College Finds at GRACEful Buys

College Move-In Day is coming right up! Before you know it, the apple of your eye will be heading to, in no particular order, College Station, Austin, Lubbock and elsewhere.

Not to be disheartening, but for the next nine months or so, most of your kids’ homes will be four cinderblock walls, a bunk bed, two desks, two chairs and a roommate.

GRACEful Buys has some nice—and inexpensive—options to make dorm rooms a bit more homey and better organized.

dorm room items

Size and storage is a constant issue in most dorm rooms. We have tons of cabinets and drawer units that will fit perfectly in small corners, desk-side and under beds. Our selection of bookshelves ranges from floor models to sets of shelves that can fit on top of desks or used as headboards/footboards for beds.

Artwork for nearly every taste lines our store and can add a touch of home to bare dorm room walls. And if the subject matter of the artwork isn’t exactly inspiring to your student, at least the nice frames can be repurposed with pictures of mom and dad.

We have rugs, curtains, lamps, throw pillows, kitsch, and an array of bowls, boxes and tchotchke galore that can be catch-alls for keys, coins, calculators and cell phones.

Speaking of electronics, our back room is filled with TVs, radios and stereo components—all checked out and working perfectly.

So before your scholar heads off to college, head over to GRACEful Buys, 418 East Northwest Highway in Grapevine. We’re open Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Book Your GRACE Tour

“And we’re walking, we’re walking. And we’re stopping.” The tour guide (Bonnie Hunt in a cameo role) in the movie Dave, about a Presidential imposter with Kevin Kline in the title role, kept her charges flowing through the famous sites at the nation’s Capitol with that classic line.

While not exactly the Rotunda, the sites around GRACE can be just as captivating and informational, especially to those who support GRACE with their time or donations, or who are interested in the many services GRACE provides in the community.

GRACE main edited

“We like to show off!” joked GRACE Executive Director Shonda Schaefer. “Seriously, we are so very proud of our staff and the work they do, it’s fun to visit our sites and talk about the services we provide in the community.”

Shonda often serves as the tour guide, and her depth of knowledge and history of GRACE is immense. Her pride in the work of GRACE is also grounded in a true sense of humbleness.

“GRACE is only here because people in our community give their time and donations to keep our mission going strong,” said Shonda. “In a very real way, our tours let us show our guests the good they have done with their volunteer time and contributions.”

Tours can be arranged for large groups, small groups or individuals, and can be customized in many ways to accommodate our guests.

Recently, a family with four children under the age of 11 came to visit. The intent was to show the children the importance of volunteering and the need for agencies like GRACE in the community.

A tour of the GRACE Community Clinic, Food Pantry and Gardens allowed GRACE staff the opportunity to talk about the people who come to GRACE seeking medical care, especially those with diabetes or other conditions that require special dietary needs.

During the course of the tour, it was explained that those patients receive nutrition and food preparation training, and are guided through the Pantry by volunteers who help them select foods that are on their diet.

Finally, a small “project” was arranged with the GRACE Pantry, and for about 30 minutes the children sorted cans and boxed goods. Of course, the highlight of the tour was a quick walk through the Pantry freezer—not bad on a 99-degree day.

Larger groups are often toured with the help of a bus and bus driver from the Grapevine Senior Activities Center. The tour starts at GRACE Main Offices then, in order, stops at GRACE Donation Station, GRACEful Buys, the GRACE Community Clinic/Food Pantry/Gardens and GRACE Transitional Housing before returning to GRACE Main.

The full tour takes about two hours, but timing can be adjusted to accommodate most any schedule. Usually it takes about two weeks’ notice to make sure all the arrangements are perfect.

If you or your group is interested in touring GRACE call Lara Sundell, GRACE Volunteer Manager, at 817-305-4653 or email lsundell@gracegrapevine.org.

New Food Pantry Check-out Counter

Tarrant Area Food Bank recently awarded GRACE with a capacity building grant for the Food Pantry to purchase a new check-out counter that will expedite the process for serving families in need in our community.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACurrently the Food Pantry uses a homemade check-out counter with two folding tables, one for calculating prices and one for sorting items.  Volunteers unload items on to the sorting table, enter prices at the calculating table, and then manually slide products to the other end of the table to make space for the next client.  When multiple clients are waiting to check out, the area can get congested quickly, making the check-out process challenging.

This gift from Tarrant Area Food Bank will allow GRACE to purchase a waist-high check- out counter with an incline that will automatically slide the clients’ food down to the other end of the counter to be bagged, thereby creating space for the next customer.  Additionally, the counter will be wide enough to create two client lines using the same counter.  This will give our Pantry staff and volunteers the capacity to process twice as many families and decrease wait times for our clients, especially during busy times of day and busy times of year.

GRACE Food Pantry continues to see an increase in the number of individuals and families we serve, which reflects the state of hunger in our community at large.  In the last school year, 24% of school children in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD were on free and reduced lunches, an increase from 8% just six years ago.  With the growing need in our community, it is crucial that the GRACE Food Pantry also seeks ways to be even more efficient in providing food to our clients.

Many thanks to Tarrant Area Food Bank for this grant award and for your partnership in fighting hunger in our community!

Needs at the GRACE Food Pantry come in all shapes and sizes.  One of the three reach-in freezers that we use to provide clients with meat, milk, eggs and cheese, recently broke down, and will cost approximately $4,000 dollars to replace.  If you or anyone you know might be interested in helping meet this need, please contact us at 817-305-4651. 

GRACE Core Value: Servant

Recently GRACE staffers met to discuss their work and future direction. At the center of the discussion were values that strongly relate to the mission of GRACE.  They determined the values of stewardship, compassion, servant, excellence and respect embraced the goals and direction of GRACE. This article will focus on the core value of servant.

