The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Advocates for the homeless joined together at the Hospitality Center in Port Arthur on Saturday to renew their commitment to continue their tradition of caring and to pass the flame to future generations.
The event was held during the 25th anniversary of the Center in conjunction with Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week.
Bishop Curtis Guillory, Diocese of Beaumont, has spent time as a volunteer a the Center and tries to assist during Lent and Advent.
“It is something I need to do for my own spiritual well being,” Guillory said.
The motivation for helping others must be deeply rooted in someone or something greater then ourselves, he added.
“A lot of times those who help others go unnamed or unheard of but as long as we do our share, that’s what matters,” he said. “Sometimes you feel like you can never do enough and very often there’s more to do and very few to do it.”
Lloyd Hebert, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in Jefferson County, told the crowd of the importance of the Federal Farm Bill and of the percentage of children participating in the free or reduced breakfast and lunch programs in Southeast Texas.
“If we allow Congress to reduce funding for nutrition programs in the 2012 Farm Bill, does anyone in this room believe it will not adversely affect local families and the local economy,” Hebert said. “Take a closer look locally, all you have to do to understand our food and economic challenges is look at our largest school districts and the number of children receiving daily nutrition from the U.S. Farm Bill legislation.”
Beaumont ISD has 71.1 percent, Port Arthur ISD has 84.6 percent and West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District has 84.9 percent of its students receiving assistance, he said.
On a table near the podium were crates with fresh produce including sweet potatoes, Swiss chard and a few tomatoes which were harvested on Saturday at The Giving Field on Liberty in Beaumont, Mary Mahlie said.
Mahlie presented the fresh produce to Christina Vara Green, director of the Center, and Paula O’Neal, of Some Other Place. The mission of The Giving Field is top feel the hungry and provide fresh organically grown fruits and vegetables to the two agencies.
The event concluded with a candle lighting ceremony which began with Capt. Ed Cheshire of the Salvation Army, lighting the first candle then passing the flame to other attendees.