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Saturday morning, I volunteered at Love for Kids‘ 39th Annual Holiday Event for disadvantaged children. It was probably the most epic party I’ve ever attended.

IMG_20141213_090405_126About 2,000 kids aged 6-12 from various local groups converged on Circle R Ranch in Flower Mound and were welcomed warmly to say the least.

There were singers and dancers, arts and crafts, Santa’s workshop, horse rides, a petting zoo, a bounce house, educational booths, toys collected at the Margarita Ball, free coats, and an inflatable slide, obstacle course, and jousting.

IMG_20141213_094612_815I had signed up for the petting zoo, because duh, but when I showed up, the organizers needed people to help set up the food area, so I begrudgingly obliged. We put chips and cookies in several thousand paper trays for the kids and their chaperones.

IMG_20141213_094030_497Then, while waiting for the hot dogs to cook, we went to greet the kids and hand them toys. As with most of my volunteering, greeting the kids was at first a little sad and overwhelming and then very uplifting. It breaks my heart to know that so many kids in the metroplex are in need, but seeing their happy little faces as they got off the buses was heartwarming. I was in charge of handing out calculators and cute little horse dolls. My favorite kid yelled, “Just what I wanted!” when I handed him a horse. Another little boy was shivering and said, “It’s cold! Glad I’m getting a coat here!” and I almost burst into tears. Some of the older kids looked a little embarrassed to high-five everyone in the line, but they were still smiling. My hand hurt by the end.

IMG_20141213_094805_568After all the kids were inside, we had a little down time, so I wandered around, said hi to my friends, and took some pictures. I think I might have been more excited than the kids when I ran into the Justice League.

IMG_20141213_104123_219Once the hot dogs were ready, volunteers started opening buns, putting hot dogs in them, and placing hot dogs in each tray. Once the kids started coming through the line, we were running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to keep up with them.

I had to leave at noon, but it looked like it was going to continue to be an awesome day for all those kids.

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(Human kids, not these kids)

Love for Kids started in 1975 when it held its first party for 200 kids. They also hold a yearly party for senior citizens, a summer picnic for chronically ill children, and after-school programs. Their fundraisers include a “Day at the Derby” in May with mint juleps, a hat contest, and betting on the Kentucky Derby and “Palette to Palate,” a food, wine, and art event in August. You can contact them to help at these events or help sort toys for the holiday event.

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