Sunday, November 13, 2011

Walking it out and dining out help “do good” for community

As a reporter I covered countless walks, but joining the Alzheimer’s support walk this past weekend on Crockett Street was different. There was music, boudain and a sea of purple T-shirts on a sunny day. Through Facebook donations, my husband raised $200 for the cause with minimal effort in one day. It wasn’t until I signed a paper to be pinned on my back that I got emotional. “I’m walking for,” the top read. I filled in Burton Doiron, and noted my dad died a year ago, Thanksgiving week. My husband walked to honor his father, who is still with us.

A hectic taste of poverty
My brush with hard luck ended with a taste of warming stew on a cold night and some of the best cornbread I ever had. It was the same meal the homeless experienced at Some Other Place in Beaumont earlier in the day. For this reward, I had to play a teacher with too many hungry, impoverished students in my class.
Leadership Beaumont, Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce project, staged a poverty simulation. My husband helped put on the evening and got the role of pawn broker. Participants were assigned roles from teen mother to drug dealer and drew cards that had them in government waiting rooms, late for low-paying part-time jobs and without transportation. Sometimes families would get “home” to find overturned chairs, meaning they were evicted. They’d head to the faith-based shelter area, where my teacher character volunteered.
In one hour we all got an idea of tough times compounded by “wild cards” from flat tire expenses to having a child expelled from school. After our meal, we heard speakers who work with people in our community who need work, mental health care and food.

Toasting Taylor
Triangle Aids Network’s annual Paint the Town Red event at the Beaumont Country Club carried a Toast to Elizabeth Taylor theme and allowed guests in evening gowns to financially support a hard-working agency. The TAN office is not glamorous, but deals with sick people who need everything from a ride to the doctor to the emotional support that comes with living with AIDS. Not everyone can work daily with these patients and their families. Paint the Town Red is a chance for artists and business people to whip up beautiful things and packages auctioned off to raise funds for TAN to do their good works. I came home with something I’ve wanted since I saw them years ago, a purse made from an actual Beatles album. I also left with a sense of gratitude.

Winter Wonderland
Parents will get private shopping time and children will make memories when Texas Artists Museum hosts Winter Wonderland Workshop from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26.
“It is for kids 6 to 12 and costs $10,” Jayne Smith of TAN said. “We will have an art lesson included with a framed work as the result. Others activities include "patchwork" pictures, wooden spoon Christmas dolls, decorations, a dove of peace, and Christmas cards. John Manuel will teach the art class.”
“It will be an interesting way for children to learn a bit about art and to enjoy doing crafts as well as give parents free time to Christmas shop,” Smith said.
Call 983-4881 to get “patch” in

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