Admittedly, standing in line with a full shopping cart at Target or Minyard or Tom Thumb doesn’t seem like a dramatic, life-changing experience.

But it can be.

Because if you take just 15 seconds every time you shop at one of these stores and many others, you can make a difference — almost without trying.

Out cover story this month outlines various ways that schools, churches and other neighborhood organizations are raising extra funds through methods that don’t involve selling candy or wrapping paper or books.

At Minyard grocery stores, for example, all you need to do is put your purchase receipt in your pocket as you leave the store, create a little stack of the receipts at home as you save them, and every once in awhile, give them to a friend or neighbor whose group uses the receipts to earn computers and other essentials. (Or if you prefer, mail them to me, and I’ll see that they wind up in the right hands.)

If saving pieces of paper is too much work for you, maybe the programs at Target or Tom Thumb are a better match. All you have to do is punch in a number assigned to the charity of your choice as you are making your purchase.

It sounds almost too simple, doesn’t it?

We have the opportunity to do something good for someone else while spending very little time or money doing it.

What could be better than that?

Dallas Police Chief Ben Click and I weren’t exactly pals in the traditional sense of the term. We spent all of about one hour together during his six years in Dallas, and I’m pretty sure he couldn’t pick me out of lineup (not that he would ever need to, of course).

But now that he’s going back to Arizona, I still feel as if we’re losing a friend.

It’s not just because of what the man has done to stabilize law enforcement in our community, and to help make our streets safer, our hospitals less crowded with crime victims, and our media less filled with negative stories about citizens who hate police and vice versa.

More than that, I admire Click for being himself, which seems to be someone who doesn’t feel as if a loaded gun and a shiny badge are the only ways to show people the right way to do things.

More than any other public official in Dallas, bar none, Click has been a rubber-chicken hound, appearing sans family at so many City and neighborhood functions over the years that I often wondered how he managed to stay married.

But by all accounts, he not only stayed married but remained happy — and that’s a pretty difficult trick even for those of us not involved in daily politics.

But in an ironic twist of fate, the fact that Chief Click was so successful at reducing legitimate controversy and racism in the department allows a simple fender-bender involving a subordinate to become elevated in importance, grabbing headlines and pointlessly tarnishing his last days in Dallas.

Years from now, I probably won’t remember much about Chief Click’s tenure as a police chief. Instead, my lasting memory will be of a very busy man who set aside time each week to quietly volunteer as a mentor at one of our City’s most challenged elementary schools.

I’ll bet that in the long run, more crime was eliminated from our future by Chief Click’s attention to that one student — and the ripple effect his presence had on other students — than by most of the dollars and weaponry we throw at crime in this community.

Chief Click has been the best kind of “friend” to Dallas: someone who made a difference in all the right ways, but who wasn’t congenitally compelled to constantly call the rest of us up and brag about it.


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