The '$5 man' a regular contributor to Shine Your Light Community Campaign


Every year Kelly Barnes waits for the gift. It’s the one from Gregory Buckner, or the $5 man as she calls him. Since 2009, he has consistently donated to the Shine Your Light Community Campaign.

The thing that sets Buckner’s contributions apart are they typically come in the form of $5 or $10 cash donations each time.

As assistant to the president at the East Texas Communities Foundation, Ms. Barnes processes the Shine Your Light donations and recognizes the value in all gifts no matter the size.

“One person’s $5 might not seem to make a difference, but by the time you take many people’s $5 and add them together it does have an impact,” Ms. Barnes said.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph is in the midst of its ninth annual Shine Your Light Community Campaign, which runs through Dec. 31.

This year’s campaign supports 10 local nonprofit agencies and provides the opportunity for community members of any means to contribute as they wish. There is no minimum donation amount.

“The power of Shine Your Light is that donors give gifts of all sizes and together their contributions can help our neighbors, who are in need,” said Kyle Penney, president/CEO of the East Texas Communities Foundation, which administers the campaign.

Since its 2008 inception, the fundraising effort has raised more than $1.3 million for 20 local, nonprofit organizations.

Buckner, who works at Tyler Pipe and volunteers with nonprofit organizations, said he donates because he wants to help the community, and all the money stays local.

“It impacts our own community, here, not just the world, but it impacts your own backyard,” Buckner said. “Some don’t have what you have, so, you’re blessed with what you have to give back.”

It’s donors like Buckner who help make the Shine Your Light Community Campaign a success year after year.

“A donor who can only contribute enough to buy a can of tuna is no less important to the cause of feeding the hungry than a donor who contributes enough to buy a truckload of chicken,” Penney said. “Each donor contributes as they have the ability to do so, and God blesses, and often multiplies, the results.” 






Profile stories about this year’s Shine Your Light recipients ran in the Tyler Morning Telegraph through Dec. 24 and are online.


Thursday, Dec. 15: People Attempting To Help (PATH)

Friday, Dec. 16: Meals on Wheels Ministry

Saturday, Dec. 17: Samaritan Counseling Center of Tyler

Sunday, Dec. 18: The Mentoring Alliance’s Boys & Girls Clubs of East Texas

Monday, Dec. 19: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)

Tuesday, Dec. 20: East Texas Food Bank

Wednesday, Dec. 21: The Salvation Army

Thursday, Dec. 22: Bethesda Health Clinic

Friday, Dec. 23: Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County

Saturday, Dec. 24: Children’s Advocacy Center of Smith County



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