Our weekly roundup of Toasts & Roasts:
It’s been said many times before, and in many different ways, but we’re continually amazed and thankful for the efforts of all involved who choose to help make a difference in the lives of Angelina County’s less fortunate. We published stories about the two most recent examples. The Lufkin Corps of the Salvation Army raised $142,000 through its 2019 Red Kettle Season. “The Red Kettle Campaign is an opportunity to raise funds for the social service work that the Salvation Army does in order to help people out with their financial needs and buying supplies to help people with food, clothing and shelter,” Capt. Cavon Phillips said. Advancements in technology could have contributed to more donations this year, and that it did impact the number of volunteers, he said. A QR code was posted on the kettles linking to an online donation portal. Apple Pay Bump also was added this year. Givers with iPhones generation 10 and higher just had to bump their phone against the kettle and signify an amount to give through Apple Pay. Phillips said Register to Ring was new to the region this year. People could go online, pick their shifts and their locations. ‘‘It was very user-friendly, and there was a good turnout,’’ he said. And the Christian Information & Service Center has received $4,290 so far through a partnership with The Lufkin Daily News beginning in November. Director Yulonda Richard said the program is a way to reach out to the community that the organization couldn’t do on its own. More than 16,000 people are served by CISC each month, and the organization processes 2.5 million pounds of food with seven staff members and around 50 volunteers. “It gives me encouragement that what I’m doing is right, what CISC is doing is what God would have us do,” Richard said. “It’s not easy all the time, by far. We don’t look for a pat on the back, but when it comes, it means a lot.” Both organizations are a staple of this community, offering a symbol of hope to those in need.
Congratulations to the Deep East Texas Council of Governments on the opening of its new facility in Lufkin. The organization held an open house last week to show the 14,000-square-foot building at 1405 Kurth Drive and to thank everyone who had a hand in funding, designing or making decisions about the building. DETCOG facilitates a number of grants used regionwide, as well as the 911 program, the regional Housing and Urban Development program and the Area Agency on Aging, among others. Most importantly, the move to Lufkin puts the organization in a more central location for the 12 counties it represents. It also allows DETCOG to consolidate its programs into one facility.
Congratulations to Abundant Life United Methodist Church for breaking ground Saturday for its new Family Life Center. The church only has so much room to do so many things in its current facility, according to the Rev. David Briggs. ‘‘We just ran out of room to do ministry, and our hearts were heavy to do more in this community as a church,” he said. Once the center is built, there are plans for it to house an affordable preschool. There also are plans for several other community-oriented ministries, including financial literacy, health and parenting, alongside the more traditional Bible classes. “We want the Family Life Center to be a hub for community empowerment and health,” Briggs said.
A toast to Diboll junior Helene Bolton, who earned a spot on the Texas Sports Writers Association third-team all-state list following the 2019 volleyball season. But the all-state nod wasn’t her only achievement. She earned Texas Girls Coaching Association all-state honors and was the District 21-3A Middle Blocker of the Year. On top of that, she earned a spot on the TGCA All-Star team as one of 24 players in all of Class 1A-4A volleyball in Texas. Bolton is just the second Lady Jack to earn the honor since 2002.
Editor’s note: Is there a person or organization you’d like to nominate for either a Toast or a Roast due to a recent accomplishment, event or incident? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 631-2618. You can also contact us anonymously through our online news tip page at lufkindailynews.com/tips.