CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — For the third year, the Shop Local, Give Back campaign brought local businesses together to raise money for presents for local foster kids.
Darcy Esparza, the owner of “That Mattress Place” (formerly Box Drop Mattress), started the campaign in 2019. She sells advertising space to local businesses for “Shop Local, Give Back” t-shirts, and donates the money raised to A World for Children, a local non-profit that serves neglected and abused children, providing them with foster services.
“Most of the kids that come in to foster care have really never experienced Christmas,” said Kristal Quiroga, the area director for AWFC. “Most of these kids from abuse and neglect, so with that, Christmas would probably be put on the side. To be able to experience their own personal gifts, and not just one, but from the community, from partnerships, from us as an agency, is the world to them.”
AWFC has a toy giveaway annually, which was held on Wednesday, but some children enter into the foster system after the giveaway and before Christmas. The money raised specifically goes to providing those children with gifts.
Esparza said she was inspired to start this campaign by people she knows who have been involved in the foster system.
“I just think the people I know who either have been in the foster care system or who are parents, it’s just a struggle and there’s no perfect way to help,” she said. “Right now, money is probably the best thing we can do, unless you can physically foster somebody, money is the next best thing.”
Quiroga said just having presents to open on Christmas could mean the world to a kid in the foster system.
“For most of us, we’ve been able to experience Christmas as a child, these kids usually haven’t,” she said. “When they do come in to care, especially during the holidays, not only is it hard for them spending the holiday with a complete stranger in foster care, but they’ve been removed from what they know is normal. So, not only are they trying to adjust, not only is it the holidays, there’s a lot going on with them.”
In the three years of the campaign, local small businesses have raised more than $2,000 for A World for Children. Esparza plans on continuing the campaign next year. For businesses interested in participating, contact Esparza at That Mattress Place at 361-244-6993.