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The Boys and Girls Club’s 64th Annual Youth Auction starts at 6 p.m. Saturday, and the list is impressive.
The event takes place at First Baptist Church Family Life Center, 207 South Church St., and includes more than 275 live auction items and more silent auction items.
“We are also raffling off tickets for a doll house that was built by Paris High School,” Executive Director Henry Shaw said.
This year’s fundraiser honors Tommy Duncan and L.V. Morrow, who Whitten said have been involved in the auction for more than 50 years. The Boys and Girls Club hopes to raise at least, worth $70,000. All the funds raised stay in Lamar County.
“We have got some outstanding timed items this year,” Shaw said. “Tickets to the Eagles concert, Paul Simon and Sting, 12 tickets to the Mavericks in the boxes. It’s probably the best lineup we’ve had as far as auction items.”
The live auction starts early in the evening, but the big-ticket items are on a strict schedule:
“They’re set at certain times. We’ll stop where we’re at on the auction list itself,” Shaw said. “They’re specialty items. That way people know when we’ll be doing those. You might get ahead or behind in the big list of items.”
The main list was at nearly 300 items on Tuesday, with more coming in. Shaw said the list will be finalized Wednesday.
The eParisExtra dog of the week is Astro. Astro is a Pyrenees lab mix. He will grow to be a BIG boy. Very friendly, he loves to run and play, especially with others. He is a sweet, quiet and gentle soul that that just wants to have someones attention.
Our featured cat this week is HiJinx, pictured below. He is a spirited, playful fella with lots of energy, who loves attention & toys. He’s young and is waiting for the right someone to come along. Please see him today at the Paris shelter.
For more information she can be contacted at (903) 737-4320
or by email at email@example.com
Area Agency on Aging – Volunteers to train as ombudsmen who will advocate for residents in assisted living facilities and nursing homes
Attorney General’s Office – Volunteers to process items for mail, duties include putting labels on large envelops, stuffing the envelopes and writing address on labels. Approximately 2-3 hours/week; day is flexible
Children’s Advocacy Center – Volunteers willing to sit at reception desk, answer phones, and perform light clerical work, as requested
City Drug Store Museum, Roxton – Volunteers to help keep museum open first Saturday of each month, and by special appointment
Cypress Basin Hospice –Compassionate volunteers needed to deliver meals, write cards, visit, sit with patients, run errands for the family, paint fingernails and other volunteer fun at local nursing facilities; training will be provided
ETMC Hospital Auxiliary - Volunteers to work at information desk, gift shop, or to perform miscellaneous clerical tasks (like making copies) to aid hospital personnel if requested
Dr. Lura Gregory Memorial Library, Roxton – Someone to assist with checking out and shelving books
Habitat for Humanity – Volunteers are needed either in construction or providing a meal for workers on Mondays and Saturdays. Also needed are painters for a two-day paint project monthly (Friday and Saturday mornings).
Hopkins County Memorial Hospital Auxiliary – Johnnie Master Gift Shop, Front and ED desk, Nursery from 7:30 – 10:30 to help with babies, Would Care at Memorial – office help.
Hospice +, Sulphur Springs – Compassionate volunteers needed to work with patients either as a friendly visitor who will sit with them or read to them, and/or help with activities for hospice patients who are nursing home residents. Training will be provided.
Lamar County Genealogy Library – Front desk and research; training provided.
Lamar County Historical Society – Volunteers to help with cleaning of museum about twice a month. Duties include dusting, sweeping, etc. Also, docents and men to work with our men on Friday mornings to help maintain museum.
Lamar County Literacy Council – Tutors to work with adults in improving reading skills or other basic skills, such as math or writing – either one-on-one or during regularly scheduled classes utilizing a pull-out technique. Volunteers are needed to help plan/work promotional events as well as answering the phone on late Thursday afternoons and on Fridays
Maxey House – Numerous opportunities including docents and volunteers to act as educators—training to be provided, Visitor Center greeter, special events volunteers, assist the curator in research and care of artifacts, textile re-housing, book cleaning and inventory projects; transcription of letters, administrative volunteer, and grounds volunteer
Paris Pregnancy Care Center – Volunteers for child care on Tuesday evening from 4:00 – 5:00 and again from 5:30 – 6:30. Also in need of help in Re-sale Shop Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday
Paris Regional Medical Center Auxiliary – Volunteers to work in the gift shops, register desk greeters, ER waiting room and popcorn poppers for visitors that come into the hospital
Red River County Chamber of Commerce – Volunteers to work on Thursdays and Fridays in Chamber office
Red River County Library Thrift Shop – Volunteers to help receive and process donations, and to assist with sales.
