The primary mission of the Eveline Rivers Christmas Project is to improve educational outcomes and supply basic childhood needs to economically disadvantaged children during the Christmas and winter season. This organization, which has been operating for over thirty-five years, is unique to Amarillo and the surrounding area and serves primarily children, adolescents and teenagers in the Amarillo/Canyon community.
During the Christmas season the Eveline Rivers Christmas Project places over 14,000 books into homes where books are considered a luxury. Because of the Eveline Rivers Christmas Project children wake up on Christmas morning with a special gift just for them which could be a doll, truck, electronic game, basketball, or stuffed animal.
Many children do not have paper, pencils, crayons, coloring books or reading books. There are several organizations that provide school supplies prior to school starting in August, however this project is primarily the only organization that distributes school supplies for the second semester of school. It is also essential to the growth and development of young children that they have educationally appropriate materials for them at home. These children come to school better prepared if they have had these experiences at home. The Eveline Rivers Christmas Project does more than provide toys; it provides the basic tools for learning which too many times are missing from home environments.
This project has grown from serving 43 children in 1979 to providing over 6,300 children and adolescents with Christmas gifts and over 2,300 children with warm coats in 2016. The Christmas project employs one full time and one part time employee. Other job positions are filled by dedicated board members and volunteers.
The goals of the Christmas project are as follows:
- • Promote literacy by placing age appropriate books in homes where books are considered a luxury. In the past five years the Christmas project has placed over 40,000 books in the hands of economically deprived children in the Amarillo and Canyon area.
- • Provide warm coats to children in Amarillo and surrounding communities.
- • Enhance the spirit of giving during the Christmas season by providing toys, books, personal hygiene items (soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo and deodorant), and school supplies (notebook paper, spiral notebooks and pencils) to economically deprived children in the Amarillo area. During the Christmas season more than 1,500 volunteers in a collaborative effort from schools, churches, businesses, community organizations, and individuals give of their time to organize, box, wrap, deliver gifts, and fit children in coats.