The holiday season is fast approaching, and some of the people served at HHS state hospitals and state supported living centers will be spending the holidays away from their loved ones.
The staff at HHS Health and Specialty Care System facilities and the volunteers in their communities are working hard to make the holiday season bright for patients and residents, and they could use your help.
Lynn Hopper, the community relations director at Lufkin SSLC, said the holidays are the most exciting time of the year for their residents, who have intellectual or developmental disabilities.
“I have already had some of the school-age residents asking me if Santa is coming this year,” she said, adding that she reassures them that he is. “They just love to talk about it. We decorate the campus. Everyone has a decorated tree in their home and at least three gifts to open on Christmas morning.”
Hopper said they have a resident who observes Hanukkah, and the Lufkin SSLC chaplain helps the home staff prepare the appropriate meals each night.
Every facility works just as hard, but the state cannot pay for gifts and special treats for the people we serve. This funding often comes from the Volunteer Services Councils (VSCs) that work with each hospital and living center.
The VSCs are instrumental year-round in helping support and enhance the lives of residents and patients. Last fiscal year they contributed more than $1.8 million in goods and services.
But many generous community members (including HSCS staff) also make the holidays extra special, hosting parties and providing donated gifts.
Monetary donations to the VSCs are always welcome and allow for more flexibility, and many facilities have specific wish lists for donated items, such as games, toiletries, clothes and music CDs.
Also, COVID-19 has limited on-campus volunteer opportunities that have existed in the past. Those interested in getting involved should contact their local community relations department for specifics.
VSC Holiday Wish List
If you or your group would like to donate to a VSC for the holidays, see the information below. Donations benefit the people served at SSLCs and state hospitals. Even if you can’t donate, you can still help — spread the word in your community through social media, word of mouth, etc.
Abilene State Supported Living Center
- Call Shae Butts at 325-795-3547.
Austin State Hospital
- Monetary donations are accepted at ashvolunteers.org.
- Items still needed include men’s and women’s watches, book-bound journals (no spiral) and playing cards.
- Call Cindy Reed at 512-419-2333.
Austin State Supported Living Center
- Volunteers have several opportunities to host holiday parties at resident homes.
- Call Aylin Ortiz at 512-374-6160.
Big Spring State Hospital
- Call Carl Reid at 432-270-3141.
Brenham State Supported Living Center
- Items needed include men’s and women’s wallets, simple card games, drawing pads, and colognes and lotions for both men and women.
- Call Christy Shelton at 979-277-1507.
Corpus Christi State Supported Living Center
- Monetary donations are accepted at corpusvsc.com.
- Items needed include men’s and women’s body wash, spray and lotion sets.
- Call Lori Garcia at 361-844-7815.
Denton State Supported Living Center
- Monetary donations are accepted at vscdenton.org.
- During the week of Dec. 13–17, radio station WBAP 820 AM will host Christmas Is for Caring, an annual fundraising event for the Denton VSC. To donate, call 972-764-8484 from 6 a.m.– 7 p.m.
El Paso Psychiatric Center
- Call Zulema Carrillo at 915-532-2202.
El Paso State Supported Living Center
- Items needed include DVD players, CD players, radios, men’s and women’s pajamas (all sizes), hats, gloves, scarves and backpacks.
- Call Maria Martinez at 915-782-6488.
Kerrville State Hospital
- Monetary donations are accepted at kerrvillevsc.org.
- Call Caryn Talarico at 830-896-2211, ext. 6150.
Lubbock State Supported Living Center
- Items needed include blankets, scarves, gloves, and cologne and perfume sets.
- Call Sandy Anderson 806-741-3632.
Lufkin State Supported Living Center
- To donate and access a list of items needed, visit vsclufkin.com.
- Call Lynn Hopper at 936-853-8262.
Mexia State Supported Living Center
- Call Tonya Cockrell at 254-562-1301.
North Texas State Hospital — Wichita Falls and Vernon
- Call Ronna Akins at 940-552-4184.
Richmond State Supported Living Center
- Items needed include AM/FM/CD clock radios, CDs, DVD movies, fleece throws, men’s and women’s pajamas, men’s and women’s socks, backpacks, sketch pads, colored pencils and watercolor paints.
- Call Brenda Rangel at 281-344-4525.
Rio Grande State Center
- Monetary donations can be made at rgsccvc.org.
- Call Terri Lievanos at 956-364-8255.
Rusk State Hospital
- Items needed include men’s caps with plastic clasps in the back, puzzle books, men’s and women’s socks, cosmetic bags and grocery store gift cards (to purchase fresh fruit for stockings).
- Call Kimberly McDaniel at 903-683-7613.
San Angelo State Supported Living Center
- Monetary donations are accepted at vscsanangelo.org.
- Items needed include slippers, men’s and women’s pajamas, MP3 players and Bluetooth headphones.
- Call Heather Cavin at 325-253-7920.
San Antonio State Hospital
- Items needed include board games, card games, puzzles, wallets, watches, coats and socks, body wash and shampoo.
- Call Jessica Ruiz at 210-531-8130 or Annette Delgado at 972-531-8004.
San Antonio State Supported Living Center
- Items needed include hats, gloves, coats, men’s hoodie sweatshirts, CD boom boxes, country music CDs, cowboy hats, purses, women’s bathrobes, pajamas, body lotion and pocket radios with earbuds.
- Call Maria Rodriguez at 210-531-3729.
Terrell State Hospital
- Monetary donations can be made at http://paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/1808938.
- Items needed include board games, card games, puzzles, body wash, shampoo, wallets, watches, coats and socks.
- Call Sheila Kunick at 972-551-8639 or Alison Novak at 972 551-8451.
Waco Center for Youth
- Donations can be made at wacovsc.org.
- Items needed include board games, card games and puzzles.
- Call Prissy Allen at 254-745-5174.