by Karolyn Gephart
People helping people is the theme for the Lighthouse Charity Team and at the historical peak of hurricane season, the volunteers are ready to act and do just that if a hurricane should attack the coastal Galveston County area or nearby coasts.
The non-profit group of volunteers has worked with communities and individuals to provide nourishing meals during disaster response and emergency assistance to natural and man-made disasters. The group was doing just that after Hurricanes Allison, Rita, Katrina and Ike.
They aren’t limited to just bad weather situations but are there to help after catastrophic events such as the fires in Bastrop, criminal disappearances where volunteers are used, communities with groups in needs and non-profit groups. In addition to helping other non-profits, they help the less fortunate, medical patients, accident victims and many others.
Some organizations that they have helped include: The Village, children’s and youth athletic programs, faith-based organizations, Boy and Girl Scouts, Yaga’s Children’s Fund, United Way, Libbie’s Place, Rotary, Chamber of Commerce — Lemonade Day, Kiwanis and Lions, to name a few.
Recently, the Lighthouse team members were called on to provide a one day lunch during the search for Galveston teen Jessica Cain who disappeared in 1997. A large search was taking place in southeast Houston where remains were discovered after two decades since her disappearance.
“What started out as supplying a one day lunch turned into 47 days,” Lighthouse Vice President Scott Gordon said. “We never know where or what we will do next so we stay supplied, in contact with our vendors and suppliers, keeping equipment clean and ready to help us take on the challenges.”
Gordon reported that from August 2015 through August 2016, the group participated in 78 events and served more than 48,000 meals.
The Lighthouse Charity Team began in 1984 to join people together and help others. Over the years they have expanded to two locations, Friendswood and Galveston, and continue providing equipment, volunteer labor, meals and fundraising for charitable organizations and those in need.
Gordon has been with the group for 27 years and has watched it grow to more than 100 active volunteers, many who have served loyally for 20 to 25 years.
The group had an amazing showing of 80-100 volunteers taking part in the Fourth of July parade in Friendswood. The large amounts of specialty equipment and vehicles were all part of the procession. Founder of the group and president, Dick Daugird, was this year’s Parade Marshall.
Daugird and his wife Horacene, secretary/treasurer of the group, remain involved in the organization. The Daugirds have underwritten the cost of building many of the trailers now operated by Texas Lighthouse Foundation dba Lighthouse Charity Team, a 501(C)3.
“Without the effort from our dedicated board members, committees and volunteers, we would not be able to accomplish all that we do for people. It is by their hard work and dedication to their communities that the Lighthouse Charity Team can function,” Gordon said. “Unlike most charities, our officers, board members and volunteers have never received compensation for their efforts.”
The Galveston site is larger and has more storage area than the Friendswood location. On the island, the Lighthouse building is over 23,000 sq. feet and has a commercial kitchen. It is serving the areas in the southern part of the county with the Friendswood location and volunteers serving the northern part of the county. Events in the Pearland as well as LaPorte area have also been helped.
The Lighthouse group is a contracted provider for Galveston County which allows them early starts to aid after disasters since they are able to get through road blocks.
Gordon works daily connecting with vendors and suppliers, keeping a great relationship going so that when an emergency call for help is given, the Lighthouse Charity Team is able to help in a timely and complete way.
Lighthouse Charity Team relies on private individual and business donation and private endowment and foundation grants, to meet their mission of People Helping People. There is an application process to evaluate each individual case they take on, but volunteers are always welcome.
To learn more about how to help, visit their website at www.LighthouseCharityTeam.com, call in Friendswood at 281-482-9400 or Galveston at 409-740-1212 to visit their Operation Centers.
“It’s People Helping People. It’s our mission,” Gordon said. “It’s what we do.”