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Pictured are the Sugar Land Holiday Lights during last year’s event at Constellation Field. This year’s event began Nov. 20 and ends Jan. 3. (Contributed photo/Sugar Land Skeeters)

By STEFAN MODRICH 

smodrich@fortbendstar.com 

The economic decline that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic has spared few organizations, and nonprofits large and small in Fort Bend County are among them.

“We recognize that during this (pandemic) that all the nonprofits are struggling,” Deacon Jones said. “We’ve got over 2,000 (nonprofits) in Fort Bend County alone. No money’s coming in.”

What could Jones, a special assistant to Sugar Land Skeeters president Chris Hill, possibly know about that?

It turns out, quite a bit. The former Houston Astros coach and Chicago White Sox first baseman, 86, said the annual Sugar Land Holiday Lights event at Constellation Field is continuing a digital tradition of allowing nonprofits to issue online ticket voucher promo codes that will put $2 in the coffers of participating organizations for each ticket sold using the code.

Jones has become an ambassador for the event and educating attendees about the ways their voucher purchases will help give back to their communities. He estimated he’s helped sell about 10,000 tickets so far.

“I’m going around to everybody and handing out the vouchers,” Jones said. “And plus telling them about the nonprofit aspect of it also.”

A few of the participants in this year’s event, which began Nov. 20 and runs through Jan. 3, include Achieve Fort Bend County, the Fort Bend Education Foundation, Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels, Friends of Texas Wildlife, and SIRE.

As for whether or not the practice of donating a portion of ticket sales to charity will continue during the 2021 baseball season, Jones said it will depend on the Skeeters’ new parent club, the Houston Astros, who recently agreed to make the Skeeters their Triple-A affiliate in the Pacific Coast League.

“That decision has to be made sometime later on when they come in, I would think,” Jones said. “But it might be something they would entertain.”

Selling tickets for Holiday Lights, Jones said, is not too different from selling tickets to a baseball game.

“It’s a matter of getting butts in seats and seeing a good show,” Jones said.

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