EDITORIAL — UBM: Help helpers at Festival of Tables

Published 12:11 am Saturday, August 17, 2019

There’s no small irony in the fact that the United Board of Missions, for more than 50 years a mainstay in helping Greater Port Arthur’s unfortunate, is itself hard-pressed for cash nowadays.

Executive Director Mae Terro said UBM is planning a “Festival of Tables” from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Methodist Temple on Highway 73 on Aug. 24. Participants can pay $200 and get eight tickets to serve people for a lunch provided by Romero’s.

Waiters will accept tips on behalf of UBM and other donations are not only appropriate, but needed. Call 409-962-5746 if you are interested.

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Terro said organizers hope for 30 volunteers or groups to decorate the tables any ol’ way they choose. Besides the fun involved in decorating a table, there’s the added bonus of lunch.

But there’s another benefit: Helping the UBM. Terro, who has worked there for 22 years, said the UBM has suffered some since Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey ravaged this area, driving them from their Ninth Avenue location and forcing them to set up shop at one of their two re-sale stores they operate in Mid County.

The lingering bad effect has been the decline in the number of churches participating in this faith-based effort to help the poor. From a high of 67 churches that were once involved in the organization, UBM presses its mission these days with about 25 churches. Many churches closed, some merged, after the August 2017 storms.

Terro said the organization held it together over the past two years with re-sale store profits and kept the faith by serving the unfortunate. Even two years after the hurricane and floods, our community has plenty of people down on their luck.

UBM returned to their headquarters in February, but it continued its role, at least in part, while serving at the store. Terro said that people come to the store every day, sometimes to shop, sometimes to talk.

Even now, she said, people who haven’t fully recovered from the flood drop by at least to visit and, sometimes, talk about their troubles. Terro said she was always glad to see them, to offer consolation and, where possible, help.

UBM’s efforts oftentimes center around helping children without adequate means prepare for the school year by distributing supplies; spreading Christmas cheer through their “Share a Toy” efforts; and providing emergency services.

That last one might include helping with food or medicine or other necessities. It might involve helping secure clothing for people who’ve landed a job and can’t afford steel-toed boots for work at the plant or a white shirt for work at a restaurant.

If all else fails, that kind word or sympathy at the right time helps, as well.

You can help, too: Buy a table.