Halfway Home Pueblo hosting toy drive, preparing for growth

When William Wright lost his brother to cancer in 2017, he made a promise to his older brother that he would keep his legacy alive.

As a result, Halfway Home Pueblo was born, a non-profit youth resource center devoted to educating and caring for children while having fun. The aim is to provide resources and services that help young people on their way to a successful future.

Wright’s brother Roland “Fatty” Taylor was a professional athlete who “back then” played for the Denver Nuggets, Wright said. He shared his love of sports through basketball camps for children and worked year-round with youth at risk after he retired.

“He was chubby as a kid and nicknamed ‘Fatty’ stuck with him,” said Wright, although Taylor was a fit athlete as an adult. “He has worked with youth at risk and asked me to carry on the legacy – it’s something (helping others) that was in our family.”

Wright, President and Founder of Halfway Home, got the ball rolling in Pueblo in 2019. As he nears the organization’s third anniversary in February, he’s hoping to brighten the holidays for 50 to 100 local kids through Halfway Home’s second annual toy ride.

The toy campaign is to take place on Wednesday, December 22nd, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Halfway Home Office, 803 W. Fourth St, in the neighboring Suite B.

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Pandemic causes fighting

Wright said the COVID-19 pandemic caused a fight for the nonprofit.

“I survived with the help of the Small Business Administration – they helped with some money to pay rent and utilities. Hope for Children’s Leslie and Pete Kammeier have helped me a lot, ”he said.

ReMax Associates Pueblo, Kiwanis, Catholic Charities, and the Pueblo Community College, along with other local businesses and individuals, have also helped. Wright would like to receive grants “so that I can take the program to the next level,” he said.

The immediate need is to donate toys or donate money to buy toys.

“We are a 501-C-3 non-profit organization, so donations are tax deductible. If you’d like to make a donation before the end of the year, this is where you can help, ”he said.

This year’s Halfway Home Coats Promotion helped 110 children stay warm – an increase from 80 coats last year and 40 the first year; His backpack giveaway got 160 children’s school supplies into their hands, up from 110 last year and 50 in 2019, Wright said.

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The Halfway Home programs started with helping four children on a regular basis, but recently the need has grown to 17. Wright wants to help 25 or more children.

The program is open to students from kindergarten through 12th grade, although first grade through middle school students currently form the majority of the group. A summer camp enables children to go to horse ranches, nuggets games, parks, the library and study in the agency’s computer room or do handicrafts in their art and craft room.

“We had a great turnout, but we need an extra boost to keep moving forward. I want to get to the place where I don’t have to worry: ‘How should I support an event?’ said Wright.

“It’s for the kids and I’m not going to stop,” he said. “Seeing the kids smile every time they come here for an activity is what drives me.”

Donations of toys or monetary donations can be made between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays. To learn more, visit the Halfway Home Pueblo Facebook page or the website at halfwayhomepueblo.org.

Warm weather clothing is provided for local youth on a table in Halfway Home Pueblo at 803 W. Fourth Street.  A toy campaign will take place in the organization's office on December 22nd, 2021.

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Chieftain reporter Tracy Harmon covers business news. She can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at twitter.com/tracywumps.