Complied by AMANDA KIMBLE
ERATH COUNTY (November 27, 2016) – Tis the season of giving, but this year, The Flash encourages you to give gifts that promote the true meaning of the season.
Forget ugly sweaters, hideous ties, inedible fruitcakes and other useless gifts that are guaranteed to be re-gifted, donated or altogether forgotten, consider honoring your loved ones and improving the community by giving to any of a number of Erath County organizations to help uplift others. Whether those on your list are humanitarians, lovers of the arts, animal advocates or proponents of literacy and education, there’s an organization they would be honored for you to support at Christmastime and throughout the year.
This is the second in a two-part series that will help you share gifts that will really make a difference.
6 – Give the Gift of History, Heritage
Giving to help preserve the past is a gift that will also benefit future generations, and Erath County is alive will a rich history and several museums that have made an art of preserving the past.
Stephenville Historical House Museum offers docent-led and self-guided tours to the public at no cost. But, the museum, which includes several historical structures and artifacts from across Erath County, relies on contributions for upkeep and ongoing preservation efforts.
Contributions made to the museum’s general fund help preserve any of the structures and artifacts at the facility and also help develop new exhibits. Meanwhile, the Oxford House Preservation Fund restricts the expenditure of financial gifts to the ongoing restoration of the late Queen Ann style structure that was constructed in the late 1890s by Judge W.J. Oxford.
Donors have the option of making memorial of honorary gifts and can also purchase engraved bricks to “serve as a pathway connecting the present with the past.” The bricks name individuals, businesses or organizations and can also be used to celebrate special events like a couple’s first Christmas, the birth of a child or grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary.
Bricks can be ordered online for $75 each for individuals and nonprofit organizations and $100 for businesses.
To make monetary contributions of lesser or greater amounts, download and complete the general fund donation form or Oxford House Preservation Project contribution form, which include mail-in and online giving options.
When details are given, the person who is being honored will receive an acknowledgement that a gift was made in their name.
Other museums honoring local history that thrive on financial support include Dublin Historical Museum, 254-445-4550; Dublin Rodeo Heritage Museum, 254-445-0200; and Ben Hogan Legacy Museum, 254-445-4466.
7 – Give the Gift of Art
Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council was founded on the idea that all people, despite place of residence or socioeconomic status, should have access to the arts.
That mission is facilitated through monthly “Paint the Town” events that encourage participants to explore their creative sides and regular exhibits and artist receptions to summer camps for children and special artistic and cultural performances across an eight-county service area.
CTFAC has a Stephenville gallery that serves as the nonprofit organization’s cultural hub. Funding is derived from a portion of the city of Stephenville’s hotel occupancy tax but is driven by monetary contributions, sponsors and annual memberships.
Gift memberships serve a two-fold purpose, giving the recipient access to advance notification of all upcoming events, invitation to exclusive events, advance tickets, free tickets to the CTFAC annual membership barbecue and more.
Download the online membership form and make sure to include the name and address of the recipient. Monetary contributions and membership transactions can also be made at the River North Gallery, located at 204 River North Blvd. in Stephenville.
Call 254-965-6190 for more information.
8 – Give the Gift of Gratitude
Disabled American Veterans Chapter 234 includes a small hard-working group of dedicated members who provide various types of assistance to area military veterans. Providing an honorary gift to the organization will help extend thanks and support to the brave men and women who have selflessly served the nation, protecting the freedoms that make America great.
Last fiscal year, support provided by Chapter 234 included more than $12,000 in financial assistance; more than $900 in troop support; more than $1,600 for an emergency PTSD program; and other monetary assistance. The organization also helped military veterans file almost 60 claims, filed more than 70 requests for information and made various referrals.
The organization is currently working to supply “Boots on the Ground,” which sends care packages to the troops stationed overseas. Items will be collected through mid-January and organizers expects the troops will receive the gifts around Valentine’s Day.
To participate, community members are asked to donate items such as personal hygiene items, such as balm, sunscreen, deodorant and others; nonperishable snacks like beef jerky, nuts, hard candy, crackers, cookies and seasoning; clothing like socks and bandanas; and things like books, puzzle books, playing cards and magazines. Items are being collected at the DAV office, located at 408 East Road (across from Riggs Machine and Welding on U.S. Highway 281) in Stephenville
Meanwhile, Chapter 234 is always in need of financial support. Monetary donations for troop support or veteran assistance can be mailed to DAV Chapter 234 at PO Box 613 Stephenville, Texas 76401. Credit card contributions can be made by calling 254-918-5660.
Finally, volunteers are always needed for various projects – call or stop by the DAV office for more information.
9 – Give the Gift of Warmth
Christmastime should be a magical time filled with cheer, but that’s not always the case. Many children whose lives include the involvement of Child Protective Services (CPS) won’t have Christmas presents waiting under the tree. They also will need the community assistance when it comes to being guaranteed a warm meal and warm clothes to wear.
Erath County Child Welfare Board, CPS and the Rainbow Room are currently collecting items to fill the needs of those children, two years old and older.
Current needs include new winter clothing, coats and shoe for all sizes, as well as diapers, cleaning products and canned and boxed food items.
While donations of new clothing items are welcome, officials say gift cards work better, allowing them ensure the correct sizes are purchased and all needs are filled.
All donations can be taken to 2175 West South Loop in Stephenville.
10 – Give the Gifts of Life and Parenting Resources
Free pregnancy and STD testing; peer counseling and education on fetal development, abortion and abortion alternatives; diagnostic ultrasound; parenting education; chances to earn maternity and baby supplies and much more. It’s all provided cost free in a confidential and secure environment at Choices Life Resource Center.
In 2015, the nonprofit organization provided 318 pregnancy tests that returned 166 positive results. Of those young women, 112 were considering abortion and all but six chose life after receiving services and counseling at the center.
Those young mothers attended 743 classes and were awarded 15,840 items from the organization’s baby boutique and 17 cribs.
Choice Life Resources Center is supported solely private donations, and supporting the organization is a direct reflection of the meaning of the Christmas season – new life.
Donations can be made online. Call the Stephenville center at 254-965-5139 for more information.
Meanwhile, the facility, located at 1902 West Sloan Street is also seeking Christmas toys for their client’s children, newborn to two years old. Donations of diapers, wet wipes and seasonal clothing are also always need and accepted, as are willing volunteers.