My mom, Judy Wilkerson, had a magnet on our refrigerator that said, “If nobody knows the trouble you’ve seen, you don’t live in a small town!” Now that saying can have several meanings. The obvious one is that our town is so small that everybody knows your business. But, the less obvious one is if you have trouble in a small town some people and organizations are here to help.
I attended two meetings in the past two months both with Atascosa Citizens in Action of which Leon Zabava, Pleasanton Express, is president. If you have never participated in this meeting, I urge you to do so. It is held the third Thursday of the month at 1:15 at the Pleasanton Civic Center. The purpose of this meeting is to help non-profits communicate their needs and report on the good works they have been doing in the community. It is also a place to go if your organization ever has the need for a grant. The experts are here to help you start that process and will help you with it through the end.
During my first meeting, I was so moved by the significant amount of local outreach to those in need. There seemed to be a program for just about every person. If you ever hear anyone say that nothing ever happens in a small town, tell them they aren’t looking. Hundreds of local people in need were helped by the actions of these organizations and volunteers.
Pastor Johnny Arrington, Methodist Church, opened in prayer and it was a perfect. “Lord I look around and I see folks that care. You obviously touched their hearts. We pray that you will be our guide and also that we will have the heart, the energy and the love for people to make a difference. Everybody makes a difference and it may seem like we are just one small voice but like that mustard seed we grow. Looks like we are already doing this.” The meeting was attended by 30 people.
There are too many stories to tell. I will touch on a few here and report on all of them in the Pleasanton Express.
Constable Rick Luna, Precinct 3, is working to get a resource officer for Charlotte ISD. Charlotte is the only school in the county without one. Bob Dieke with Community Council of South Central Texas (CCSCT) helps low-income families transition out of poverty to become self-sufficient. They have been providing relief for local qualified residents by paying for high utility bills. Merkle Salmon also of CCSCT heads up a feeding program for the elderly over in Jourdanton. CCSCT handed out 186 meals in June and July. Bob Byrd, “the Byrd man,” Navigators, discussed the updates on the Skate Park he has worked tirelessly with the city to bring to fruition. Brianna Saroz, CASA gave updates on their work with foster children and families and the significant needs there. She also announced their July 21 Fun Run at the Pleasanton River Park in which Pleasanton Express is a sponsor. Rhonda Williamson, Atascosa Family Crisis Center, reported that they saw 109 individuals in need during June.
Greg Leach, Director of Pleasanton Parks and Recreation, discussed the 12-week summer activity program that has provided free events for hundreds of children. Both he and Tony Aguirre also of the Pleasanton Parks and Recreation Department are working to form a group that makes volunteering locally easy and fun for the whole family. Lifechanging opportunities are happening that you and your family can be a part of today here in your backyard. Not only will your help, help others, but it will also help you grow. Atascosa Citizens in Action did just that for me. The minute I left the meeting, I got into action and helped collect fans for the Salvation Army’s box fan drive for the elderly. So far, the Pleasanton Express has received about 20 fans. Dozens more are still needed. Simply deliver a box fan to us at the Pleasanton Express. We will deliver them to the Salvation Army who will give them to an elderly person who eagerly awaits relief from the heat and high electricity bills.
NOEL WILKERSON HOLMES is the Publisher of the Pleasanton Express. You may E-mail her at email@example.com.