AMARILLO - For the first time since coming to the panhandle, Arrow Child and Family Ministries is asking for the community's help in the form of a food drive.
For 23 years the same buildings on Pullman in Amarillo have housed the children Child Protective Services takes from unstable families, until the children are placed into an individual foster home.
But Arrow Child and Family Ministries has only been running the facility for the past three years.
"When we took over three years ago, there was limited community support, in fact a lot of people didn't know this property existed or that these services even existed," State Director Keith Howard said.
Howard and his staff have spent the past few years upgrading run-down rooms in an effort to make the shelter feel like a home. But the facility runs on money from the state that only pays for the very basic needs.
"Anytime we can get community support to offset some of that or enhance that funding, it just helps us be able to better serve the kids in some pretty cool ways," Howard said.
That's why the ministry is finally asking for help by teaming up with the owner of the Crave Factory for a 'Pack the Pantry' food drive.
"We're asking for donations to help them pack their pantry for the holidays, for Christmas," Owner of the Crave Factory, Laura Yerber said. "We want to be able to give them a home cooked meal, something that can be prepared there."
Like many in the panhandle, Yerber admits... "I did not know who they were," she said. "I did not know until we met Keith about how much they do for the children when they come in."
But Howard hopes that will change and the panhandle community will step up to take care of its children. "These are children from our community, from our backyards and from our neighborhoods and our schools," he said.
"I think often times people think the only way they can serve a foster kid is if they bring them into their home. And that's not the truth."
You can donate perishable, frozen, canned or non-perishable foods starting tomorrow at The Crave Factory's new location at 4925 South Western.
They will be accepting donations up until December 20th. Howard said the shelter is also always in need of clothing for children, and volunteers for various duties at the shelter.
For more information on how you can help, e-mail Howard at Keith.Howard@arrow.org, or call the office at (806)335-9138.