Dallas-area Opportunities Abound for Helping Those in Need at the Holidays

The month of December should keep you busy with holiday preparations. Here are a few social service and entertainment events to get you in the spirit and help ease Christmas financial burdens for families in need.Friday — At 10 a.m., a special student performance of the 24th annual Christmas Kwanzaa Concert will be at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters at 1309 Canton St. at Akard Street in downtown Dallas. A 300-voice combined choir and band from participating Dallas public schools will perform hymns, gospel, classical, and spirituals.Participating schools include Conrad, Dunbar, Life Charter, Lincoln, Kimball, Rice, the Townview band, and a special guest choir from Texas College in Tyler. Admission is $5. To inquire, visit www.tbaal.org or call 214-743-2440. There is no free parking.— At 8 p.m., another public performance of the above Christmas Kwanzaa Concert at TBAAL will be given. Tickets are $10.— From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., a holiday reception and toy drive will be held at the Sheraton Hotel Dallas, 400 Olive St. The event benefits Vogel Alcove Childcare Center, which serves homeless children. The Regional Black Contractors Association and its supporters are sponsoring the drive. To learn more, call 214-565-8946.Saturday and Sunday From noon to 4 p.m., young string musicians, a string ensemble and hand bell choir will play Christmas Music Under the Dome at the African American Museum, 3536 Grand Ave. inside Fair Park. A jewelry marketplace also will be available for holiday shoppers. To inquire, visit www.aamdallas.org or call 214-565-9026.SundayAt 7:30 p.m., versatile Texas musical artist and composer Ray L. Baker will exhibit his proficiency in various musical genres on the saxophone and other instruments during the Joy to the World Jazz Concert. He will perform in the Bank of America Theater inside the innovative, contemporary Eisemann Center for Performing Arts at 2351 Performance Drive in Richardson. RLB Productions is the sponsor.The program will feature favorite holiday carols in jazz art form and narratives of the songs' historical origin. Patrons are encouraged to bring canned goods for a drive supporting the North Texas Food Bank during the holiday season. Patrons also may make donations for the drive when they purchase the $25 concert tickets online at www.eisemanncenter.com. To inquire further, call 972-744-4650.Dec. 17From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., more than 44,000 individuals and families are expected to experience an array of activities — including giveaway toys, bikes, food, coats, other clothes, holiday gifts, home necessities, and a visit with Santa — at the 18th annual Christmas in the Park in the Automobile Building at Fair Park. About 1,800 volunteers usually help, and local dignitaries stop by.Eligible, pre-screened low-income families have benefited from the event since the nonprofit S.M. Wright Foundation began the operation in 1998. It has grown from the initial 200 to now more than 44,000 individuals served. The foundation pays homage to the late Dr. S.M. Wright Sr., prominent pastor of People's Baptist Church in South Dallas, whose community service inspired his family and supporters to launch the foundation. Texas state officials also named S.M. Wright Freeway in his honor. To learn more, visit www.smwrightfoundation.org and www.christmasatfairpark.com or call 214-741-4992.E-mail norma_adams_wade@yahoo.com  Continue reading...

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