United Board of Missions provides gifts for 600 local children in need

Published 12:22 am Sunday, December 18, 2022

More than 600 children in Port Arthur and Mid County will be waking up to presents on Christmas Day following the United Board of Mission’s annual giveaway to local families in need of assistance.

“They were all very appreciative,” Board Member Cheryl Harper said of the parents who picked up items during the three-day event. “We got a lot of thank yous. We had a lot to offer for all age groups. It was like walking into the toy department at Walmart or Target — that’s what it looked like.”

From Tuesday to Thursday, one parent from each qualifying family was able to visit the UMB office and pick out gifts.

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“It went smoothly,” Harper said. “I think a lot of children are going to have a really great Christmas.”

Executive Director Debbie Perkins said the event, which began in the 70s, is made possible each year through monetary and toy donations from area businesses, organizations and individuals.

This year they received large donations from CCZJV, the construction partner for Golden Pass LNG, as well as Sabine Pilots. And a local Corvette club partnered with Walk-Ons Sports Bistreaux to collect toys. In addition, several churches and individuals provided donations.

Due to economic hardship and workforce reduction, the UMB served more children this year than in several prior years.

“This is one of our many projects that we look forward to serving our community with annually,” Perkins said. “We’re looking forward to 2023. Applications will be available at Mission’s Attic and the Untied Board of Missions in October for next year’s gifts.”

Items available included toys, games, sports balls, puzzles, coloring books and stuffed animals, among others.

“We do collect gently used items throughout the year and refurbish them,” Perkins said. “Some of the other giveaways that might be available would be strollers or car seats, larger baby toys and infant toys.”

Volunteers needed

Perks said volunteerism is a way the community can join the UMB’s efforts.

“We love our volunteers, and our services are varied and widespread so that almost anyone can find something that they want to help us with,” she said.

Positions include but are not limited to data entry and clerical help, in-house pantry, assisting at Mission’s Attic and helping with the Meals on Wheels program.

Perkins said Meals on Wheels is in most need of volunteers, who will pick up and deliver meals to a handful of clients on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Those interested can contact Jay Keith, program director, at 409-748-9947.