You know your life has taken an unexpected turn when you find yourself going around town asking for toilet paper.

This isn’t the start of a joke.

A lot of older folks I’ve never met, or maybe just said howdy to once or twice, need help, especially after the damage inflicted by a brutally cold week.

So rather than your standard column right here, you’re reading what amounts to a plea.

How about gathering up some canned goods, tissue and an assortment of tasty snacks?

I’m pretty sure they’d like peach and strawberry jelly, fruit and pudding cups and instant oatmeal – maybe some soups or denture cream.

Honestly, anything you think an elderly person might like that won’t spoil sitting out.

Social security doesn’t give them much in the way of grocery store money. My bet is that you, and I, would gasp and truly struggle to create a month’s worth of meals out of what they can spend.

You’d definitely see a much slimmer and trimmed Crabtree limping around the City of El Campo (and I grew up with a mom that was a master at stretching a meal).

I really don’t picture myself as a crusader and you’re not going to see pictures of me running around in a cape.

But, dern it, you shouldn’t have to go to bed hungry just because you had to pay for medicines this week or simply because your old. That’s just flat wrong.

It’s why we at the Leader-News decided about a week ago to put together a food drive for our seniors who, near as I can tell, can use a whole lot of help.

We need:

• Non-refrigerated juices.

• Toilet paper.

• Small paper plates.

• Paper napkins.

• Those little packages of a knife, fork, spoon and napkin that you get with take-out meals.

• Fruit cups.

• Cereal for seniors (think healthy - not super sugar nuggets or other kiddie thing).

• Paper towels.

• Socks.

• Puzzle books, novels, and the like

• Pet food.

• And anything else non-perishable that you think a senior might enjoy. Probably ought to make those in the smaller containers – lots of elderly folks are going to have trouble with a 20-pound bag of pinto beans, 10 pounds of flour or a monster-sized cereal box.

You can drop it off at the Leader-News, 203 E. Jackson, during regular business hours. We’re not a non-profit so I’m not sure you want to hand us cash, but you can make a donation to the El Campo Rotary Club and they will see that it gets to our seniors.

We’re all working together on this you see – the El Campo Leader-News, El Campo Rotary Club, Radio Station KULP, Wharton County Junior College’s senior program, some 4-Hers, the P.R.E.T.T.Y. (Precious Exquisite Talented Trained Young) Girls, M.A.C.H.O. (Making A Change Helping Others) Guys at Pilgrim Rest, Rotary Interact, several other folk and anyone else who wants to join in.

Although so many people take such joy in telling me I’m well on my way to being an old gal, I assure you the only thing I get out of this is another project for my “free time.”

This isn’t going to change the world.

But there’s a good chance that your efforts might produce a smile when an old gal or guy in our community gets just a little bit of help.

And that, my friends, is a rich payment indeed.




– Shannon Crabtree is editor & publisher of the El Campo Leader-News.

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