The Family That Gives Together, Inspires Others

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family sitting on floor
The Russell family takes on a cause each holiday season and works together to bring joy. Pictured (from left) are daughter Cheyenne, mom Cyndy, son Andrew, daughter Crystaline and her son Aleczander in her lap. Photo by Kathy Stanton

Giving Is A Holiday Tradition For One Local Family

For Cindy Russell of DeSoto, the holidays aren’t about getting, but giving.

So she and her two children began a holiday tradition about eight years ago of doing just that each holiday season. Each year, Cindy, her son Andrew, along with daughters Crystaline and Cheyenne, sit down and pick out a cause to which they can help bring Christmas cheer.

“It started because we knew a family that had lost so much and their children weren’t going to be having a Christmas,” Cindy recalled. “Each year we talk about something that means a lot to us. We discuss what we can give to help.”

The planning usually begins in November. This year they chose to help animals – an animal that often gets overlooked, in fact, Texas Ferret Lovers Rescue.

“It warms my heart to help others,” Cindy said, adding that she loves teaching her children a valuable lesson in the process. “There are others in this world that need help, humans and animals.”

And now, the family giving group is expanding

“My 3-year-old son is starting this year too,” Crystaline said, excited that he will soon feel the joy she, her mom and siblings experience, the rush of making a difference in the life of someone in need.

“It’s amazing knowing that someone in that position can find joy in life, too,” she said.
Cheyenne and Andrew echoed the feelings of happiness they experience with each year’s project.

“Sharing is caring,” Cheyenne said.

“I’m happy knowing that I helped,” Andrew added.

Cindy, meanwhile, hopes that she and her children are an inspiration to others. They also encourage friends to help.

“Never to take for granted what you have – and always make sure others understand that they aren’t alone,” Crystaline said.

Cindy hopes that other families will follow their lead and take up their own holiday causes. In fact, she has a few ideas for those interested.

“Places like Dallas Life and other homeless shelters, animal rescues, and animal shelters have needs all year long. Please contact one and ask what you can do to help,” she said. “If you have animals you can also speak to your vet about helping with someone’s vet bill or other costs.”

And yes, this is a tradition the children plan to continue into their own adulthood, they all said.

“Absolutely,” Cheyenne said.

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Rick Mauch is a veteran of more than four decades in the media. He began writing in high school and immediately went into broadcasting for almost a decade after graduating, working his way to morning drive in Birmingham, Alabama. However, realizing how much he missed writing (though he did continue to do some during his time in top-40 radio), Rick returned to what he loved and has been doing it ever since. Rick's career has spanned a plethora of media outlets, including community journalism, sports, entertainment, politics and more. He's worked in print, broadcast and online media. He also spent several years doing public relations for a children's home in East Texas - still writing on the side, of course. When he's not writing, Rick loves to play golf and do Bigfoot research. He's an avid believer. He also made his first hole-in-one in June of 2020. Rick is married to Junell Mauch. They have five children and two granddaughters