On Tuesday, November 12, temps plummeted and winds howled on an unseasonably frigid Texas fall day. The weather was a stark reminder for hundreds of volunteers in the northwestern suburb of Southlake that still thousands more young neighbors were in need of warm winter clothes.
Founded in 2006, local non-profit Kids Matter International (KMI) has teamed with Kohl’s department stores since 2010 to provide clothing and much more to disadvantaged North Texas children. Pairing volunteer shopping guides with area families just in time for the holidays, KMI’s Around The Block program has grown with each passing year. Serving some 1,100-plus kids in 2012, the group set a new record in 2013 with events in both Southlake and Fort Worth. DFW Style Daily was proud to volunteer and sponsor a child, and through this community effort, 100% of proceeds raised go directly to those in need.
The scene at Around The Block 2013 in Southlake on the afternoon of November 12 was upbeat and active, as volunteers gathered in a tent pavilion in front of Kohl’s on Highway 114. Their numbers would eventually swell to over 400, queuing up while pop music played through loud speakers and local news vans converged. Mirroring the long line of volunteers, a line of benefiting families also numbered in the hundreds. Each child was armed with a $100 gift card, and many munched giant cookies or danced to Katy Perry’s latest hit as they awaited their turn to shop.
At 4 p.m. on the nose those lines were joined as introductions were made between volunteers and families. Group by group, everyone made their way into Kohl’s for a spree of record-setting proportions. Totes were filled with new jeans and slacks for school, Christmas dresses, and cozy sweaters. From toddlers to teens, all kids were outfitted for the cool months to come, and that was just the half of it.
After checking out at Kohl’s, families then visited booths to pick up backpacks, school supplies, new shoes from Bucker International, and books courtesy of the The Barbara Bush Foundation For Family Literacy. Additional partners included Boston’s Gourmet Pizza and the Ryan Palmer Foundation.
“Thousands of children suffer in our communities every day,” explained KMI Board Member Carinthia Kishaba. “Around the Block is such a great event. It is so rewarding to have a small child hug your leg and say ‘thank you’ for all her new clothes – because she’s never had new clothes before. The blessings flow both ways.”
A visit from Santa himself completed an afternoon we’ll not soon forget. For more information on Kids Matter International or to make a donation, visit KidsMatterInternational.org.
All photos, credit Mike Lewis for Kids Matter International.