Red River Valley Veteran’s Memorial – Volunteer willing to scrapbook and document a timeline of memorial activities from newspaper clippings.
Regency Health Care Center – Volunteers to help with crafts and to act as friendly visitors; also someone to help support Country Store
Sulphur Springs Senior Center – Line Dancing Instructor, Ceramics Teacher, and back up cooks and drivers for Meal A Day
Terrific Tuesdays (Sulphur Springs) – Seeking volunteers to work along side club members as a part of the respite program, as well as volunteers to cook and serve meals (Respite for Alzheimer’s patients)
Weekend Meals on Wheels – Drivers for both Saturday or Sunday, to deliver fifteen meals approximately 7 times a year, scheduled on days to accommodate drivers’ schedules
The Texas Respite Coordination Center in collaboration with the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services is sponsoring three webinars on models for providing respite care through volunteer or faith based groups. The models to be presented are all Texas based and range from one day/month programs offered outside the home to ongoing in-home programs. The programs are designed to serve older adults, children and youth with special needs or both. Registration for this series is free. Please indicate which webinar(s) you plan on attending.
Webinar 1: Senior Companionship Program: Seniors Serving Seniors
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Speaker: Jamie Timmerman, Companionship Services Director, Christian Senior Services
This session will provide an overview of the Senior Companion Program, a peer-to-peer program where caring senior volunteers befriend homebound seniors in their community. The program is designed to foster independence among seniors by engaging them in community service, providing them companionship opportunities, and offering respite to both professional and family caregivers. There will be time for Q&A.
Webinar 2: Revive—Serving Families of Children with Special Needs
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Speaker: Lena Zettler, MA, LPA, Director, Department of Psychology, Cook Children’s Medical Center
Revive is a free parents’ night out program for children with special needs and their siblings. A staff of trained, loving volunteers care for children with special needs and their siblings. A full array of activities are planned for the children, including crafts, playground activities, ball pit, bounce house, computer games, music or karaoke, and board games. Ms. Zettler will be talking about starting a program along with provide tips on managing volunteers and finding funding, as well as time for Q&A.
Webinar 3: Lifespan Respite & The Faith Based Community
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Speaker: The Rev Earl E. Shelp, Ph.D., Retired Co-founder and President, Interfaith CarePartners
This session will provide specific examples of different types of faith-based caregiver program models including: Alzheimer’s Care Team©, for individuals with dementia or other cognitive impairment and their caregivers; Second Family Care Team©, for individuals with physical impairments due to disease, trauma, or advanced age; and Kids’ Pals Care Team©, for families with a child with a disability. As the founder of Interfaith CarePartners, Rev. Shelp will share his insight about starting respite programs and his lessons from years of experience. There will be time for Q & A.
The Texas Respite Coalition and Coordination Center supports the state’s lifespan respite care program by working to provide resources and tools to assist persons caring for individuals of all ages and any disability. For additional information on activities and resources, go to www.taketimetexas.org.
The Texas Lifespan Respite Care Program has a goal of increasing faith and volunteer-based respite programs in Texas. For more information on the webinars or on how to become a volunteer, contact Joyce Pohlman with the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services at 512-438-5555.
Thanksgiving, a day that has grown to be synonymous with a huge feast, is just three days away. Every year, families gather around the table and give thanks for the meal before them. Sometimes, while surrounded by an abundance of food, it can be easy to take it for granted.
A large number of families in Lamar County are unable to afford a roasted turkey or pumpkin pie, foods which are the staple of traditional Thanksgiving meals. Food is a luxury. Many don’t know where their next meal is coming from, much less if they’ll celebrate Thanksgiving. Fortunately, there are ways everyone can help.
The Downtown Food Pantry is one effort of many to alleviate the pain of hunger from citizens of Lamar County. It is open year-round: holiday or not, it will always be there, ready to help. In 2012, it provided 1.2 million meals to hungry people across the county.
Those wishing to offer their assistance can either give their donations via mail or drop them off at the pantry itself.
Created in 2009, the pantry has moved several times in order to accommodate the growing number of families needing assistance. Director of Operations Chuck Burton began as a volunteer when the pantry operated out of a 700-square-foot building on Clarksville Street. Here it operated much like other pantries, where needy families would receive boxes or bags of food.
