Atmos Energy warms hearts during the holiday season

Atmos Energy warms hearts during the holiday season

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Decorating the home for the holidays and spending money on gifts can place a hefty financial burden on low income families, many parents have to ask themselves, "will we have the money to make Christmas feel like Christmas?"

"A lot of our families, they are working part time jobs," said Sabrina Robbins, Parent Empowerment Program director. "They are going to school full time, passing their classes and trying their best to provide for their families."

The Parent Empowerment Program is an initiative from the Catholic Family Services that began over 21 years ago. The PEP is funded by a community service block grant from the City of Lubbock, with funds originating from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and by the Lubbock Area United Way. The PEP helps low income families with parents who are attending a higher education institution with tuition, rent, childcare, utilities, books, uniforms, and mileage reimbursement. 

This year Atmos Energy's Volunteer with A Purpose group wanted to find a way to not only warm homes, but also warm the hearts of several of these families. 

"We wanted to make a difference in their lives," said Marinda Heinrich, manager of public affairs for Atmos Energy.  "Atmos Energy is going to provide them with a Christmas tree, and decorations and gifts for the parents and the children, and then a $100 gift card to United so they can purchase groceries for their Christmas celebration." 

United Supermarkets is also partnered with Atmos Energy and provided a hot meal for the ten families that they delivered gifts to. 

"We do all of this to just make our community stronger," said Heinrich. "We want to make an impact on those who we serve."

Camillia Bates is a mother of three, works full time and is in the South Plains nursing program and has been a part of the Parent Empowerment Program over the last few months. 

"This means a lot to us, especially coming from the Lubbock community," said Bates. "They can see that  we are going to put back into the community and they recognize that and they are coming together and making sure that we still have a Christmas and still get to have you know a Christmas tree and everything and so we are very grateful." 

Analicia Ramirez is also a nursing student and attends the Covenant School of Nursing. The PEP's  assistance has helped her get through school and provide for her family and is thankful for the Atmos Energy Christmas. 

"We are just grateful and thank each and everyone of you all for providing this for our family," said Ramirez "And most importantly we thank God and yes we will definitely give back, we will remember this thank you all." 

Atmos volunteers said they look forward to rejoining the cause next year. 

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