CASA Cookie Walk sweet way to help children

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Dec 2, 2007 - A sweet treat, a warm drink and a small donation go a long way in Hopkins County — or at least the annual Lake Country CASA Cookie Walk does. 

The offering of donated, generally home-baked, goodies generally raises at least $1,300 to $1,800 for those little extras that the children served by CASA need, as well as help with travel funds for the CASA volunteers who travel to the children’s location to visit with the families, and other expenses such as training of new CASAs to become good advocates.

��A lot of times CASAs visit the families of the kids and see that one needs help with something like getting a senior ring. We can help with those little extras. The CPS Board is real good; they are responsible for providing the kids� allowances. This is for the things above and beyond what they can do,� said Lake Country CASA Executive Director Gina Law.

�Like the number of children being assisted by CASA, the amount of cookies donated and funding raised from the Cookie Walk has also continued to increase thanks annually to the generous contributions of the community.

�Lake Country CASA initially represented 20-30 children a year when it first began operations in 1990, and those mostly older children. Each year CASA�s case load has grown, along with the age range (birth to adult) of abused and neglected children removed from their homes. It has also grown to include Hopkins, Rains, Titus and Franklin counties.

�Last year, CASA served a whopping 207 children total in its four-county area. Of those, 81 were Hopkins County children. This year, the numbers are expected to be comparable to last year�s tally, with potential for even more children overall than one year ago.

�The community was especially generous in 2006 as well, for a total of about $7,000 last year, including a matching grant from Wal-Mart and �one extremely generous individual who donated a lot of money� and some other nice donations, which �puts it over,� according to Law.

�This year�s CASA Cookie Walk will be conducted from 8 a.m. to 12 noon Friday, Dec. 8, in the fellowship hall of First United Methodist Church. Cookies traditionally are $5 a pound, and always a treat. All profit from the cookie donations go directly to CASA to help with needs.

� As a special treat this year, Lydia Bryant will also be offering lattes, a nice compliment for the sweet goodies. Bryant will donate 50 percent of all proceeds from the latte sales to CASA.

� Of course the annual CASA Cookie Walk would not be possible without the generous donations of home-baked cookies from community members and civic groups.

�� �If anyone would like to bake cookies and donate them, we would love to have them,� Law said. �They can call me and we�ll be glad to add them to our list.�

� Anyone interested in making and donating cookies for the annual drive can contact Gina Law at the CASA office at 903-885-1173.

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