. They’re having to go to different schools. They have different doctors,” said Galyn Woerner, advocate coordinator for CASA. “Gifts like this make children feel normal. It may be something that reminds them of home, reminds them of what they used to have and a time that was more happy.”

CASA serves children who have been removed from the home and provides volunteers to act as a voice and representative for their needs in court.

To brighten the Christmas of CASA children:

• Offer gift cards to select a handmade ornament on the Angel Tree at Security State Bank, 608 U.S. 281 in Marble Falls

• Deliver gift cards or donate presents to the center, 1719 Ridgeview in Kingsland, especially for infants to 3 years old

For the Family Crisis Center, which provides temporary housing for women and children, coordinators have asked residents to donate items for Santa’s Workshop, located in the center’s Good Neighbor Thrift Store.

The thrift store is located at 1104 RR 1431 in Marble Falls.

“The families that we serve are fleeing family violence. They’ve left everything behind. They’re displaced because of violence that has occured in their life,” said Alma Lahmon, executive director of the crisis center. “For them to have a sense of normalcy around the holidays is very important.”

Just like the other nonprofit groups, Hill Country Childrens Advocacy Center, which serves children in Blanco, Burnet, Lamapas, Llano, Mason and San Saba counties, cares for youngsters trying to recover from traumatic experiences.

“They’ve left everything behind,” said Susan Kulbath, advocacy center program and clinical services director. “Just because this tragedy happened, it doesn’t mean their whole world is going to fall apart.”

To support an advocacy center Christmas for abused and neglected children:

• Adopt a family or child by either shopping with a provided list or offering donations to the center, 1001 N. Hill St. in Burnet

• Offer an H-E-B gift card to sponsor a family dinner

• Make a donation in honor of or in memory of a child

“It gives them a sense of security,” Kulbath said. “There are still people who care about me. We’re still going to have Christmas.”

connie@thepicayune.com