The News raising funds for Holly Days and Jingle Bear

Published 12:10 am Friday, November 29, 2019

Holly Days and Jingle Bear are back for their 31st year of raising money to help brighten the holidays of those in need.

The Holly Days fund drive began in 1988 as the idea of late Rotarian Ray Depwe.

Rotarian Dub Brown, then editor of The News, agreed to publicize the fund drive and Rotarian Floyd Marceaux, director of the Retail Merchants Association, agreed to provide all the administrative services.

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Since there is no overhead cost for the fund drive, 100 percent of the contributions are distributed to agencies and outlets assisting those in need.

Port Arthur Rotary Club Past President Callie Summerlin said Rotary is an international membership organization made up of men and women who are committed to solving problems and creating lasting change across the globe.

The goal of this annual fundraiser is to give back to the local community and those organizations who specifically provide for the citizens of Port Arthur.

The Port Arthur News is proud to be associated with the Holly Days fund drive, which has become a big part of the holiday tradition of the Port Arthur area,” publisher Stephen Hemelt said. “Being new to the community, it is impressive to learn that this drive has provided more than $310,000 to programs that directly assist people in our community.”

In 2017, the funds raised were used to aid key area relief organizations in response to their own Hurricane Harvey related damages.

“Beyond obvious Harvey, Imelda and other relief efforts, the Holly Days fund drive is especially important because there is still a need for the basics of life — food for the table, shelter during cold months and household necessities that will help create a sense of normalcy and comfort during this time of year,” Summerlin said.

The Holly Days fund drive will continue through Jan. 1. Last year’s drive resulted in donations of $15,000.

“This year we hope through our partnership with the Rotary Club and the Retail Merchants Association we can do more than we ever have before to address the need for basic things like food for the table,” Hemelt said.

As in years past, the name of each person who contributes $1 or more will appear in The Port Arthur News. Many people contribute in the memory of loved ones.

The Platinum Club recognizes gifts of $1,000 or more. The names of these donors — whether individuals or businesses — will be included in the fund box every day from the date of the contribution to the end of the drive on New Year’s Day. The Gold Club has been added to recognize those who donate $250 or more. Those donors, and a short notation of the donation is being made in memory of someone, will be listed each weekend in The News.

The contribution box will begin to run daily in The Port Arthur News. All contributions should be mailed to Holly Day Fund, c/o Retail Merchants Association, 3830 FM 365, Port Arthur, Texas 77642.