MARY MEAUX — Season of Giving gives back to Port Arthur & Sabine Pass helpers

Published 12:04 am Thursday, December 2, 2021

During the year approximately 800 people sought some form of assistance from the Willie Carter Outreach Center.

Before COVID Adaptive Sports For Kids saw just less than 500 registrations from children and adults with special needs wishing to take part in the organization’s activities.

About half the clients who receive services through Samaritan Counseling Center of Southeast Texas do so via video therapy.

These three nonprofits, along with 10 others, are the recipients of the inaugural Port Arthur News Season of Giving powered by Port Arthur LNG, where $25,000 in grants was awarded.

Johnny Hulin with the Willie Carter Outreach Center was pleased to learn the center was one of the recipients.

“That was great,” Hulin said upon learning the center was a recipient. “We have partnered with Port Arthur LNG on several other projects in the past year. This was a fantastic addition.”

The organization’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in our community through individual and family services, community programs and partnerships with other organizations, according to information from the center.

Hulin said the grant would go toward extending their services.

The Willie Carter Outreach Center works with those with substance abuse and mental health disorders and is a drop-in wellness, recovery and support center.

They also take part in a Back to School Fair distributing 1,200 to 1,500 backpacks and another 500 starter packs. Hulin plans to distribute more starter packs to local families for children returning to school from the holidays.

He knows many parents are using their last pennies, making sure their children have a good Christmas and additional school supplies are needed.

The center also takes part in cultural events such as the city’s Juneteenth and Kwanzaa celebrations.

Adaptive Sports for Kids, or A.S.K., got its start 10 years ago when Allen Nation, Kerri May and Gay and Scott Ferguson founded the organization.

Port Arthur Newsmedia Publisher Stephen Hemelt speaks at the Season of Giving Powered by Port Arthur LNG event. Chris Moore/The News

Nation said his daughter was born with spina bifida.

“This was my introduction to the special needs world,” he said.

His daughter will be graduating from Lamar University this month with a degree in American Sign Language.

The athletes in A.S.K. participate in sporting events such as baseball, basketball, taekwondo, and soccer. Baseball is the most popular sport for the athletes to register to play, and pre-COVID they had about 150 signed up. That number was approximately 100 this past spring. All in al they get just under 500 total for all sports pre-pandemic.

“This year we really haven’t looked at numbers yet,” he said. “We won’t come close to that (near 500) but we’ll get back to there.”

He called Nederland the group’s best friend as the city lets them use a park for their events. He also gave thanks to United Way, Port Arthur Newsmedia and PA LNG.

Since the organization provides the sports and uniforms and more for free, the money goes right back to help.

Samaritan Counseling Center of Southeast Texas provides counseling and integrative healthcare services to under-insured and uninsured Southeast Texans for reduced fees, according to the organization.

Robin McCutcheon, executive director with the counseling center, said about half the clients served use video therapy. The grant money is beneficial to the nonprofit to fund upgraded technology necessary for the services.

These are but three local nonprofit organizations chosen from numerous other applicants for the grants.

I’m proud Port Arthur Newsmedia was part of this fantastic effort, of the partnership with PA LNG and of course for the tireless work done by these amazing groups.

I can’t wait to see what next year holds.

 Mary Meaux is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at mary.meaux@panews.com.