THE HANDS THAT GIVE are never left empty.
There is no better time to be reminded of that than now, when we are awash in consumer-oriented Christmas messages urging us to spend our money—even as many in this community struggle to feed and clothe their children, care for the elderly and infirm, and pay for life’s basic necessities.
As we each prepare our Thanksgiving meals and celebrate this great bounty in the company of friends and family, please remember—in thought, word and deed—those for whom this day offers fewer blessings and far greater uncertainty. Those who have lost jobs, whose businesses are struggling, whose health is in jeopardy or who care for one who is ill. Those who are alone, who live in fear, who wrestle with addiction, who are without hope in a season whose persistent message is one of great hope. Those who labor and are weary. Those whose children are hungry or cold. Those who have no home, and no family to offer them shelter and kindness.
We live in a time of great promise, in a country that enjoys enormous wealth, and yet, there are many who have neither. We live in a community that has always given generously to those in need, but we can never take the generosity of others for granted. It is for each of us to give according to our ability.
With these things in mind, we asked representatives of local nonprofit charities to describe each organization’s mission and to tell us how we can contribute. In story below, you will read about the day care center that nurtures our youngest children; the hospice program that gives comfort to the dying, and to their families and loved ones; the food bank that delivers groceries to those who have fallen on hard times; the ministerial alliance that aids families and individuals in crisis; and the group of mothers whose efforts are focused on making sure children receive needed dental and medical care—even if their parents are not able to afford it.
Your gifts, however small or large, offer comfort and sustenance. They send a much-needed message to all who suffer, that they are neither forgotten nor lost, and that this is a community that cares, even for the least of these. And in giving, we are reminded of all that we have—the blessings that are ours—for which we give thanks, today and every day.
RACHEL’S LITTLE HOUSE DAY CARE CENTER
If you walk into Rachel’s Little House on any given day, your heart will be warmed and put at ease. You will see babies giggling in a stroller; toddlers delightfully shouting and playing outside; preschoolers singing songs and learning letters, and after school kids learning how to include younger children on the playground. You will smell the beginnings of breakfast or lunch; you will see staff planning lessons, folding laundry, or cleaning floors; you will see a director in her office, aware of any daily incidents or hiccups, diligently striving to carry out a decades-long legacy of impeccable and tender-hearted childcare.
It is this legacy that first interested us in enrolling our children in Rachel’s Little House. When we moved to Canadian in 2013 with a small infant and no family for 300 miles, my family found a home at Rachel’s Little House.
The infant staff has helped us navigate the challenges of ear infections, sleep regressions, and solid foods. The same help and support has carried on; the ladies at the Little House are an extension of our family. The staff has witnessed my children’s first crawls and tentative steps; and shared the experience in such a way that it felt like I was present in the very moment.
I’ll never forget the day Barrett sang the ABCs at supper after learning them earlier in the day from his 2-year-old class teacher. I will always cherish the 1-year-old class teacher writing down Henry’s first words the day he finally decided to start chattering, giving me a priceless memento for his baby book.
Non-profit daycare facilities (501c3) are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Over 50 daycare centers in the Texas Panhandle have closed their doors in 2016, but Rachel’s Little House continues to endure, even in these anxious economic times. Because of the caring citizens and churches of Canadian, the Little House is still providing a safe haven for children, with hot meals and early childhood education, just the way Rachel Snyder envisioned so many years ago. Without the financial support of the community, Rachel’s Little House would cease to exist, not only leaving families without affordable, state-licensed and certified childcare, but also without a wonderful extended family with whom to trust their littlest ones. Because we are a community of hard-working families, the Little House is absolutely necessary to the continued thriving of Canadian.
Please consider a financial gift this holiday season toward the operating budget of Rachel’s Little House. Your gift will help continue a legacy of excellent childcare, hot meals for hungry children, early childhood education, and the tender care each child deserves. It is a legacy we can all continue to be proud of as it lives on into the future.
Donations may be made payable to Rachel’s Little House and can be brought by or mailed to PO Box 961, Canadian, TX 79014. Unless specifically designated (food, classroom supplies, salaries), all contributions will go toward the 2017 operating budget.
SNACK PAK 4 KIDS
Snack Pak 4 Kids is on a mission to end weekend hunger for children living in the Texas Panhandle by providing a backpack filled with kid-friendly snacks each Friday of the school year.
