Young refugees at the Vineyard Apartment in East Dallas revel in their newly gifted toys. (Photo from DFW International Community Alliance)

Young refugees at the Vineyard Apartment in East Dallas revel in their newly gifted toys. (Photo from DFW International Community Alliance)

This month 175 children are getting a special present: their first Christmas in America.

The children—from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Congo—will be getting toys on Dec. 10 thanks to a partnership between the Spanish House and DFW International’s Refugee Support Network. Each year the Spanish House has been working with a local charity that focuses on helping marginalized youth; the organization collaborated with DFW International’s Refugee Support Network last year as well.

On Saturday, Spanish House staff and parents will be delivering toys to the children from 9 a.m to 10:30 a.m. Each person delivering the toys went out and bought toys themselves after picking out a child they wanted to shop for.

“There are a lot of charity events for children at Christmas but no one thinks of the refugees,” says DFW International President Anne Marie Weiss-Armush. “This will be the only Christmas gift that these children receive.

Weiss-Armush explains that, on average, a father of refugee children brings home about $1,100 a month, which can cover basics needs but hardly every gifts.

The tradition to start handing out toys to refugee children began 29 years ago with Weiss-Armush, who had moved to Dallas from Saudi Arabia where celebrating Christmas is banned. Weiss-Armush says she wanted to find a way for children (her own included) from other countries to transition to their new home.

“The season is about love it’s not about toys,” Weiss-Armush says. “As a parent I wanted my children not to enjoy christmas in a selfish way but in a bigger sense and reach out to other children.”


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