Mayor, constable share impacts of hundreds helped by recent holiday events. “I’m grateful to the Port Arthur community.”

Published 12:38 am Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Christmas Day will be much brighter for hundreds of Port Arthur families this year following the success of a recent toy drive and meal giveaway. 

On Dec. 1, Constable Christopher Bates hosted the eighth annual Christmas with the Constable, during which they collected more than 200 toys. 

“We definitely packed the building out with much-needed toys that will benefit kids right here in Port Arthur through the Salvation Army,” he said. “The most important part of it is to make sure the toys stay here for the children in Port Arthur. We know the need in the community during the holiday season.” 

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The event was held at the Texas Artists Museum and included gumbo, music and more. 

Bates said items collected included bicycles, dolls, toy dump trucks, race cars and an assortment of other items. 

And next year, he said, organizers hope to do even more. 

“We want it to be bigger, because the bigger the event is the more we can help our kids and our community,” Bates said. “It’s a joyous occasion. It’s more than just a drop-off-your-toy. We have a good time, singing and fellowship. In addition to the toys, it’s a good thing to have fellowship during the holiday season. I’m grateful to the Port Arthur community.”

On Dec. 17, Shine On Humanity hosted the third annual Mayor Thurman Bartie’s Christmas Meal Giveaway. Approximately 200 baskets with turkey and holiday sides were distributed free of cost to families that qualified.  

“It was just a pleasure and a joy to be able to share with people during the Christmas season,” Bartie said. “At a time people may have financial strain on them, it’s nice to be able to bring some relief.”

Bartie said the idea to host the annual event came several years back when having a conversation with the CEO of Shine On Humanity, a nonprofit that works to assist the community. 

Fraternity members of Guide Right through Kappa Alpha Psi, to which Bartie belongs, volunteered for the event. And receiving families, he said, were grateful. 

“They were really very appreciative, and some families went as far as to say, ‘we really need your help,’” the mayor said. “We may try to grow it next year. We’d like to provide for 1,000 people.”