The staff at Health and Specialty Care System (HSCS) 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.
The holiday season is fast-approaching, and some of the people served at state hospitals and state-supported living centers will be spending the holidays away from their loved ones.
Priscilla Allen, the community relations director at the Waco Center for Youth, said giving to the children served there sends a message of love and goodwill all year — but donating is especially meaningful during the holiday season.
“Most come from hard places, and for many this time of year can be physically, spiritually and emotionally challenging,” Allen said. “Many of our children have never had a special Christmas, so we strive to make it a holiday season they will not forget.”
Allen said there is a Christmas Parade the second Sunday in December. Afterward, there are parties on each unit with donated food, desserts and gifts. On Christmas morning, each patient receives more donated gifts.
Every facility works just as hard, but the state cannot pay for gifts and special treats, so 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 special, hosting parties and providing donated gifts.
Monetary donations to the VSCs are always welcome and allow for more flexibility, but many facilities have specific wish lists for donated items, such as games, toiletries, clothes and music CDs.
VSC Holiday Wish List
If you or your group would like to donate to a VSC for the holidays, see the list of facilities below. Donations benefit the people served at SSLCs and state hospitals. Even if you can’t donate, you can help by spreading the word in your community through social media or by telling your friends and neighbors.
Abilene State Supported Living Center
- Call Shae Butts at 325-795-3547.
Austin State Hospital
- Monetary donations are accepted at ashvolunteers.org.
- Support the men, women and children receiving treatment for mental illness at the Austin State Hospital by contributing in-kind items this holiday season. Specific items include men’s and women’s pajama pants, board games, card games, puzzles, wallets, watches, jackets for men and women, fleece throws and art supplies.
- Call Cindy Reed at 512-419-2333.
Austin State Supported Living Center
- Monetary donations are accepted at ausslcfriends.org.
- Volunteers have opportunities to host holiday parties at resident homes.
- Call Victoria Lippman at 512-374-6160.
Big Spring State Hospital
- Call Carl Reid at 432-270-3141.
Brenham State Supported Living Center
- Items needed include lap blankets, simple card games, drawing pads, and colognes and lotions for men and women.
- Monetary donations are accepted at brenhamvsc.com.
- 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. 12–16, radio station WBAP 820 AM will host Christmas Is for Caring, an annual fundraising event for the Denton VSC. To donate, call 214-525-2550 from 6 a.m.–7 p.m.
- Call Valerie Avery at 940-591-3633.
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 adult blankets, scarves, gloves, and adult cologne and perfume sets.
- Call Sandy Anderson at 806-741-3632.
Lufkin State Supported Living Center
- Donate items, be a secret shopper or help host a party. Call Lynn Hopper at 936-853-8262 for more information.
- To donate online and access a full list of items needed, visit vsclufkin.com.
- Monetary donations and items can be sent to 374 Circle Drive, Pollok, TX 75969.
Mexia State Supported Living Center
- Items needed include men’s wallets, watches and cologne sets.
- Call Community Relations at 254-562-1300.
North Texas State Hospital — Wichita Falls and Vernon
- Monetary donations can be made at ntshvolunteers.org.
- Call Ronna Akins at 940-689-5597.
Richmond State Supported Living Center
- Items needed include AM/FM/CD clock radios, CDs, DVDs, 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 Christmas 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 paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/1808938.
- Items needed include body wash, body spray, lotion, playing cards, board games, puzzle books, sketch books, composition journals, wallets, digital watches, socks, slippers, winter hats and gloves.
- Call Alison Novak at 972-551-8451.
Waco Center for Youth
- Donations can be made at wacovsc.org.
- Items needed include board games, hoodies, casual or lounge clothes for men and women, puzzles and sensory items.
- Call Prissy Allen at 254-745-5174.