“Charity starts at home.” More true words have never been spoken, and with a variety of charitable activities and causes that are occurring this week, that message really drives home. Charity starts at home.
Through the end of the week, 85 teens and adults are working to repair and renovate five area homes. In the past, some of those same youth have traveled around the state — and even out of state — to perform similar work in other communities. It isn’t that the previous projects lacked merit, but anyone who’s taken a drive through our own community knows that we have homes in disrepair occupied by families who often don’t have the ability or resources to make them habitable.
In a 2005 Bulletin article, Ricky Cavitt, youth minister at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church, said churches typically send youth to camps and on mission trips — away from Brownwood. He said that youth will learn through projects such as Project Sweat that they can help at home as well. Several of the youth involved in this year’s project said the same thing — and pointed out that they will be reminded of their efforts each time they drive past a home on which they worked.
Another event will take place over the weekend, beginning Friday evening when three local charities will learn about donations coming from the area’s largest charitable golf tournament. From its outset, one of the primary aims of the TexasBank Golf Classic was to support Brownwood area organizations that focus their services on young people. In the past three years, the tournament has raised and donated $125,000 to local charities, who use the money to provide programs and services to area residents. On Friday at the tournament sponsors’ dinner, three more checks will be handed out to three more Brownwood-area organizations, plus another for a Stephenville-area charity. They were chosen because of what they do and who they help. The money donated through the Golf Classic doesn’t go to a national organization or to pay administrative overhead. That’s a large reason why the tournament’s fundraising efforts have been so successful.
Relay for Life is one of the American Cancer Society’s largest fund-raising events each year. On Friday night and Saturday morning, teams of walkers will circle the track at Gordon Wood Stadium — and take some time out for a variety of fun activities, as they raise money to fund the fight against cancer. Organizers say that some of the money raised at the Brownwood event helps the local chapter fund educational programs, as well as research efforts at a national level.
On Sunday a group of riders, part of the Texas 4000, will arrive in Brownwood for an overnight stop on their way from Austin to Alaska. The group has a goal of raising $350,000 with this year’s ride, bringing its four-year total to $1 million raised for cancer research through M.D. Anderson and the American Cancer Society. Like the Relay for Life, the riders will be raising money to help find a cure for cancer, a disease that has touched almost every family in one form or another. Although in both of these cases at least a portion of the money raised is directed toward a national office, the impact of cancer research reaches down to a very local level — as close as our own families.
Charity does start at home, and it’s an important topic for families to discuss. There are many worthy causes and efforts — and deciding which to support can be a complicated decision with many factors. When you consider your community your home, though, the idea of supporting local organizations seems to be the most reasonable. As the Project Sweat volunteers and golf tournament sponsors will experience, witnessing the impact of your donation is very powerful. But any effort that touches an individual or family here, and helps their situation, is one worth supporting.
Bill Crist is associate publisher and general manager of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column appears on Wednesday. He may be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.