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20171221 Tims Coats El Valle del Sol MILLER IMG 6698 webI will have to admit that I rarely watch the news on our local television channels. If I listen at all it is generally to world news on British Broadcasting Company. I much prefer to read the news and re-read it to get a better understanding of what is really happening in our world. For local news, my source of information is generally our local newspapers.

One of the things happening locally right now is the drive for contributions to Tim’s Coats. This is a very worthy cause. There are many needy families who could use some help in providing warm clothing for their children. Since our winters seem to be getting colder, the need for warm clothing is even more critical than it used to be.

At one time – quite a few years ago – I taught in the Harlingen Public Schools. On the coldest of days, fewer children attended classes. I wondered why – my curious mind sought the answer. We do live in an area where there are families without enough money to provide warm clothing for their family. The answer was to keep children out of schools and in bed under the covers so that they could stay warm.

Even though many years have passed, this situation still exists … hopefully not to such a great extent but poverty is still around. Even though we should encourage those of us who are able to share and to give freely to those in need, the request for money to solve the need is somewhat disturbing. Let me give you a little history as to how what we now know as Tim’s Coats started.

So here goes … There was a gentleman in the Upper Valley who realized there was a need. This gentleman – Bill Stocker – owned and operated Palace Cleaners, a business that was opened in 1929. Mr. Stocker’s family bought the business in 1951. Just this past year the business was closed. Bill Stocker was a man dedicated to his community. When he saw a need he found a solution.

Why not recycle used coats and make them available to those children in need. That was the beginning of what we now know as Tim’s Coats. Winter Texans played a big part in contributing outgrown winter coats to Mr. Stocker’s campaign. Palace Cleaners cleaned the coats and schools, and other agencies identified the families in need. In order to get the word out to more people in need, Mr. Stocker asked the local television station for help and Tim’s Coats evolved.

Writing a check and making a donation to help is admirable (which is what they now ask that you do), but how much of yourself is physically participating in the giving. Are your children or your grandkids aware of how much you care? Are they learning through your example to recycle and to be a real and vital part of giving? Or shall we continue to hold ourselves aloof and apart from the need? Surely there must be another cleaning settlement that could step in and take Bill’s place. Surely there are still used but good coats that can be recycled. No doubt it is easier to write the check.

Recycling is vital in our world. Unfortunately, our country is known worldwide as a throw away country. Surely the organizations and churches that offer help to the needy would be glad to accept an outgrown winter coat. If money is your problem, dry cleaning or washing a usable piece of clothing will probably be less than the check you may have thought about writing.

Let’s continue to care. What we are ready to throw away may be a real blessing to a needy family. Besides when I travel out of the United States, I don’t like to be looked at disdainfully as a wasteful American.

Thanks for caring.