“When I began volunteering, we would give people a box,” Burton said. “When we got this building, we had the facilities to make it a client-choice shopping and people really liked that.”
The layout and size of the new building (which opened in 2011) allows the pantry to be unique in the way it services people. Set up with aisles, carts, and fully-stocked shelves, shoppers will feel as though they are shopping in a grocery store or small supermarket. These new facilities are more accommodating and allow the pantry to service more people. Since the move, the number of those served has increased significantly, with approximately 20 to 30 new families each week.
“When we moved into this building, we served 800 families that month,” Burton said. “Last week, we served 840 families.”
The numbers are only expected to increase.
Let’s look at how the pantry operates. Families are able to visit every other week, or approximately 26 times a year. When they first visit, they are questioned briefly and entered into the computer system. This process keeps record of who comes in and helps things run more smoothly and efficiently. The pantry runs at a quick pace, sometimes servicing over 400 families in a day, an impressive feat considering it is only open for three hours a day, two days a week.
“We can get 190 people through the front door with a shopping list in their hand in the first hour,” Burton said.
After they are signed in, visitors will be directed to a waiting room, where boredom is a non-issue. According to Burton, the wait time for the last person in line is usually no more than 12 minutes. While they are waiting, if they so desire, they have the opportunity to submit prayer requests.
Upon entering the shopping area, shoppers use a list as a reference and pick out the designated number of items from certain food groups. Each item on the shelf equals one on their list. For instance, a pack of ground beef or a whole chicken from the freezer could count as one protein. For a family of three, one protein down, three to go. Other items on the list for a family of three are:
1 Egg Carton
The amount of food on the list varies depending on the size of the family.
After they have completed their shopping, shoppers proceed to the check stands, where two volunteers will ensure they have everything on their lists and bag their items. Before other volunteers assist them with carrying their groceries to their cars, shoppers will also receive special bonus items not on their lists.
“Every day we’re open there will be [a bonus item],” Burton said. “Sometimes it’s a lot of different things, sometimes it’s just a couple, but it changes every time we’re open.”
Because the pantry is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the weekly total for this week might be less because it will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. However, according to Burton, Thanksgiving is the busiest time of year for the pantry, and understandably so. Last year, they served 475 families, opening and closing early just to ensure everyone had the food they needed. This year, though, he expects it to be a “record-breaking day,” with an estimated 550 and 600 families to be served this Tuesday alone.
Approximately 125 volunteers donate their time to the pantry, though generally 30 are present throughout each day. For Thanksgiving, however, Burton stated he needs all the help he can get.
“I’ve basically said come one, come all to all of our volunteers,” he said.
Because the pantry is a nonprofit organization, they are not able to completely provide Thanksgiving meals in the most traditional sense. Though giving out turkeys to every family is ideal, Burton admits that it is too cost-prohibitive. He has, however, offered an alternative solution.
“Instead of getting the turkeys, which I wasn’t able to, I did procure about 2,500 whole chickens,” he said. “We’re serving as many people as much as we can in a short amount of time.”
So how can you assist in putting food on a family’s table this Thanksgiving? The pantry works with the North Texas Food Bank and runs entirely off of donations, so any contribution is very much appreciated. Burton, however, did mention specific items that would greatly help.
“During this time of year, I’m always in need of canned fruit,” he said. “I’m always in need of grains, like cornbread mix and stuffing mix. Those are two of the main items.”
Because items can be bought in bulk at a reduced rate, monetary donations have the potential to buy more food and thus feed more families. However, the pantry would be more than grateful and happy with any donation. Burton showed gratitude to everyone who has lent a helping hand.
“I think our ‘sponsor’ is anyone and everyone who has made a donation in the past or in the future. That is how we survive, how we are able to [survive],” he said.
Any time of year is perfect for helping out our fellow man, but many may not consider just how many families aren’t getting enough to eat. Hunger is not seasonal. The pantry will serve people year round, for as long as it enables even just a few families put food on their tables.
“This is the time of year when people think about it more. I know when I was younger, you would hear about the food lines where people would go during Thanksgiving and serve people in need a Thanksgiving meal,” Burton said. “But hunger is not October, November, December. It’s 12 months a year and our neighbors need us, that’s why we’re here.”
For more information, contact Chuck Burton at the pantry at 903.737.8870 or visit the pantry at 124 W. Cherry Street.
By Courtney McNeal, eParisExtra