STEPHEN HEMELT — Season of Giving has power to inspire real change in Port Arthur

Published 7:30 am Monday, December 13, 2021

The letter from Dr. Henry Holland warmed our hearts here at The Port Arthur News.

The executive director for New Beginnings Ministries took the time to type out a message and mail it our way in gratitude of $2,000 his organization recently received through the first ever Port Arthur News Season of Giving fueled by Port Arthur LNG.

“The funds will be used to provide new toys/gifts to children in our community,” Holland shared. “Ninety families who are struggling this holiday season will receive three new toys/gifts for each of their children. What a blessing! We value your partnership in this endeavor and are sincerely grateful!”

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Dr. Holland’s words were amazing, but his group’s actions are striking.

The thought of children in 90 local families enjoying a better Christmas just a couple of weeks from now is enough to bring tears to my eyes.

To know we played a very small role in that effort is inspiriting. It makes you want to do more.

Dr. Holland and New Beginnings Ministries represented one of 13 local groups who received funding through the Port Arthur News Season of Giving fueled by Port Arthur LNG.

The process was simple, we asked nonprofit organizations that were up-to-date with their tax ID code to submit requests for funding through an online form available at panews.com.

SEE MORE: Port Arthur, Sabine Pass organizations celebrate $25K Season of Giving powered by Port Arthur LNG.

The requirement was each organization had to explain how funding would benefit people in Port Arthur and Sabine Pass.

Then a group of Port Arthur community members who included business people, journalists, educators and law enforcement officers reviewed the applications and distributed $25,000.

It was a wonderful process, one made even better with a celebration on the Lamar State College Port Arthur campus, which is commemorated with a full page special promotion on page A10 of today’s newspaper.

In addition to New Beginnings Ministries, other award recipients were Garth House, Mickey Mehaffy Children’s Advocacy Program; CASA of Southeast Texas; Port Arthur American Little League; Capland Center for Communication Disorders; Port Arthur Rotary Foundation; St. Paul UMC Feeding Program; Adaptive Sports For Kids; New Beginnings Ministries; Willie Carter Outreach Center; Samaritan Counseling Center of Southeast Texas; Communities In Schools Southeast Texas; Lion Hearted and Chosen Generation Evangelistic Ministries.

We plan to reach out to each group over the next several months and highlight their efforts and successes in Greater Port Arthur. Our hope is a larger spotlight enhances their effectiveness and inspires more manpower and monetary support.

Joshua Davis of Legacy Community Health, left, and Allen Joy of The Port Arthur News hold up a collection box of new toys that will go to children in need. (Stephen Hemelt/The News)

Community success can also come in smaller endeavors that produce real results.

2021 is the first year The Port Arthur News teamed with Legacy Community Health to place a toy box in the front lobby of our office on Memorial Boulevard.

Legacy Community Health is a federally qualified health center providing health care to all, regardless of someone’s ability to pay. For some of their patients, this means Christmas presents are hard to purchase.

So the toy box sat in our office and was routinely filled with new, unwrapped presents. Many of our employees added to the haul, and plenty of our walk-in customers joined the effort.

It ended up being a load to carry for Joshua Davis, who serves as senior director for major gifts in the East Region, when he came by to pick up the bounty Thursday afternoon.

It’s our sincerest mission that these first-time efforts turn into yearly gifts back to a community so richly deserving of support.

We can accomplish great things when we work together.

Stephen Hemelt is the president of Port Arthur Newsmedia, which publishes panews.com and The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at stephen.hemelt@panews.com or 409-721-2445.