Residents share blessings through annual Shine Your Light community giving campaign

Published on Wednesday, 27 December 2017 17:26 - Written by Cory McCoy, comccoy @

For many, the holiday season is about sharing their blessings. For   BJ Hornbostel , of Tyler, that meant sharing her blessings with all 10 of the nonprofits benefiting from the annual Shine Your Light community giving campaign.

“When I saw (this year’s list) and looked at what wonderful nonprofits were included I thought, 'Gee, there’s 10 of them. How do you leave any one of them out?'” she said.

Mrs. Hornbostel considered her options and decided she appreciated the work each of the nonprofits does for their community and chose to donate to each one through the Shine Your Light campaign, which runs through Dec. 31.  

“It turned out that I ended up giving more than I usually do because of the need involved and the quality of the nonprofits included,” she said.

This year, the money raised will go to: Bethesda Health Clinic, East Texas Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Hiway 80 Rescue Mission, Meals On Wheels Ministry, The Mentoring Alliance, People Attempting To Help (PATH), St. Paul Children’s Foundation, The Salvation Army and Samaritan Counseling Center.

The community drive has raised more than $1.4 million for 20 nonprofit organizations since it started a decade ago.

Hornbostel felt she had been blessed with a good career at United Heritage Credit Union, which she recently retired from, and wanted to spread that blessing - even if it meant spending more than she had planned to.

Within a day, Hornbostel said that blessing was returned to her. Even though she was only working part time at the credit union, they surprised her with a gift for her 25 years of service.

“It was a reminder that what goes around comes around and to remember those who have less than you,” she said. “I had tears in my eyes because that was so touching for me. I’ve learned that when I’ve been so plentifully blessed, I want to give those in need.”

Beth Filla , a donor relations specialist with the East Texas Communities Foundation, which manages the Shine Your Light campaign, said that her family made giving to the campaign a tradition, even before going to work for the organization.

“(One of) the main reasons for my family’s participation is that our small donations are combined with many others and have a much greater impact,” she said. “And, it’s an easy way to support multiple organizations with just one gift.”

Twitter: @ TMT _Cory