East Texas Giving Day set today to help raise funds for area nonprofits | Local News

Ken Hedler khedler@news-journal.com

The Longview Dream Center hopes to do even better today raising money from East Texas Giving Day than a year ago because COVID-19 has increased demands for food giveaways.

“Since the virus (arrived in March), we have doubled the number of people we are serving,” Executive Director Shonna Barlow said Monday.

Barlow said the Dream Center, which operates a food pantry and clothing giveaway at 803 Gilmer Road in Longview, set a goal of raising $15,000 from the 18-hour online fundraiser at easttexasgivingday.org . That is up from $12,811, plus $1,000 in matching funds, from the fourth annual event in 2019, the highest amount donated for organizations from Longview participating.

Coordinated by East Texas Communities Foundation, donors are encouraged to go online from 6 a.m. to midnight and make at least a $10 gift to one or more of the participating nonprofit organizations or donate to a fund in which the money will be distributed among all participants.

“Giving Day is happening at an unprecedented time,” said Kyle Penney, president of East Texas Communities Foundation. “Nonprofits are responding to an increased demand for services in their communities. Meanwhile, donations have slowed due to the postponement of public fundraising events with concerns of the community spread of coronavirus.”

Participating nonprofits in the Longview area are:

Gregg County: Asbury House Child Enrichment Center; Christian Women’s Jobs Corps of Gregg County; Community Healthcore Foundation; East Texas Symphonic Band; Family Promise of Longview; Friends of the Kilgore Public Library; Hiway 80 Rescue Mission; LeTourneau University; Longview Arboretum and Nature Center; Longview Symphony; Longview Teen Court Inc.; Longview Type One Diabetes Foundation; Longview World of Wonders; Newgate Mission; Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity; Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services; Silver Paws; Texas Shakespeare Festival; Trinity School of Texas; and Wiseman Ministries Inc.

Harrison County: Caddo Lake Institute; Dayspring Therapeutic Equestrian Center; Texas Star Rescue; Twelve Way Foundation; and Wiley College.

Panola County: Daniel Springs Baptist Camp and Excellent Teen Choice.

Rusk County: Boys and Girls Club of Rusk County; Texas Baptist Institute & Seminary; The K9 Basco Foundation; United Way of Rusk County.

Upshur County: Gilmont Camp and Conference Center and Hannah House Maternity Homes.

Christian Women’s Job Corps of Gregg County, which was formed in 2019, encourages women to know Jesus Christ, while equipping them with job and life skills in a supportive, Christ-centered environment, according to information from the organization.

It’s part of the national organization sponsored through Women’s Missionary Union, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, according to Vice President/Treasurer Susan Green.

Director Julie Wiebracht said the goal of participating in East Texas Giving Day is “to keep the program running,” noting that her agency depends on donations.

Donations can be made from any device that can access the internet, including computers, mobile phones and tablets.

New on the Giving Day website this year is information on immediate needs of nonprofit organizations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is important for nonprofits to be able to share information about the impact of the crisis,” Penney said. “We added the COVID-19 search filter to assist donors that want to know how agencies are being impacted by the pandemic.”

Some nonprofits have secured funding sources that have agreed to match all the donations they receive through East Texas Giving Day.

“Unlocking these matching funds is critical to the nonprofits this year,” Penney said.

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