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Holly Days fundraiser benefits those most in need; see how you can help

Holly Days and Jingle Bear are back for their 32nd 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.

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.

Former editor Roger Cowles, previously a longtime Rotarian, was also very supportive of the Holly Days Program.

All contributions should be mailed to Holly Day Fund, c/o Retail Merchants Association, 3830 Highway 365, Port Arthur, Texas 77642.

Call 409-721-8701 for more information.

Port Arthur Rotary Club President Johnny E. Brown, Ph.D., said the timing of this year’s fundraiser is important, as the community, residents and businesses face the impact of major storms and the coronavirus pandemic.

Any help provided to those facing health, housing, food and financial challenges is good help, he said.

“It is especially powerful, impactful and well-received when such help is extended through the collaborative efforts of organizations such as the Rotary Club of Port Arthur, Retail Merchants Association and Port Arthur News, which dare to help based upon the belief that originates from a kind heart and willingness to serve the common good — “above self” interests,” Brown said.

“This year we are proud to announce that seven organizations will be the recipients of Holly Days Program Funds in the amount of $12,600, to be distributed Dec. 10 at our annual Christmas Program at the Carl Parker Center from 6-8 p.m. or we will meet directly with the organizations to present the checks, if not able to hold the program Dec. 10 due to the environmental situation.”

Organizations that will each be presented checks totaling $1,800 each are:

  • Salvation Army — Mid & South Jefferson County Chapter
  • The Hospitality Center of Port Arthur, operated by Catholic Charities
  • Community Care Prayer Outreach
  • United Board of Missions
  • Capland Speech Therapy Center
  • United Way of Mid & South Jefferson County
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates of Southeast Texas (CASA)

“The Port Arthur News is proud to be associated with the Holly Days fund drive, which is a big part of the holiday tradition of greater Port Arthur,” Publisher Stephen Hemelt said. “It is impressive to learn that this drive has provided more than $320,000 to programs that directly assist people in our community.”

Brown said Rotary strives to foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and take action to provide “service above self” in personal, business and community lifestyles.

“As an organization it brings joy to each member to know that we are making a positive difference in the lives of our citizens,” Brown said. “We can always accomplish more when we pool our resources for accomplishing a common cause. We are most grateful, as well, to each person who contributes monetary resources to ensure the success of this program.”

The Holly Days fund drive will continue through Jan. 2. Last year’s drive resulted in donations of more than $12,000.

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.

“It is great when people of good will reach out to help others who are less fortunate or for whom a temporary boost in support makes the difference for reducing hardships, suffering and pain,” Brown said. “Such an attitude is demonstration of what Rotary is all about, and it is also reflective of the kindness of those who are associated with the other partners: Retail Merchants Association and Port Arthur News.”

The contribution box will run in each Port Arthur News edition, starting Saturday (Nov. 28).