WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) —We know the holidays will not be the same this year, but what will remain strong is this community’s spirit of generosity during the holiday season.
While the chaotic events of 2020 have threatened to overshadow the holly jolly times of the season, there are people who still want to see others enjoy the most wonderful time of the year, like Marc McCown’s Domain Realty Group that’s gathering hundreds of pounds of food to help the WF Area Food Bank, among other things.
“There were two things that became important to us,” says Marc, “one: to support the local food bank, and two: at Christmas we do toys for A World for Children.”
“We are still accepting food, we’re going to accept it until the 16th of November,” Domain Realtor Lauren Wuthrich. “Then we’re going to haul it all to the food bank and hopefully beat how much pounds we raised last year, and last year we did 871 pounds! It’s something we look forward to, to be able to give back to our community because there a lot of families that need food during the holiday season.”
This kind gesture from Marc McCown’s team also helps our homeless veterans, people Tara Bryant and other board members for Base Camp Lindsey are working hard to care for during these unforgiving times.
“We have veterans that are Vietnam Vets that are on the streets, these are people who have been home from war 40, 50 years if you can imagine and so knowing that there’s people like that out on the streets is just sad!” says Tara.
Plans are still in place to turn this now dilapidated nursing home off of Denver Street into a grand shelter with an on-site chapel, counselors, nursing center, kitchen, game room and more, but the Covid-19 crisis has delayed their opening until next summer.
Yet, Tara says they remain steadfast in carrying out their seasonal fundraisers like Saturday’s March for Honor. People will march 10 miles with a 25 pound ruck sack filled with non-perishable foods and hygiene items at Lake Shore Drive and begin registering at 7:30 am. This year, they will also have a 5-mile and 1-mile course with the addition of a half-mile course for children. The money and items donated will go to benefit future events for BCL.
“We use that to collect donations for what we call our ‘Christmas Stand Down’ which is our community outreach program,” says Tara. “We’ll be set up in Big Blue and we actually provide free haircuts, a hot meal, conversation, we pass out canned goods, we pass out hygiene items, clothing, backpacks things to get them through the winter. The longer this building [base camp lindsey] stays closed, the less we can help get people off the streets and so our fundraising events are for that but our stand downs are directed towards helping them get through life right now.”
Perhaps the most vulnerable group right now are local children, which is why the crew at Wichita Falls Fit Body Boot Camp off of Southwest Pkwy have chosen to give back to them in a major way.
“The schools have told us that 297 out of 300 students are going to go without food or are considered food insufficient,” says FBBC owner Joe Harris, “so we collect food and then all the money that we raise during this time, whether it be a promo or shirts or anything like that go to buying food.”
Fitness Instructor Charlotte Holster adds FBBC consistently gives back to child-centered organizations like The Arc of Wichita County, The Boys and Girls Club, and Whispers of Hope.
This month, Joe says they are doing candy and food drive this month, a toy drive in December, and a fall festival on Saturday, so kids can have something special and positive to remember this year.
“There’s certain things that happened in my life where I was like I never want another kid to experience that,” says Joe, “and so any opportunity that we have to give back, it’s always the kids because they don’t have a choice.”
FBBC worker Amanda Bolding has experienced the grim luck 2020 has shown many families after losing her teenage son, Kaleb Honea to a car wreck this summer. After enduring this tragedy, Amanda wants to send a message to kids and their families that life is too short to not be happy and cherish every moment together.
“The holidays are more centered around the smiles and the faces and we obviously all know that time may not be extended for everybody so it’s better to just live in the moment, and so anything we can do to help them have a good holiday, have a good meal, just make those memories while we can, we’re all in on that,” says Amanda.
Each of these organizations have something in common: That others follow suit and give back, however big or small. Community support and a love for the season of giving is what makes us say I LOVE TEXOMA!