Growing up, Christmas was always a time of excitement and wonder as everyone anticipated what was under the tree and suspected the surprise of others when they opened their gift from you. The lights, the brisk weather and the sounds of Christmas brought to the community and people could always be counted on from the perspective of most people. Especially celebrating the birth of our Savior and understanding the real reason for Christmas.
However, as I grew up, I quickly realized Christmas was not the way I described above for everyone. Many were without the joy I experienced and Christmas presents were not as plentiful or even present at all. Little did I know and fully embrace this fact until I began to work with children and families. Here I learned that some children and even adults experienced Christmas for the first time much older than myself.
At STCH Ministries, Christmas is made possible year after year by so many including individual sponsors, churches and businesses to ensure the experience of joy and celebration. For many years, countless people, church groups and others volunteered their time and sometimes limited resources to provide gifts, parties and activities so the children and families on our Boothe Campus, Marshall Campus and Bluebonnet Campus would have the full experience of what Christmas has to offer.
It’s mind-boggling at times to fully understand the love and deep devotion that people possess to provide for the needs of our children and families. While there are many, one family comes to mind as being fully devoted to caring for children and families and it reaches back four generations. Four brothers, Ben, Dale, Dean and Mack Davis had the privilege of meeting Dr. Jess Lunsford while he pastored First Baptist Church, Beeville as they owned a construction company and were working on the church’s steeple. Only years later, when Lunsford became the leader of South Texas Children’s Home (STCH), he called upon the Davis brothers to build the first cottages, a pool and the first chapel on the Boothe Campus.
During this time, Ben Davis’s daughter, Bennye Jane, learned about STCH and developed a life-long passion to support its work along with her brothers Dwight and Duane. The two brothers remember working with their dad on the campus as the cottages were being built. The Boothe Campus was etched in their lives as an organization of hope and restoration as children called the campus their home for many years.
Even many years later, their love for STCH Ministries goes beyond most things as Bennye Jane Arnold, along with her husband Jim, instilled their love for children to their three sons Bradley, Randall and Jonathan. The Arnold family has continued to support STCH Ministries through sponsoring the annual Golf Classic each year, providing a box suite at a Corpus Christi Hooks baseball game and has financially supported various efforts for the benefit of Boothe Campus.
Ms. Arnold continually says “The children’s home has a special place in my heart and I will always help the children as long as I am able.” For the last four years, the complete Arnold family decided to not purchase gifts for each other at Christmas time but to sponsor children on the Boothe Campus, this idea came from Ms. Arnold herself. The Arnolds understand that it is more of a blessing to give than to receive. Bradley Arnold said, “We want to provide gifts for those in need as we don’t need anything.” The family pulled their resources together and sponsored thirteen children this year.
The Arnold family hopes to be involved for years to come and possibly generations to come as Ms. Arnold’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are involved in the spirit of giving at Christmas. Thank you to the Davis family and now the Arnold family for making a huge impact on the lives of children and families in many ways.
In addition to the Arnold family, Christmas is made possible by many others as well. In 2021, a special thanks to the following for showering the campuses with parties, gifts and love during a time when children need normalcy, truth and love.