• 7,000 children receive a Snack Pak every weekend.
• 67% of teachers saw improvement in academic performance.
• 94% of teachers feel Snack Pak is a beneficial program.
• 27.1% of the children in Texas are food insecure.
Snack Pak 4 Kids uses 100% of all donated monies from Canadian to buy food for Canadian children. Is there a need in Canadian you might ask? We distribute to all four campuses a total of 59 sacks each week, which is 236 monthly, to our very own kids here in town, so yes, there is a need.
At the end of each school year, a survey is sent home to the kids receiving Snack Pak. The following note was written by a third grader at Baker. The question was asked, “How does getting your Snack Pak make you feel?” and the child responded, “Happy because we have little bit of food at our house.” Let’s all work together to make this a thing of the past.
You can volunteer by helping pack sacks or by making a monetary donation to Snack Pak 4 Kids. A packing date can be reserved for church or school youth groups, civic clubs or a local business.
Monetary donations may be mailed to Snack Pak 4 Kids, 701 Park Place Ave., Amarillo, TX 79101. Please indicate on your check you would like to support Canadian ISD. Any donation amount is needed but the cost of feeding an elementary student is $150/yr. or $12.50/mo. for the entire school year. To learn more about Snack Pak 4 Kids, please contact Olivia Sims at 806.323.3404.
CANADIAN COMMUNITY CENTER
The Canadian Community Center offers a variety of programs for our community, but one we pride ourselves on is the children who attend after-school. Many children attend our facility while parents are at work. We provide a safe place to do homework or play with friends.
We are in the process of raising funds for a one-to-one matching grant awarded by The Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation for the renovation of the lobby and office area. The renovation is intended to provide a space for the children to study or play. At this time the children are located in our lobby area, where tables and chairs are provided, as well as Wi-Fi.
Our goal is to raise enough funds to start the renovation project in the summer of 2017.
If you would like to help finance our after-school room renovation project please contact Trudy at Trudy@canadiancommunitycenter.com or call 806.323.5254. Donations may be made payable to Canadian Community Center and mailed to P.O. Box 1106, Canadian, TX 79014. Please write “Renovation” in the memo line.
CANADIAN MINISTERIAL ALLIANCE
One of the reasons the Canadian Ministerial Alliance exists is for local pastors to gather to pray, visit, and share the joys and concerns our congregations are facing. We meet once a month to specifically pray for one another and each church in Canadian, as we seek to faithfully respond to God’s will for our whole community.
Probably the more important reason CMA exists is to collaboratively care for“the least of these” in Canadian. We take seriously Christ’s call: “for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
We extend hospitality to those in need by providing help with utilities, and by providing vouchers for food or gas. CMA also offers hotel rooms for people who need a warm safe place to stay. Each Canadian household is able to receive help up to $250 for utilities and $150 for food or gas.
Because of the generous support we receive from our churches and members of the community, we were able to insure that a woman got home in time to receive her next dialysis treatment, we were able to help a woman stuck in an abusive relationship, and we helped numerous people not have to choose between buying groceries or paying their heat bill. This has been a trying year for many in Canadian, and CMA was still able to assist those most vulnerable. Friends, “for when we extend hospitality to strangers, we have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2.)
Please consider making a contribution to the Canadian Ministerial Alliance. You may do so by writing a check to any member church, noting CMA on the memo line.
HEMPHILL COUNTY HOSPICE
Hospice care is about living life to the fullest every day; doing the things you love—with those you love. Quality of life is our primary goal in hospice and for each patient quality of life looks different and can only be determined by the patient.
Hemphill County Hospice has helped a daughter fly home to see her mom one last time; another patient took a final trip to the mountains with family. Hospice volunteers accompanied one patient to the golf course multiple times to play golf as much as possible because golf was something he loved doing.
For many others, Hospice has helped them to spend as much time as possible pain-free with family and friends.
Hospice also works to achieve the impossible when possible. For one patient, with a dream to one day visit the ocean, Hospice helped make a dream come true. This patient believed if she could just touch the ocean one time that over time, as the currents moved around the globe, she would in a sense have touched every ocean and every shoreline around the world.
