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White’s Chapel Transforms Transitional Housing Apartment

img_1457Members of White’s Chapel United Methodist Church came to GRACE a few weeks ago to begin a ceiling-to-floor renovation of a Transitional Housing apartment.

More than a dozen volunteers, guided by White’s Chapel FaithWorks Mission and Outreach pastor, Rev. Dara Austin, completely renovated and outfitted the apartment, one of nine units and an office off Main Street in Grapevine.

“A dedicated cadre of volunteers took over [GRACE Transitional Housing],” said GRACE Director of Programs Stacy Pacholick.  “[They] worked for weeks to repair and renovate the apartment.  This was a complete ‘make over’!”

Several very skilled workers joined the group to aid in carpentry, rebuilding and flooring so needed in the aging unit. Once the renovations were completed, the group went about the task of furnishing and outfitting the apartment for its next resident.

While some of the furnishings came from the stock GRACE keeps on hand for Transitional Housing, many key pieces of furniture and appliances were donated by White’s Chapel.

“Dara and her crew had chairs and a sofa donated. They brought in a new refrigerator and a stove, and all new housewares,” said Stacy. “White’s Chapel has been a very good friend to GRACE on many occasions. We are so excited they have taken on such a big project for us.”

GRACE Transitional Housing provides long-term assistance and case management for homeless women, children and families working toward becoming self-sufficient.

The program provides a safe, nurturing environment that allows the client the capacity to recover and develop the skills needed to succeed. The program is available to the families for a minimum of six months and maximum of two years.

GRACE Transitional Housing is currently interviewing a possible candidate for the program. With the White’s Chapel renovation going so well, said Stacy, “we are hoping to get her into the apartment by Christmas.”

On her behalf, said Stacy, “thanks so much to the White’s Chapel volunteers who kindly donated their hard work and materials to complete this awesome work. We are very grateful!”

For more information about the GRACE Transitional Housing program call 817-305-4636.

 

A Long Cold Winter

The first few dips in temperature last week reminds us that the next two months will be a bitter cold struggle for some. With chilly daytime temps and night times hovering near freezing, the situation becomes critical for those with low income, the elderly and others in need.

Again this year, GRACE is proud to partner with TXU Energy to help with utility bills. TXU Energy Aid assists customers with paying their bills and in many cases, the funds will stop a disconnection of their utility services.

The TXU Energy Aid program was developed to provide temporary utility and energy bill coldpayment assistance to those with limited resources. The program is funded from many sources, including customer donations, and money from the utility company.

Contributions made by TXU Energy and its generous customers, are entrusted to selected social service agencies, such as GRACE, to manage the program and administer the funds to individuals and families. Incredible as it may sound, for over 26 consecutive years, TXU Energy Aid has provided almost $55 million in utility bill payment assistance, and the funds have helped over 340,000 families in need across Texas.

“On average, our clients receive about $35,000 annually from TXU Energy Aid to help with their bills,” said Marcy Melendez, GRACE Client Services Manager. “[TXU] Energy Aid has helped change the lives of thousands of people by giving them the time they need to get back on their feet.”

As indicated, the TXU Energy Aid supports TXU customers. Unfortunately, other energy providers often do not have assistance programs for their customers. Many of these providers offer lower initial rates, or attract low income customers with “no deposit” and “pay as you go” plans.

“GRACE is committed to provide relief for these families,” said Marcy. “Oftentimes we rely on general operating funds to cover the cost of utility bills.” The expense for this service can easily double what is distributed by TXU Energy Aid for their customers.

If you would like to help others in the community weather the cold temperatures this winter, please contact GRACE at 817-305-4654, or go online at GRACE ENERGY AID to make a one-time contribution or a recurring pledge.

Women’s Division Elf Run Tomorrow

The inaugural Elves On The Run 5K and Fun Run is set for tomorrow morning, December 3, at Grapevine’s Oak Grove Park. The event supports the activities of the Women’s Division of the Grapevine Chamber of Commerce—one of GRACE’s strongest and long-time partners.

The 1-Mile Fun Run will begin at 8:30 a.m. The 5K race begins at 9:00 aelves1.m. with awards for men and women in all age categories. Brinker International and Maggiano’s Little Italy are the event’s presenting sponsors.

Santa will be on hand to greet runners at the finish line. There will be music, food trucks and costume contests for participants and spectators. There are prizes for the best elf costume, and for the best registered group in costume. Dogs on leashes are welcome to join in the festive fun.

Fun Run registration is $25/$15 for children (age 10 and younger). The 5K registration is $25 per runner. Special discounts for groups of 5 or more are available. To register now, click on this link: Register Here. The first 500 racers will receive a commemorative Elves On The Run T-shirt.

The Women’s Division operates under the umbrella of the Grapevine Chamber Foundation. The organization began in 1965 and provides assistance to those in need in the community. Current projects include providing school supply packs for GCISD students, and brightening the lives of less fortunate local senior citizens by providing gifts and essential items during the holiday season.

Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are available. For more information, please contact Amanda Calongne at 817-229-5911 or visit their website at www.ElvesOnTheRun5K.com

GRACE Food Pantry Needs Cooking Oil

While the holiday turkey needs have been met, thanks to many generous donors who heard our pleas for help, several key “ingredients” for the Christmas meal are still needed.

Thanksgiving meal baskets were given to 424 families over the three-day distribution in November. A similar number of Christmas baskets, including nearly 100 baskets that will be delivered to seniors, are anticipated for the Christmas distribution during the week of December 19.Rusty Thigpen

GRACE Food Pantry manager Rusty Thigpen estimates the value of each basket to be nearly $80, including the turkey as the centerpiece menu item. Rusty works with several local retailers to purchase turkeys in bulk at a tremendous discount, usually around $8-$10 per turkey.

Donors responded in a wonderful way when asked for help to cover the cost of all the turkeys needed for both the Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets. Still, with the turkeys for the traditional Christmas holiday meal assured, Rusty is worried the Pantry will lack several critical components for the baskets.

Rusty believes the Pantry will run short in the ingredients needed to prepare other items of the main menu such as bread, rolls, dressing, gravy, cakes and pies. “Sugar, flour, cooking oil, chicken broth and evaporated milk” will fall short, said Rusty.

Cooking oil is the most critical need right now. “Nearly all items in the menu use some cooking oil, either as an ingredient or in cooking,” said Rusty. Oils like vegetable oil, peanut oil, olive oil and canola oil are most requested at the Pantry and, often, clients are turned away with no oil or a much smaller quantity than needed. Rusty also said shortening products such as Crisco are also needed.

“Please tell everyone to pick up an extra bottle of oil at the store,” said Rusty, “and bring it to the Pantry.” The GRACE Food Pantry is located at 837 East Walnut Street in Grapevine. Hours are 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

 

Christmas Cottage is Making Dreams Come True

GRACE Christmas Cottage “officially” launched the holiday season this week with an Open House sponsored by Park Place Lexus. But weeks before, GRACE vcc-picolunteers were feeling the joy.

Wednesday’s “Kids’ Time” and Open House at GRACE Christmas Cottage marked the official beginning of the Christmas Season at GRACE. More than 250 people attended to help GRACE welcome the merry time of year–and fill Santa’s Sleigh with toys.

Earlier in the week, WFAA reporter Chris Sadeghi toured the cottage and was thrilled to learn of the 2,000 children who will have a brighter Christmas because of GRACE and Christmas Cottage. He filed this story that aired Tuesday morning. He spoke at length with volunteer Judy Sutherland who has served more than 700 hours of volunteer time at Christmas Cottage.

For weeks dating back to late-October GRACE volunteers like Judy have been working to make Christmas Cottage a wonderful experience for our client families.

Transforming a vacant warehouse into a Winter Wonderland is no easy feat. Concrete walls were covered with merry wrappings, ribbons and all manner of red, green, silver and gold borders and accents.

Volunteer artists traced, then painted, large cutouts of characters from the animated seasonal TV favorite “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Christmas trees sprouted like festive forests in nearly every corner and turn. Christmas songs, new and traditional, filled the cottage.

Behind the public view, stacks and rows of donated toys, bicycles, hooded sweatshirts, books, electronic games and toys, and thousands of other items were neatly categorized and staged.

Lori Stevens, GRACE Seasonal Program Coordinator (she also manages the massive Feed Our Kids program in the summer!), is the primary staff person, but hundreds upon hundreds of volunteers truly make dreams come true for the GRACE client families.

The vision is a truly simple one: it’s the little boy with a Tonka truck or the little girl with a Barbie doll on Christmas morning who otherwise would have no gift. It’s a memory that will live with that little boy or girl for a lifetime. It’s a celebration—a commemoration—of God’s gift to mankind.

Lori said that Christmas Cottage will start serving an average of 150 children per day on December 8 and through the next three weeks. Christmas Cottage will close on December 22. The large stockpiles of gifts will evaporate quickly.

Gifts for teens and tweens are needed. Gift cards of $5 or $10 to Subway, Sonic and other similar restaurants are great! Also, the youngsters are asking for this year’s popular toys: Hello Kitty, Dora the Explorer, Disney Princesses and Barbie accessories like cars, houses, kitchens, and other Barbie-branded toys.

If you would like to help make dreams come true bring a new, unwrapped toy to GRACE Christmas Cottage is at 815 South Main Street in Grapevine. If you have any questions, please contact 817-305-4654.

NCL Southlake is a GRACE “Go-To”

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A sincere thanks to the thousands of volunteers who give of themselves to further the mission of GRACE. Every year volunteers serve more than 60,000 hours across the area, in conditions as diverse as the blazing hot Feed Our Kids sites to the piercing cold New Year’s Eve at Donation Station. Medical professionals serve another 3,500 hours at the GRACE Community Clinic.

