MONIQUE BATSON — As new school year nears, consider donating to local service groups

Published 12:06 am Saturday, July 1, 2023

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Thursday was bittersweet as I passed along the ceremonial gavel, ending my year as the president of the Rotary Club of Port Arthur.

The service organization that is more than 100 years old works year-round to assist the community in every possible way. In the last year, we provided 175 families in need with Thanksgiving dinner, an immeasurable amount of children with Christmas gifts, 22 high school seniors with scholarships amounting to $16,750, dictionaries to every third grade student in Port Arthur, car seats to expectant mothers that couldn’t afford them and joined other civic organizations to help build beds for children in the region who were without one.

So much of that was made possible through grants supplied by our local industries and businesses, while some was donated by Rotarians and private citizens.

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Our near-50 members work tirelessly as volunteers under the motto “service above self.” But we are just one of many service organizations in the area trying to make Port Arthur and its surrounding regions a better place.

And almost all of those organizations are in need of assistance.

The last year has brought a rise in costs from food to basic supplies, leaving a multitude of area nonprofits with fewer donations than they’ve seen in the past. But a small amount of help from you can go a long way for the children and families who are underserved.

On Aug. 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Port Arthur Sertoma Club is hosting a school supply drive at Walmart on Memorial Boulevard. If you happen to be in the area, drop off a pack of pencils or box of crayons.

The Sertoma Club is partnering with the United Board of Missions, who will be providing school supplies to every student at Thomas Jefferson Middle School whose families cannot afford them.

On July 29, the Willie Carter Outreach Center is partnering with other service organizations to provide 1,500 Port Arthur students with school supplies, uniforms and even food.

But one of their largest partners, New Beginnings Ministries, is in need of socks and underwear to ensure students have the essential items necessary to return to school.

While New Beginnings has received some support from local churches and individuals, the amount of donations received this year has fallen below that received in years prior. Specifically they are in need of girls’ underwear from sizes six to 16 and all sizes of socks for girls and women as teenagers are also served during the event. They are also in need of all sizes of boys’ underwear and socks. Those items can be brought to Ecclasia church, 5900 9th Avenue, Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Since the start of the pandemic, service organizations everywhere struggled to maintain membership as well as community initiatives.

But even if you’re unaware of it, the work they do could be helping your friends, neighbors or co-workers.

Not everyone has time to join an organization, but it only takes a few moments to help them help others.

Monique Batson is Port Arthur Newsmedia editor. She can be reached at