Now, this patient wasn’t able to go in person so efforts were made to bring the ocean to her. People from all around the world helped to make this dream a reality. Sand and water was gathered from around the globe and brought to her to touch. Afterward, they were returned to the Pacific Ocean, thus making a patient’s dream a reality.
Donations to Hemphill County Hospice can be made via check, cash or credit card at 1020 S. 4th Street Canadian, TX 79014. For more information, call Tina Godino at 806.323.1112.
HIGH PLAINS FOOD BANK
The Hemphill County Texas A & M Agrilife Extension Service’s Better Living for Texas (BLT) program, in partnership with the High Plains Food Bank (HPFB), conducts a monthly food box distribution to food-insecure families in Hemphill County.
Families who are in need of help with food assistance can complete an application provided by the HPFB and distributed at the Extension office. Upon approval by the HPFB , families can begin to pick up boxes once a month at the Extension office.
Approximately 500 people in Hemphill County are considered food insecure according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services data base. Through HPFB and the Extension Service, 110 people/23 families are being served in Hemphill County. This would be about 1/5 of the identified population of food-insecure residents.
The food that is packed in the boxes at the HPFB facility has been donated from the Texas Panhandle area, as well as purchased through cash gifts given to the food bank. The HPFB is able to purchase food for about .16/lb. This is a very economical purchase price for anyone who makes a cash gift to the HPFB. The HPFB is able to stretch their cash gifts to serve more people than what the average consumer can purchase goods and donate.
Along with the distribution of boxes, Hemphill County Agrilife Extension Agent Tanya Holloway offers classes on nutrition, food safety, and resource management. Currently a class is being taught entitled; “A Fresh Start To a Healthier You,” a four-part series on nutrition and health. The first class was offered on Tuesday, November 15th. The goal of the course is to provide practical experience, and information to help change lives and improve health.
There are several ways to contribute to the Food Bank. Those wishing to help may send a cash donation to High Plains Food Bank, 815 Ross St., Amarillo, TX 79102. They can also drop off food at the Hemphill County Agrilife Extension office or contribute to the food drives done periodically at the school or by the 4-H Club. For more information, call 806.323.9114.
CANADIAN LIONS CLUB
The Canadian Lions Club was founded over 68 years ago, on Aug. 13, 1948. The main focus of the club is eyesight. Lions Clubs International is very active in helping and serving the blind. The local chapter’s No. 1 goal is to serve the children in our area by providi ng eye exams and glasses to those who need financial assistance.
We work with CISD school nurse, Molly Kerrigan, to identify children in need. Our local optometrist, Lion Dr. Bob Lusk, also, many times, donates his own time and talents to those in need. Although our focus is children, we have also helped many adults with eye care needs.
The official Lions motto is “we serve.” Of course, we respect the privacy of those we serve, so our actions are not usually made public. However, Nurse Molly stated in a recent letter “Thank you all so much for this program. It really makes a difference to the students that need to see better in order to succeed. Canadian ISD appreciates you all so much! Thank you!”
Although our club is fairly small, we are constantly working to raise funds for eye care. We also support other local charities in our area, such as Share the Love, the Canadian Athletic Booster Club, Canadian Education Foundation, The Hemphill County Jr. Livestock Stock Show, purchasing gifts for children at Christmas, and families with medical needs.
Our dues, as well as funds raised, support programs of our Lions Club district, as well as international programs, such as the Texas Lions Camp (for children with disabilities), World Services for the Blind, Leader Dog School, and the Eyeglass Recycling Center. Wherever there is a need, we try to serve.
In addition, we select a high school senior girl to be our Club Sweetheart each year and she is awarded a scholarship upon her graduation from Canadian High School.
We have purchased eyeglass recycling boxes so that local people may donate their old lenses and frames to be recycled. Donations of prescription glasses may be made at Canadian Eyecare Clinic, Happy State Bank, Lowe’s, Canadian Banking Center, Canadian Record and Upland Resources. Lion Joe Wagoner picks up the glasses to be sent to our recycling center in Midland.
Financial contributions may be made to Canadian Lions Club, and mailed to Box 91, Canadian, Texas. Our current officers are President Joe Dial, 1st VP Ed Hedgecoke, 2nd VP Bobby Gregg, 3rd VP Ben Riverman, and Secretary/Treasurer Sherry Timmons.
