VENUS — Christmas 4 Kids helped Venus families have a merry Christmas on Saturday at the Venus Elementary School.

Volunteers handed out presents, bicycles and fed every family a chicken dinner meal, while children had the chance to meet Miss Texas, a movie star, recording artist and several mascots.

Christmas 4 Kids is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that hosts an annual project to help provide both less fortunate families and kids with presents for Christmas.

Special guests included Miss Texas DaNae Couch, recording artist David Jon Hartmann, Waxahachie-native and actor Donny Boaz and Santa Claus. The Chick-fil-A Cow, Venus ISD Bulldog and Captain, the Texas Rangers mascot, played with the children and brought smiles to face through their silly antics.

Couch and Boaz both spoke to the children, encouraging them to make good decisions in life and pursue their dreams.

“As Miss Texas I hope to inspire students to always make healthy and good choices and aspire to big dreams,” Couch said, who also attended last year’s event as Miss Dallas. “I think this is a great event, especially in December. The look on their faces is priceless, and I feel fortunate to be included for the second year.”

Volunteer Crystal Gaither said the event doubled in size since last year, when Christmas 4 Kids provided presents for about 57 families and 200 children in Venus.

“This year we wanted to do Christmas 4 Kids on steroids, so we have a feast feeding 600 people in the (gym) and in (the cafeteria) we have three times as many bicycles as last year,” Gaither said. “Monica (Franklin) and I have been living, eating and breathing this charity for two months, fundraising, shopping for toys and collecting donations.”

Gaither said there is a great need in Venus inspiring David Bauman, founder of Christmas 4 Kids and recording artists, to begin the annual event and aid families in need.

“We’ve been doing Christmas 4 Kids for about 12 years,” Bauman said. “We started with orphanages and then a few years ago we started helping specific families and communities in need. We bring celebrities to encourage the kids and give them something to do while the parents take the gifts to their cars.”

Volunteers from local social service organizations aided Christmas 4 Kids volunteers by serving food, sorting presents by age and helping to organize the event.

Christmas 4 Kids members wanted to thank their sponsors, Manna House, Clark Dental and Roof Time Contractors for their donations and volunteering their time and services.

For more information about Christmas 4 Kids, visit www.davidbauman.com/featured/christmas-4-kids.

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