Houston-based organization CoolxDad holds holiday toy drive for kids

A Houston-based organization that provides advocacy and a network for local fathers kicked off its annual toy drive Friday while promoting positive fatherhood.

For three years, CoolxDad has hosted Color Box, a holiday toy drive that also helps area organizations. Proceeds from this year’s toy drive will benefit Project Row Houses in Historic Third Ward.

“What’s really happening here is that we’re building family trajectories,” said Kevin Barnett, founder and director of CoolXDad.

CoolxDad welcomed several dozen supporters Friday to a kickoff event for Color Box at Art is Bond Gallery in Montrose.

“We really want to try to help out during the holiday season,” Barnett said while discussing the importance of providing a network for dads to learn from one another.

“I’m a father of two. I think it’s very necessary. I also grew up without my father in my life. Luckily, I had a village in the community around me to keep me on that right path,” Barnett continued.

Building a village is the goal of Cool Dad — doing so while challenging stereotypes about men of color and fatherhood.

“So many men out here do need to have an ecosystem that they can feel like they belong but also be vulnerable,” Barnett said.

Color Box, CoolxDad’s annual holiday toy drive correlates.

For three years, a collection of local businesses have participated with donation boxes on display.

“With this initiative, we are also able to help drive foot traffic into these businesses,” Barnett said.

Color Box runs through Nov. 30.


1. Mo’Better Brews

2. Kindred Stories

3. Art is Bond

4. Ellio Gallery

5. The List

6. Kele Kloset

7. Toyota Center

8. Houston Grand Opera

9. YBJ

10. Sesh

11. Genara

12. The Argyle League

CoolxDad is also a finalist in the community service category of the Defender Service Awards.

Voting ends this weekend. Click here to go to the contest site.