The true meaning of the season is oftentimes lost - shoppers waiting in line for hours to get their hands on the latest gadgets and hottest fashions. True, the season is about giving, but what exactly does the recipient get out of a sweater in Texas - maybe a couple weeks of wear? And what about that necktie dad has received for the last 10 years - something he wears to church twice a year and otherwise finds a home in the back of the closet?
"Good will toward men" is something the pious pray for yet sometimes struggle to attain.
This year, the Reporter encourages readers to think outside of the box when searching for gifts that keep giving. Consider donations and contributions that will benefit your neighbors in need, consider giving to these 12 non-profits of Christmas.
1 - Christmas in Action
There are two things that keep Christmas in Action moving - volunteers and donations.
Every spring, the non-profit organization, run by local business people and concerned citizens, gives back to the community by making home repairs and completing improvement projects at local residences where homeowners are facing tough times.
But this year, the group has been spurred to action a little early.
Darrell Webb, former city inspector, continues to await a liver transplant, and his health has take a downturn, according to Christmas in Action (CIA) member Dewayne Griffin.
"He is not doing very well," Griffin said. "He is currently very weak and has been hospitalized."
When he is released from the hospital and after he undergoes transplant surgery, Webb will be confined to a wheelchair.
On Saturday, Dec. 15, CIA will descend on the Webb home, located at 600 Litigation, and construct a wheelchair ramp, repair a leaky roof and spruce up the lawn and landscape.
"We could use some additional volunteers who are willing to help with repairs," Griffin said. "We are going to get started by 8 a.m. and hope to be done by noon."
In order to make such projects possible, CIA relies on donations from area residents. Monetary donations may be sent to Christmas in Action, P.O. BOX 426, Glen Rose, Texas, 76043.
For more information, contact CIA President Hank Jones at (254) 897-9240.
2 - Christmas Express
There's nothing like the sparkle in a child's eye when they see gifts and goodies beneath the tree on Christmas morning. For many families, it is more a dream than a reality.
More than 50 percent of students within Glen Rose ISD are economically disadvantaged. Their families are more focused on the next meal than they are providing a winter coat, new pair of boots or a game to play.
But a tradition that was born within the school district allows community members to spread cheer to children who need it the most.
The Christmas Express provides families with holiday assistance by filling the wants and needs of the students.
To participate in the gift campaign, community members can pick up an angel from the angel trees at Town & County Bank or Brookshire's.
The angels provide shoppers with a list of needs and also allow children to list one wish.
Angels may also be obtained by contacting campus counselors: Linda Dunbar, (254) 898-3502; Karla Swearengin, 898-3604; Stephanie Rotan, 898-3704; or Carrie Mackey, 898-3805.
Gifts must be returned by Tuesday so they can be distributed to students prior to the release of school for winter break.
3 - Somervell County Food Bank
Max Bly, director of the Somervell County Food Bank, will tell you the community is blessed. Throughout the year, various individuals and businesses donate time and money to help feed neighbors in need.
Currently, a food drive is underway at Brookshire's that will ensure residents won't go hungry during the holidays. See more information in BUSINESS.
This year, Bly and fellow concerned citizens are spearheading an effort they hope will lead to the construction of a new facility. Due to the number of families in need of assistance, and the amount of food it takes to keep them fed, Bly said the organization has outgrown its existing facility, located at Pecan and Vine downtown. He also said the wear and tear on the old home and non-commercial wiring pose safety threats.
"We need a stand alone metal building with a walk-in refrigerator and freezer," Bly said.
But there is something much greater topping the food bank's wish list.
"What we really need is a piece of property," Bly said. "That would really get the ball rolling."
Meanwhile, area businesses have got the building fund off to a good start.
The effort was started in November when Luminant made a $1,000 donation to the Somervell County Food Bank Building Fund at Town & Country Bank. Weeks later, an additional $4,600 was deposited into the account after donations from Hammond's B-B-Q annual Thanksgiving feast were delivered.
"We are off to a good start," Bly said. "We have $5,600 in the fund."
To help with the relocation effort, benefactors are asked to deliver monetary donations to Town & County with "building fund" in the check's memo line or mail them to Somervell County Food Bank, P.O. Box 3114, Glen Rose, TX, 76043.
4 - LDL Educational Resources Foundation
In Somervell County, LDL is synonymous with giving.
The organization was founded in 1993 by Glen Rose ISD teachers Leta Yocham, Dorothy Gibbs and Liz Sherrell, who began partnering with community service organizations and churches to assist with medical, educational and other needs while maintaining the vision of improving the quality of life for area residents.
Through community support, including payroll deductions from school employees, private and business donors, memorials, the Paluxy Pedal Bike Ride in October and other fundraisers LDL has provided more than $1.5 million in assistance across the community.
Donating to the organization this holiday season will help further the mission.
Donations may be mailed to LDL Educational Resources Foundation, P.O. Box 1283, Glen Rose, Texas 76043
For more information, visit ldlfoundation.org.
5 - CHRISTmas in Africa
Sisters Gina Sannoh and Sao Rogers were very young when they fled their native Africa. The two girls returned to their homeland for the first time last summer along with a few local friends who decided to make a mission of reuniting the girls with their family while assessing the needs of the remote village where they were born.
The group plans to return this summer to spread Christianity and help improve living conditions while enhancing education, hygiene and medical care in the village.
At 7 p.m. Friday, a fundraising effort will begin inside the Glen Rose High School cafeteria. The event will feature a dessert bar, silent auction, slideshow presentation depicting the life in the African village and a special performance by high school and junior high choirs.
Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the Glen Rose Reporter officel.
For more information, contact Shelley McFadin at Shelleymcfadin@yahoo.com or (817) 360-7701.
6 - The Red Barn Project
The organization is based in Erath County, but it has taken up an effort to enhance the lives of individuals within a 100-mile radius.
Organizer Sylvia Burleson, daughter of Carroll Parham, inductee in The Old Tyme Country and Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, is spearheading an effort to share the gift of music this Christmas.
"I could not help but think of how blessed each of us are to be able to sing and play, to be been given the opportunity to nourish that God-given love of music. It becomes a never ending skill that has unending opportunities. It even becomes a testimony for some," Burleson said.
If you know anything about The Red Barn Project, you know one of the organization's goals is provide children and adults with the ability to learn more about music.
"This will be more than a toy, to some it will be a treasure," Burleson added. "If you know a child who has an interest in music, lives within 100 miles of Erath County and does not have the ability to obtain an instrument, please let us know."
The organization is accepting donations to further the cause.
"If you do not know of a child and would simply like to be a blessing by donating an instrument or funds to purchase instruments, call me," she said.
Burleson can be reached at (254) 485-4975 or email@example.com.