LONE STAR ANGEL PROJECT
The Lone Star Angel Project began September 27, 2004. It was formerly known as Sharing Is Caring.
“The mission of the Lone Star Angel Project is to provide the youth of Hemphill County with the basic necessities, emotional support, opportunities and the adult involvement they need to develop into positive leaders and productive citizens. Lone Star Angel Project aims to level the playing field, encouraging all of our children to grow up dreaming big and achieving their dreams.”
Most important among the basic necessities that Lone Star tries to provide to children in need are medical and dental aid. Support for educational endeavors and needs is another primary function of Lone Star.
Lone Star is a 501 3C organization, a tax-exempt, not-for-profit entity. Lone Star receives no governmental money—local, state or federal. The organization is funded entirely by donations from individuals, organizations, and businesses in the community. Donations may be made in the form of honorariums and memorials as well as regular donations.
Donations may be mailed to PO Box 303; Canadian, TX 79014. To discuss the organization or for more information, contact any of the Lone Star board members. They are: Dawn Abraham, Ana Hernandez, Teresa Johnston, Dana Kauk, Molly Kerrigan, Rosemary Koetting, Mary Jo Leonard, Becky Reid and Valerie Verbi.
MEALS ON WHEELS
Meals on Wheels reaches out to the community in tryng to enable people to stay in their own homes as long as possible, rather than having to go into a facility so that they will eat right and stay healthy. It also gives comfort to the families of those who receive the meals, knowing that someone will be checking on their loved one at least once a day–when they know they can’t because of living too far away.
The meals are a chance for the recipients to get to see someone, and to have someone to talk to, if only for a little bit. For some, that meal is the highlight of their day.
Meals can also be sent to those whoa re recovering from surgery or an illness, who are unable to prepare their own food. They are also available to those who live alone and just won’t cook for themselves. Lots of people who live alone just seem to forget about eating, strange as that may seem to some of us.
An additional blessing of the meals is that those who deliver develop a friendship and a bond with the ones to whom they deliver. I think each driver feels taht they receive much more from delivering the meals than those who receive them. It truly is a blessing for everyone!
We are blessed to live in a loving community like Canadian, where people are always ready to reach out and help others if they know there is a problem or a need. As it has been said many times in the past few weeks, Canadian truly is a unique community—in many, many ways—all of which depend solely upon the people.
Contributions which help underwrite the costs of delivering Meals on Wheels for those in need may be sent by mail to Meals on Wheels, c/o Sandy Waterfield, PO Box 447, Canadian, TX 79014. For more information, contact Sandy at 806.323.6856.
CANADIAN RIVER ART CENTER
Canadian River Art Center is well known for its beautiful gallery space which features a variety of art including, paintings, pottery, photography and custom artistic home furnishings. But the most amazing and unique feature that CRAC houses is the priceless laughter, joy and beaming smiles that comes from the tiny studio located in the back of the gallery.
The after-school art program is where it all began, and where it continues to thrive today. Art is process—not a product—and our mission is to build self-esteem by creating an environment that allows each individual their own creativity license while teaching the fundamentals of art. Our long-term vision is to provide opportunities for partnerships with other organizations to reach each and every child in the surrounding area. The benefits of art to the developing mind cannot be overstated.
To date we have two ongoing outreach programs that are a vital part of our mission.
Our Mesa View Outreach Program makes scheduled monthly visits to the Mesa View campus to encourage art within the assisted living community. The residents enjoy a variety of projects from watercolor and acrylic painting to hand building clay projects. We feel expressive art activities promote active engagement in life, and provide opportunities for self-expression and social interaction, as well as other benefits.
Our sixth-grade Outreach Program sends an instructor and supplies to the Canadian Middle School twice monthly to teach approximately 95 sixth-grade students. This seems daunting, but is well worth the reward, as stated below by Dana Evans, who teaches social studies and reading at CMS:
“My students said that art class makes them feel happy, artistic, and smart; one student even stated, ‘I’ve never been that creative before.’ These are words every teacher wants to hear her students say.”
Because of positive feedback like this, expanding our outreach programs has become front and center for the upcoming year. Thank you to all who help make this possible.
Donations can be made online at www.canadianriverart.com or mailed to P.O. Box 1111, Canadian, Texas 79014.