Longview nonprofit groups solicit holiday volunteers
Dec. 7, 2015 at 12:08 a.m.
Volunteering is a family affair for Laurie Bogle.
"I started out just helping at the front desk, and then I became a member of the board (at Newgate Mission)," Bogle said. "My daughter (Kristi Bogle-Sherman) came on the board after I got off the board, and now she's the executive director of the mission."
Bogle's husband, son and other family members also volunteer at Newgate.
"It is very cliché to say ... but you are getting more back than you give. You can never out-give," Bogle said.
The holiday season is ripe with volunteering opportunities at Newgate and other Longview nonprofit groups.
"For Newgate, almost everything we do is volunteer-led and driven, and we have a ton of volunteers," Bogle-Sherman said. "In terms of the holidays ... people start asking, 'What can we do, what can we do?' So, we already have great volunteers, but during the holidays it is even better."
Every morning, Newgate has a help desk that is manned by a volunteer, and every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, a van driven by a volunteer is dispatched to help with community transportation needs.
Members of churches and businesses and families come in and serve lunches on the weekdays and breakfast and lunch on the weekends.
More volunteer jobs are available, including helping at Newgate's new Christmas store in Longview, at 100 W. Tyler St.
"But warning: If you help once, you're going to want to come back," Bogle said with a laugh.
Hiway 80 Rescue Mission
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Executive Director Eric Burger estimates Hiway 80 will receive help from almost 1,200 volunteers.
"There's a lot more things that people can do that are one-time events, versus the rest of the year where you have things that require a more regular commitment basis," he said.
There are about nine holiday events that Hiway 80 needs volunteers for, with one of them being a huge family Christmas party, Burger said.
"For that event, we will need people who will sort the gifts, people who will also help with toy drives, and then there are also volunteers at the event who serve food," Burger said. "We need unwrapped, new toys for all ages, but (gifts for that) 10-to-14 (age range) is always our toughest group. It's the area that we do run short with quite some regularity."
The Salvation Army's annual kettle campaign is the biggest holiday fundraiser for the nonprofit group.
"In November (and) December, we do the majority of our fundraising, so we have to have a successful Thanksgiving and December campaign to be able to fund our programs for assistance," said Ernest Lozano, commanding officer major at the Salvation Army in Longview. "That's why you'll see us out there every day, even in the rain."
The kettle campaign raises funds for the Christmas program and helps the other programs the Salvation Army operates throughout the year, some of which include feeding and sheltering homeless residents.
For the holiday season, the Salvation Army is accepting donations for Christmas gifts, including clothes so children can start school in the spring with new wardrobes, Lozano said. But the group's focus is not just on presents.
"Once all the presents have been unwrapped and the family meals have been had, there are still many people who are homeless," Lozano said. "There are people who are hurting, who are suffering many, many economical challenges, and Salvation Army is here to try and help them with the available resources and the support of the community."
Lozano recalls when he moved to the Longview location of Salvation Army that there was a small number of volunteers.
"Little by little, we are seeing a marked increase from about five groups to about 20," Lozano said.
Buckner Children and Family Services
An organization that helps with foster care and adoption, among other things, Buckner has a program in which volunteers can adopt a family to provide its members with Christmas gifts.
Volunteers Deniece Morgan and her husband are taking part in that effort.
"Normally, they wouldn't be able to provide Christmas for their family, and we're going to have a big Christmas party with those clients," Morgan said.
Along with her husband, two friends and other volunteers, Morgan will help cook supper for all 400 people — part of 150 families — who will be attending the Christmas party.
Aside from the seasonal needs, Buckner has a need for volunteers in other areas as well.
"We have an extreme need for volunteers for our English as a second language programs," said Ashley Green, community programs coordinator. "We have classes that meet four days a week, and it's a difficult opportunity to fill because people are intimidated by the language barrier, but speaking Spanish is not a requirement."