By Burlon Wilkerson
Several Diboll Civic Club projects received a boost after a monetary award from the T.L.L. Temple Foundation Keeler Grant Program. Operation Clean Sweep, Christmas Blessings and bingo activi-ties will all benefit from the $12,000 grant.
The club will use $5,000 of the grant to finance Operation Clean Sweep. This award-winning pro-gram is an annual event that targets 15 to 20 properties owned by elderly or disabled people for clean-up and/or exterior repair and maintenance.
“OCS brings together community members, the city, the school, businesses, churches, and organi-zations,” said Civic Club treasurer and Clean Sweep coordinator Fran McClain. “We usually have around 250 volunteers who work on the planning and labor for the one-day project.”
Keep Texas Beautiful has recognized the club for Clean Sweep the last three years, culminating with first place statewide in the Organization Projects category this year. The group had received honorable mention and runner-up the previous two years.
The Civic Club exists to advance projects that are in the best interests of Diboll and seeks to facili-tate communication and cooperation between organizations and individuals who care about the community. Since the group depends primarily on donations and does very little fund-raising to finance its projects, the Keeler Grant will ensure that Clean Sweep will continue another year.
Another $5,000 will be allocated for Christmas Blessings. This project provides new toys and new clothes for 250 to 300 children at Christmas. Needy children from birth through high school are included.
“This program has been in operation for several years,” said Bessie Furgurson, one of the coordi-nators. “Usually, we have a few items left over to start the next year, but last Christmas, we gave away everything. It’s nice to have the Temple Foundation step in to help us restock for this year.”
Christmas Blessings was initiated by a local church, but the Civic Club has assumed sponsorship in order to make the project truly non-denominational. Donations from individuals, organizations, or churches are welcome at any time through the year, not just at Christmas. Donors can reach Furgurson at 936-829-4217 or contact a member of the Civic Club.
Regular bingo players will be happy to know that $2,000 has been set aside to purchase new bingo cards. The current cards have been in use for a number of years, and many are broken or extreme-ly worn.
“These cards are used quite often, especially near Diboll Day,” McClain said. “We’re now in the process of looking at samples to see what is available. We hope to be able to get 1,500 to 2,000 high-quality cards with no duplicate number combinations.”
Diboll Civic Club president is Steve Jackson. The group meets at 6 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month at the Temple House. Anyone who cares about Diboll is encouraged to attend, and there are no dues or costs to participate.