The word “servant” is not in the GRACE Mission statement. Yet, to the nearly 50 staff members, 5,000 volunteers and legions of GRACE supporters, the concept of “servant” is the fundamental belief of the Mission. We serve.

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Feed Our Kids, the GRACE program that brings lunch meals directly to children in their neighborhoods is, to coin a phrase, a “macrocosm” of the servant concept.

By the end of summer, GRACE will have served 40,000 meals to children who would have gone hungry. While that number is terrific, it is only the final sentence in the story of this year’s Feed Our Kids campaign. That story begins with a small group of people reaching out to others to join them in a cause.

Servant is a measure of devotion that can only be experienced or witnessed—it can never be fully described. When it is 95 degrees at 11 a.m., and four friends pull up simultaneously at a Feed Our Kids site to begin unloading food, drinks, games and toys, how can the loyalty, courage and sacrifice be adequately described?

And their only reward will be a smile on the face of a youngster with a full belly.

For the people of GRACE, that smile makes it all worthwhile. The depth of devotion required to make that smile happen is fully acknowledged and understood, and the desire to make more smiles happen is a constant driving force.

In a sense, the massive undertaking of Feed Our Kids, and the thousands of details and duties borne by each volunteer and staff member, is played out in varying degrees with every activity that GRACE undertakes.

The need for assistance and support services is vast—much too large for any one agency to provide. Yet, we do what we can, and we do it the very best we know how—the very best our resources and support allow. In doing so, we honor our faith-based heritage by striving to help others achieve productive and contented lives.

Look for future editions of the Amazing GRACE weekly newsletter to highlight the values of excellence and respect.

Back to School Underwear and Sock Drive

Most of us take everyday items for granted, like having clean underwear and socks. However, to some individuals in our community, these items are not so trivial. With school starting in just a few short weeks, the need for new undergarments is especially important for children in our area who rely upon GRACE for these items.

Socks and underwear are some of the most requested and least stocked items in the GRACE Clothing Room. When it comes to donating clothes, most people understand the need for shirts, pants and dresses, but simple first-layer items are often forgotten. Help GRACE clothe kids going back to school by donating NEW undergarments for girls and boys in all sizes.

Socks

More than fashionable accessories, wearing clean socks and underwear are essential for good hygiene and staying healthy. Harmful bacteria and fungi can flourish in dirty clothing, so let’s make sure that kids can feel comfortable and confident as a new school year begins.

Basic white cotton underwear, undershirts, camisoles and socks are staple items that all children should have, and basic whites are easy for moms to launder and clean in hot water. But, what child doesn’t love a fun pair of socks or superhero boxers? Any and all types of undergarment donations are greatly appreciated at GRACE. During your next trip to Walmart, Sam’s Club, Target or Costco, add a multi-pack to your cart. The cost is minimal, but the impact on a child’s life can be significant.

Donations may be brought to Donation Station, Mondays through Saturdays, from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Donation Station
112 N. Scribner St.
Grapevine, TX 76051

If you do not have time to drop off your donation in person, simply mail it to:

GRACE
P.O. Box 412
Grapevine, TX 76099

Gala Committee Tour

Under the direction of tour guide extraordinaire and GRACE Executive Director, Shonda Schaefer, GRACE Gala co-chairs Stacey and Chris Archer hosted a tour of GRACE sites on Thursday. The tour was arranged to help new members of the committee meet key GRACE staff and see GRACE programs and services at work.

gala tour

Guests such as Andrea Bonney, Stacey Chase, Brooke Gall, Stacy and Kris Kristynik, Sheri Mills, Lisa and Cary Spraggins, and Jana Schleit joined the Archers for tours of Donation Station, GRACEful Buys, the GRACE Community Clinic, and the GRACE Food Pantry before concluding at GRACE Transitional Housing.

Along the way, Donation Station Manager, Kathy Mize, GRACEful Buys Manager, Joe Alvidrez, Clinic Nurse Manager, Shirley Roberts, Food Pantry Manager, Rusty Thigpen, and Transitional Housing Program Manager, LaDondra Wilson, helped Shonda acquaint the volunteer group to the mission of GRACE.

Last, but never least, transportation was provided by the Grapevine Senior Activities Center. A special thanks to Eileen Hinson for facilitating the use of the bus, as well as Bob Wise for steering the wheel.

The GRACE Gala will be on Saturday, October 11 at the Irving Convention Center. For more information, visit www.gracegala.org or contact Mark Woolverton at 817-305-4654 or by email at mwoolverton@gracegrapevine.org.

Does Your Company Give to Causes You Love?

Meet Teri Brown-Hudson.  Teri had driven by Style and GRACE upscale resale boutique on Glade several times and finally decided to venture inside.   In addition to finding designer clothes at bargain prices, Teri also discovered her purchases went toward supporting people in need in her local community through programs at GRACE that provide emergency assistance for food, clothing, shelter, and medical care.

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Upon learning about programs at GRACE, Teri decided to go one step further in her support and applied for a grant for GRACE through her company at Wells Fargo, where she serves on the Good Works Committee.  The Good Works Program is available to all Wells Fargo team members to support community involvement and volunteerism through local nonprofits.

In the words of Wells Fargo’s Chairman and CEO, John Stumpf, “At Wells Fargo, we’re committed to local decision making. We assume the Wells Fargo people who live and work in their communities know their markets better than anyone else. They’re empowered to make lending and community involvement decisions and they have the authority and accountability to run it like they own it.”

Many companies offer community involvement programs similar to Wells Fargo’s Good Words Program, and even provide financial grants to match volunteer hours.  Perhaps your company would also like the opportunity to support your volunteer and giving efforts and double your impact.

Thanks again to Teri Brown-Hudson and Wells Fargo for your support of GRACE!