More than 90 people attended the 10th annual Epiphany Party on Monday night, and organizers of the event attribute the great turnout to the freezing temperatures that have chilled Denton the last few days.
When temperatures drop below freezing, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Denton opens its doors for homeless individuals and their families, so that they can escape the dangerous weather conditions.
However, on Monday, as those families were waiting for the shelter’s doors to open, they were treated to a party that featured free food, clothes and entertainment.
“The holidays can be rough for Denton’s poor and homeless,” event founder Lico Reyes said. “It’s during this time of year where they go into depression because they’re reminded that they can’t afford as much as other people. That’s why I hold this event, so they know people care.”
The event was scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m and featured free food for patrons, flowers for the women, toys forthe children and entertainment that included clowns, a disc jockey and karaoke.
For the second consecutive year, the event was held at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.
Though the event commemorates the day the three Wise Men, or Magi, came to offer gifts of gold, frank incense and myrrh to the baby Jesus, Reyes said the event is nondenominational and nonpartisan.
“It’s just a party,” Reyes said. “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe in. We just want to show everyone a good time and show kindness.”
Each year, Reyes joins local residents, businesses, churches and other organizations in offering food andother gifts to people and families in need.
Reyes snagged more than 15 sponsors for the event, but that does not include the numerous families and volunteers who donated clothes and toys toward the party. This year more than 20 people volunteered, Reyes said.
“Each year, I let everyone know what I’m trying to do and what I need and they are always willing to give,” he said. “Some of these people are the kindest, selfless people you’llever meet.”
Several tables were stacked with donated shirts, pants, shoes and toys.
Tammie Contreras tried on a jacket she picked from the table and grinned when she realized it was a perfect fit.
“It might be used, but it’s new to me,” she said.
She said many of the people who attended the event Monday were good people who were “going through a rough patch.”
She said even though they may not say it out loud, they all appreciated the organizers for putting on the party.
“This is only temporary,” she said. “One day I plan to be in a place where I can help people who are going through the same troubles I’m going through now.”
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.