They started showing up before 7:30 Friday night to be among the first inside Fair Park’s Automobile Building. There were plenty of wheels inside but they were attached to new bicycles, not cars. 15,000 bikes for boys and girls from families in a financial bind.
"Oh man, I don’t know how to say thank you," said 13-year old Thomas Ombura while sitting on his new bike. "I just appreciate them so much."
"It’s awesome because I got the color I like. I like purple and it’s big enough for me to ride," said 10-year old Julia Ayala about her new bike.
Kids also got to select a toy and their parents picked out new clothes for the family as well as food from the North Texas Food Bank. "I’m blessed this is happening for us and our kids," said mom Carmen Ayala.
When we asked what kind of Christmas it would be without Christmas in the Park, single mother of two Tabatha Traylor said, "A lot more stressful, that’s for sure, It’s hard being a single mom, paying all the bills on our own so this helps out a lot. I really appreciate it.”
Corporate donors and a man determined to improve the quality of life for the needy make all this happen.
"In this time of economic downturn and the layoffs that are occurring in our country, we are here to lend a helping hand and make sure all the kids have what they want for Christmas," said S.M. Wright, the President and CEO of the S.M. Wright Foundation which has been putting on Christmas in the Park for 14 years.
Back in 1998, the event helped 200 underprivileged kids. This year Wright estimates about 40,000 South Dallas residents benefited.