(TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - With $7,633.75 brought in over the Christmas holiday, the Shine Your Light campaign is well on its way to making an impact toward helping essential nonprofits continue their critical work in the community.
The Salvation Army of Tyler, the East Texas Food Bank, People Attempting to Help (PATH), First Tee of Greater Tyler, the Literacy Council of Tyler, and Boys & Girls Club of East Texas are this year's nonprofits selected by a committee to receive gifts raised from the community.
"This year's theme is ‘Investing in the future.' ... This is not the newspaper's deal, this is the community's deal," said Nelson Clyde, publisher of the Tyler Morning Telegraph. "The people on this committee are really plugged in to this community."
Mayor Barbara Bass said she's enjoyed her involvement with the campaign over her mayoral career.
"Each year, I have been blessed by the outpouring of support for Shine Your Light," Mayor Bass said. "And, I am blessed just knowing that we can make a huge difference when we join together to help the neediest in our community."
This year's matching donors are giving a total of $75,000. The donors are the Niblack Charitable Fund, Terry and Dennis Darryl, Mayor Barbara and Billy Bass, Herb and Melvina Buie, Harold and Rosemary Beaird, Citizen's 1st Bank, Southside Bank, the Clements Family Foundation, the Tyler Morning Telegraph and an anonymous donor.
"Rosemary and I give to Shine Your Light because a gift to this effort is a gift to six agencies," Beaird said. "Tyler is a generous town and is aware of the good work being done by these organizations. A gift here is much like giving to a neighbor in need."
The campaign began in 2008, with a total raised of $114,642.69, divided evenly between each agency. The amount has grown over the years, with a combined total of $822,688.02 for the first four years.
"In the fall of 2008, the economy crashed, and people were scared to death," Clyde said. "Agencies were wondering what would happen."
So the Shine Your Light campaign was born. The first year's recipients were the East Texas Food Bank, The Salvation Army, PATH and the East Texas Rescue Mission of Tyler.
In 2009 and 2010, Shine Your Light again focused on helping the agencies that meet basic human needs.
"These were the frontline providers in meeting human needs, the bellwether agencies of the community," Clyde said.
The 2009 organizations were the Bethesda Health Clinic, the East Texas Food Bank, Meals On Wheels, St. Paul Children's Foundation and The King's Storehouse. The 2010 organizations were the East Texas Crisis Center, the East Texas Food Bank, PATH, The Salvation Army and Meals On Wheels.
"In 2011, the economy appeared to be improving," Clyde said. "That year's focus was 'Let's get people back to work,'" Clyde said.
The recipients of 2011 were Christian Men's Job Corps and Christian Women's Job Corps, as well as the Children's Advocacy Center of Smith County, Court Appointed Special Advocates, the East Texas Food Bank, The Salvation Army, PATH, and Meals On Wheels.
In 2012, as well as once again assisting core agencies, the Shine Your Light committee decided to honor The Hospice of East Texas for their 30th anniversary and help a new agency, the Samaritan Counseling Center of Tyler. The other agencies selected that year were Alzheimer's Alliance of Smith County, the Bethesda Health Clinic, the East Texas Food Bank, The Salvation Army, PATH, Meals On Wheels and the East Texas Crisis Center.
"My wife and I have a heart for helping good organizations that are helping people," said Herb Buie, one of the matching donors. "We think it's a really good thing to support these organizations that are helping those who truly can't afford to help themselves. We believe strongly in giving back to the community."
To donate to Shine Your Light, visitwww.tylerpaper.com or ETCF.org to pay with a credit card, or mail a check payable to "ETCF — Shine Your Light" at 315 N. Broadway Ave., Suite 210, Tyler, Texas, 75702.