Louise Proulx isn’t Santa, but she’s probably an honorary elf.
When Proulx, who lives in the Park Cities and owns Renew Beauty MedSpa and Salon in NorthPark Center, heard of a town about an hour from Dallas where many children were in danger of not having much in the way of Christmas magic this year, she rallied fellow small business owners to a cause: Help Marlin, Texas, have Christmas.
Marlin, Proulx said, has a child poverty rate of about 40%. To compare, she said, the poverty rate across Texas is somewhere around 14% to 16%. In fact, according to Census data, about 27.9% of families and 31.3% of the population are the poverty line. For many children there, the only hot meal they get all day is the one they receive at school.
The town, incidentally, became known for its hot mineral water in the late 1800s, and then later as an ideal spot for baseball training camps, with the Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, and New York Giants taking advantage of the town’s mild weather and proximity to bigger cities between 1904 and 1918. It also was home to one of Conrad Hilton’s hotels, built in 1929.
Proulx joined up with Toys and Hope for Marlin, an organization with a goal of providing Christmas presents for about 1,500 families in the small town, and the Marlin Church of Christ, and began collecting toys. Those toys will be loaded into a Uhaul next week and delivered as a Christmas surprise to the town.
The business owner said that hearing the plight of so many of the children in Marlin spurred her to action, and in turn inspired other businesses, as well as her clients.
“Learning that these children will not experience the joy of Christmas and about the extreme poverty in Marlin, a community so close to Dallas, compelled me to want to do more — with all the resources and generosity of Texans I just knew I had to do something that would make this a special Christmas for these families and bring more awareness that we need to help others — and this is just the start,” said Proulx. “We have been so thankful for the support we’ve received from so many clients, different businesses and individuals.”
But while the generosity pleases her, it doesn’t surprise her.
“I am not surprised. Texans helping Texans is what this state is known for, and I am proud to see this outpouring of support for the families of Marlin,” she said. “Creating a sustainable program for necessities — food, clothing, and longer-term the education and resources to help this community prosper is what is needed. The Toy Drive for Marlin will show other businesses and like-minded individuals that giving back is the greatest gift of all.”