Foster Love Bell County is bringing some early Yuletide cheer to the area with the third annual Christmas in July fundraiser.
This year, 40 businesses around the county have set up Christmas trees decorated with red, white and blue ornaments and donation cards containing information about how to donate to Foster Love. Supporters can take a card and mail it in with their donation, or they can follow the instructions on the card to submit their contribution online. The trees will be set up until the end of the month, and all donations are tax-deductible.
Candace Cartwright, founder of Foster Love Bell County, said last year’s fundraiser brought in about $13,500. She said this year more businesses participating in Christmas in July than ever have before.
In February, Foster Love Bell County opened its new property at 1003 N. Main St. in Belton, which serves as an office, conference space and temporary housing for foster children waiting for placement. Cartwright said one of the goals is to continue building on that success.
“One of our big focuses is really, since we opened up the Foster Love House, is continuing and sustaining that,” she said. “So that is kind of our big focus at the moment and will continue to be into the new year, just because there’s been so much – not just interest – but it’s just filling so many needs within the system, and so we will continue to pour into that.”
She said they are also looking into hiring another person, so they can expand their availability. She also said they are in the works of developing an educational advocacy program to help foster kids in the school system.
“Kids change schools so often throughout their course in foster care, and a lot of times their educational needs get dropped or missed or not followed through on from district to district,” Cartwright said. “So this person would be there to make sure that they aren’t being missed in any way in the academic realm.”
Since the Foster Love House is located right on Belton’s Fourth of July Parade route, Cartwright said they decided to kick off the fundraiser with a cook-off event during the parade for board members, “Love of the Month” award-winners and their families.
Cartwright wanted to give a “huge thank you” to all Foster Love supporters.
“A lot of times we get the question of ‘How much state funding do you receive?’ and the answer is absolutely nothing,” she said. “So everything we do is community-driven and community-funded, so this is really the lifeblood of who we are. We can’t sustain and do anything further without these donations, so we are so truly thankful to the community for their generosity.”
Businesses hosting Christmas Trees this year are:
Titan Total Training
Old Jody’s Restaurant
McGuire Tire - Belton
Exchange on Central
Re/Max – Temple and Belton
Good Life Café and Bakery
Impact Therapy Solutions
Crossroads Church – Belton
Temple Police Department
Pig and Pickle Food Truck
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop – Temple
Cedar Crest hospital and RTC
Smile at the World Orthodontics
Fellowship Baptist Church – Morgan’s Point Resort
Central Texas Baseball Academy
Fire Street Pizza
Chick-Fil-a – Temple
Belton RV Park
Temple Bible Church
JNeely’s Burrito Bar
Amy’s Attic – Belton, Salado, Harker Heights and Killeen
Nami Japanese Steak & Sushi – Temple and Belton
Oppose Gravity Performance Training
Pediatric Therapy Works
Bold Republic Brewery
State Farm – Lauren Smith
The Wood Group of Fairway
Faith Baptist Church – Belton