The season of giving and thanks is here, and this year, the thing I am most thankful for is representing a community that works so hard to serve others.
In October, hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the opening of the new Serve Denton Center that is home to a Children’s Advocacy Center satellite campus and Denton County Food Center. The elation of the day gave way to tears and smiles from most who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 10,000-square-foot facility.
The opening of this new facility comes at a time of year when Texans of all backgrounds find ways to give back to their communities. I looked forward to volunteering with Denton Packs Hope on Friday, Nov. 8, to provide thousands of meals to those in need.
Lori and I have spent more than 35 years working with various organizations, including our church, to find ways to give back to Denton County. The first thing the leaders of these community-resource organizations will tell you is that the season of giving may be busy, but the need for goods and services is year-round.
Fortunately, Denton County is well served by more than 2,000 nonprofit organizations providing meaningful services to our diverse population.
Another great source for services is our local universities, which provide numerous programs for students who are looking for help from orientation through graduation.
Texas Women’s University’s Campus Alliance for Resource Education (CARE) Office provides Thanksgiving meals to Frontier Students through its Foster Care Alumni program. The Frontiers Program encourages students who have been through the foster care system in an effort to improve graduation rates.
TWU also helps administer a holiday gift program to help student parents provide gifts for their children; food drives at the end of the semester help replenish an on-campus food pantry; and a variety of emergency room-and-board services for students in need.
Over at the University of North Texas, the Division of Student Affairs works year-round to help students through programs like its food pantry and Gowns for Grads. The Suit-Up program provides interview attire to help students make a good impression when on the job hunt. Nest Watchers at UNT provides babysitting opportunities for students looking to earn extra cash or student parents looking for child care during class hours.
And, of course, I cannot fail to mention the great work by United Way of Denton County, which works hard all year to help children and families succeed.
The call to public service never stops. Whether you want to help Keep Denton Beautiful or have a heart for community health, there is a service organization here that could use your time and talents. Answer that call today.