— By BRIAN SMITH
Brother, can you spare a dollar?
A new campaign that started Wednesday is hoping all residents of Parker and Palo Pinto counties can do just that. “A Dollar for CASA” will run through Sept. 1 in an effort to build funds and awareness for Court Appointed Special Advocates.
If everything goes as planned, and each of the 144,000 residents of the two counties does as asked, the nonprofit organization will easily exceed its goal of $75,000, according to Barb Tucker, executive director of Parker County CASA. CASA Board President Doyle Moss says this is the first fundraiser like this, but he hopes to make it an annual event.
Moss admits he’s been thinking about this concept for a couple of years now.
“There are about 22 or 23 non-profits doing great work in the county,” Moss said. “This is a very giving community and area and we wanted the chance to make a fundraiser unique. Instead of having sponsorships like gold or platinum, we felt like everyone could give a dollar. It’s easy enough and it makes you feel good.”
CASA of Parker County has been in existence since 2005 and merged with CASA of Palo Pinto County in March 2012. CASA volunteers advocate for a child’s best interests when they are removed from their home due to abuse or neglect. CASA volunteers are appointed by the judge in these cases to be his eyes and ears.
The need is there, as nine children have been brought into the program this week alone, according to Tucker, who added the number of children being served by CASA locally has doubled since 2011 to about 200 children presently.
“It’s a struggle every day just to keep up with the kids in our care,” Tucker said.
The fundraiser is supported by the state organization, which oversees 70 CASA groups around Texas. Tucker says the Parker County CASA is one of four in the state that is able to serve all the children in its care.
Moss said there are several ways for those wishing to donate. An account has been set up at First Financial Bank to handle donations. People can also come by the Parker County CASA office at 701 Palo Pinto St., Suite 701F, (in the Brookshires/Bealls shopping center across from Center of Hope) or the CASA office in Mineral Wells at 206 N.W. 2nd St. Donations can also be mailed to either of the above addresses.
Moss said fliers will also be presented by hand to area businesses in the hope they will match employee donations. For more information, visit the Parker County CASA website at www.casaofparkercounty.com.