Santa packed healthy options for 7,100 Head Start students throughout Harris County as the 43rd Annual Santa Houston CPA Goody Bag Stuffing Campaign provided early holiday packages Dec. 6.
Families of 3- to 5-year-old students in Head Start receive a bag filled with an apple, healthy snacks, books and a dental kit.
Partners in the program are the Houston Area CPA Society, Southern Dental and the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston. At Harris County Department of Education, 1,100 students benefit from the donations.
Several hundred volunteers stuffed the bags at the Ripley Houston. The endeavor took several hours but is a great kick-start for giving during the holiday season, said Elyse Turla, Houston CPA Society communications manager.
A significant donation by South Texas Dental supplied toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss packages for each of the students this year, Turla said.
The Houston CPA Society has 7,200 members who represent 13 area counties surrounding Houston. Funds for the goody bags come from the CPA Helping Schools Committee Grant combined with donations from members.
Head Start programs are federally funded and provide educational services for low-income families of pre-school children, including those with disabilities. Center staff works daily with children to improve their school readiness. Activities also help children develop self confidence, initiate problem-solving skills and promote socialization. The program engages family involvement as parents are included in classes about nutrition, child rearing and job training.
The program encourages adult leadership growth by allowing parents to volunteer in Head Start in the classrooms, on parent committees and policy council.
HCDE Head Start Director Venetia Peacock says this partnership and support from the private sector significant and meaningful during the holiday season, especially given the recent cuts in federal Head Start funding.
For more information about head Start programs sand enrollment information, call 713-672-9373.
About Harris County Department of Education’s Head Start: Harris County Department of Education Head Start Area I serves families residing in east and northeast Harris County, providing 14 area centers for over 1,100 children and their families. Head Start is a federally funded program that prepares children ages 3-5 for school. It also supports and promotes strong families through parent participation and training. Low-income families and families of children with special needs benefit from services. For more information, call (713) 672-9343, www.hcde-texas.org.
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