Abused children get nice holiday surprise

Mar. 31—Nearly 270 children who have been the victims of neglect and/or abuse will have something to smile about this Easter thanks to Discovery Toys by Jennifer, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Harmony Home Children's Advocacy Center and Charlie and Lyn Kirkpatrick.

Last year, Discovery Toys by Jennifer organized an Easter Basket fundraiser to provide children who were receiving services from Harmony Home sweets and educational and interactive toys. This year, Discovery Toys expanded the fundraiser to include children who have been placed in foster care while their parents go through the reunification process.

Maddison Bacon, a faith-based community engagement specialist with DFPS, said CPS caseworkers will deliver the presents throughout the next week and their foster parents can give them to the children immediately or on Easter Sunday.

Due to the difficulties in delivering so many Easter Baskets, the kids will instead receive colorful bags, Bacon said.

In addition to the 160 foster children who will receive the gift-filled bags, Harmony Home Executive Director Carrie Bronaugh said 108 of their children will receive presents thanks to the fundraiser and the Kirkpatricks, who are on the Ector County Child Welfare Board.

Many times children are placed with family members who come from the same socioeconomic background as their parents and can't afford to get them Easter Baskets, Bacon said.

"We're always so excited to see the community reaching out to uplift the families and youth we serve," Bacon said.