The campaign will last through Dec. 31. Donations can be made online or by mail.
This year, the proceeds will be split between a record-breaking nine agencies: The East Texas Food Bank, the Bethesda Clinic, The Hospice of East Texas, the Alzheimer’s Alliance, People Attempting to Help (PATH), the East Texas Crisis Center, The Salvation Army, the Samaritan Counseling Center and Meals On Wheels.
Since its inception in 2008, during what seemed to be the darkest days of the economic meltdown, Shine Your Light has raised more than $600,000 to meet the most pressing needs in the community.
This year’s matching funds totaled $95,000, more than has ever been committed. The matching fund partners are the Tyler Morning Telegraph, Mayor Barbara and Billy Bass, the Fourth Partner Foundation, ETCF Harold and Rosemary Beaird Fund, the Niblack Charitable Fund, Terry and Dennis Darryl, Citizens 1st Bank, Drs. SJ Vukeja and Lawrence Anderson, Dermatology Associates of Tyler, American State Bank and two anonymous donors.
“It’s really the highlight of the holidays to sit back and watch the generosity of our community revealed,” Nelson Clyde, publisher of the Tyler Morning Telegraph, said. “It’s been the gift that keeps on giving for my heart every year to watch this unfold.”
That’s an incentive to accelerate giving to before the end of the year — or the edge of the cliff, many financial counselors say.
The organizations benefiting from Shine Your Light this year, like in years past, each serve the community in unique and vital ways. They’re all “front-line” agencies, which means they directly serve you, your family, and your neighbors. The hungry, the homeless, the elderly, the disabled, the terminally ill — these are the direct beneficiaries of your contribution.
Take the East Texas Food Bank, for instance. In its more than 20 years, the Food Bank has provided millions of meals for hungry residents in the more than 20,000 square miles it covers in 26 counties.
In 2011, 15 million meals were distributed.
The Hospice of East Texas’ home-like setting can house 28 inpatients, and Hospice workers also care for 315 more patients — in 18 counties — who are at their homes or in an assisted living facility.
Meals On Wheels serves a daily meal to nearly 3,000 homebound senior citizens and disabled persons every weekday in East Texas.
Likewise, the other charities fill specific needs during this season, and throughout the year. The Shine Your Light campaign is an opportunity to recognize those needs, and those who meet them.
To donate to Shine Your Light, visit www.tylerpaper.com, or ETCF.org, or mail your check payable to Shine Your Light c/o East Texas Communities Foundation, 315 N. Broadway Ave., Tyler, TX, 75702.