MONIQUE BATSON — “Season of Giving” is Christmas spirit I’ve been searching for

Published 12:22 am Friday, October 15, 2021

I’ll be the first to say that I am not a fan of the holidays. Maybe it’s because of the stress; maybe I’m just a Grinch. But there’s not much between Nov. 1 and January 1 that I get excited about.

Except one thing: Community involvement.

Whether it’s dropping dollars in the red kettle, volunteering for an area organization or donating items to a group in need; there is nothing that makes me happier than helping others however I can.

And while that sounds like a generic line you’d expect to hear in a column, anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I’d give you my last dollar if you needed it. It’s something I’ve done a hundred times before.

If I have cash on me and pass someone panhandling at an intersection or in a parking lot, I gladly hand over what I can. And as I tell my children each time I do so: What other people do with their money is their karma, but what I do with my money is my karma.

So when I learned that this year we had initiated The Port Arthur News Season of Giving powered by Port Arthur LNG, it gave me the instant feeling that I suppose others get around the holidays. Just knowing through this program we would be able to help Port Arthur and Sabine Pass non-profits in need through a grant pool of $25,000 was incredible.

But it only got better from there.

What organizations receive the grants, ranging between $1,000 and $5,000 each, will be determined by a panel of five community members.

In this edition of The Port Arthur News, you can read about the first four — a long-term leader in local education, a business owner who serves on a multitude of boards, a public official that works to keep your city safe and a county employee who also attends college.

Now, I’ll tell you a bit about the fifth panel member. Or, rather, reiterated things I’ve probably told you before. Sunday will make 21 years since I began working in local journalism. I started at age 19 as a reporter with a weekly paper in Hardin County and eventually worked my way across photography, page and graphic design, section editor, web editor, social media producer and now editor.

I also worked briefly in marketing, where one of my jobs was to organize a back-to-school event that would entertain children before the start of the school year. But I wanted something more meaningful. That year we had nearly 2,000 people show up to an event that offered free haircuts, vision screenings, dental checks, immunizations and more.

I’ve volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and Samaritan’s Purse. I’m currently an active member of the Port Arthur Rotary. And I’ve raised four children to help others before themselves. I even pulled my oldest out of school to help me work with Habitat. He learned more installing the studs in a house for a single father working to own his first home than he ever would have picked up in math or history that day.

In addition, I’m a board member for the Press Club of Southeast Texas, which gives out scholarships each year.

So when I was asked to be part of this panel and join such outstanding community leaders in helping the community I was born and raised in, it was the closest thing to the Christmas spirit I’ve felt since I was a child.

Make sure to read about the other four panelists. In that article you will find where and how to sign up. The deadline is approaching, so please take advantage of this amazing opportunity to help make our city just a little bit better.

After the last couple of years, we could all certainly use it.

Click here to meet the other four members of the panel and to learn how your non-profit can join. 

Monique Batson is the Port Arthur Newsmedia editor and can be reached at monique.batson@panews.com.