Individuals, families, church and corporate groups, and civic and social clubs all join in to make sure GRACE clients receive the best, most effective services.

The Southlake Chapter of National Charity League is one group that is represented at nearly all GRACE activities. Founded in 1996, the social and community service group for mothers and daughters has been a “go to” volunteer group since its inception.

Every year the group takes six weeks throughout the summer, mid-June to late-July, to provide lunches to at-risk children through the Feed Our Kids program. The same group spends Friday and Saturday of the Gala setting chairs and centerpieces for GRACE’s largest fundraiser. Then comes the Thanksgiving Meal distribution, Christmas Cottage and the Christmas Meal distribution. And this is only the beginning of the service hours given to GRACE by its members.

What is amazing is that the group also supports eight other charitable agencies like the Battered Women’s Shelter, Christmas is for Children, Metroport Meals on Wheels, Gatehouse, Special Olympics, Stepping Stones Foundation, Summer Santa, and Miracle League of Southlake. If that sounds like hours-upon-hours of volunteer work, you’d be right—more than 7,500 hours each year.

All the more astonishing is that NCL Southlake members give much more than time. The annual Benefit and Fashion Show generates needed funding for all of their beneficiary agencies. First held in the spring of 1998, the yearly tradition raises more than $100,000.

The chapter celebrates the richness of its 20-year history through traditions that honor the past while serving the future. The annual Mother-Daughter Tea and Senior Recognition Ceremony are just two examples of events that help define and sustain chapter membership.

The aim of the chapter is to foster mother-daughter relationships in a philanthropic organization committed to community service, leadership development and cultural experiences. Its vision is to develop strong women leaders serving and impacting communities today and for generations to come.

Mothers and daughters participate in a six-year core program which outlines a program of community service, leadership development and cultural experiences by year. Through this program, participants become confident, well-rounded and socially aware contributors to society.

A Great Finish to 2016

giving
Thanks to all who made a charitable gift to GRACE in 2016. It is only because of you GRACE can continue to serve the thousands who enter its doors seeking help every year.

With the holidays now in full swing, it is very easy to let the year-end tax deadline sneak up. For tax-conscious donors some planning now, before the whirlwind of Christmas and New Year’s sweeps by, can reap great rewards by April 15—and help thousands of those in need now.

As always, your gifts to GRACE in 2016 are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Everyone’s tax liability is a bit different based on your specific situation—consult a tax specialist if you have any questions.

To make a gift, choose one of these convenient options:
1.   Go to GIVE to GRACE to make a gift or to pay an existing pledge online.
2.   To complete your transaction by phone, please call 817-305-4654 or 817-305-4661.
3.   To deliver your gift, please visit the GRACE Main Offices, 610 Shady Brook Drive in   Grapevine (at the T-end of Scribner Street).
4.   To mail your gift, please send a check to: GRACE, P.O. Box 412, Grapevine, Texas 76099.

Gift timings will be affected somewhat because the year end occurs during a weekend this year.

End of year timing for the receipt of all gifts and pledges:
Cash
Gifts must be received by Friday, December 30, 2016.

Checks
To be counted in the calendar 2016 year figures, gifts must be received by GRACE Accounting Office staff by 5:00 p.m. CST on Friday, December 30.

Electronic Transfer/Federal Wire
All electronic transfers of funds should be in the GRACE bank account before the close of the banking day at 2:00 p.m. CST on Friday, December 30. Call for electronic transfer/wire instructions: 817-305-4654.

Credit Card Payments
If emailed, received in postage, hand-delivered, or phoned in, gifts must be received by the GRACE accounting office staff by 1:00 p.m. CST on Friday, December 30.

Web gifts
Gifts submitted online: (https://grace.ejoinme.org/MyPages/GRACEDonationPage/tabid/41494/Default.aspx)
must be completed by 11:59 p.m. CST on Saturday, December 31, 2016.

Stocks & Other Securities
Physical hand deliveries must be received by the GRACE Accounting Office staff by 3:00 p.m. CST on Friday, December 30.

Securities must be in the GRACE account before the close of business on Friday, December 30. Donors should be careful to give their brokers time to complete the transaction. This usually requires a minimum of 3 business days, but may take longer if volumes are high. The donor should be sure to notify GRACE of their intention to deliver securities so that the donation may be identified and recorded in a timely manner. Failure to notify may result in delay. Please call for stock/securities transfer instructions.

Securities sent to GRACE by private carrier (i.e. Federal Express, UPS, etc.) must be received by GRACE Office staff by 3:00 p.m. CST on Friday, December 30.

Review USPS delivery expectations regarding 1st class mail, etc.

Receipts
Gift receipts will be sent within 3-7 business days from the date the gift was processed, except in times of high volume where longer processing time occurs. Receipts will reflect the date the gift was received. Donors should consult with their CPA or tax preparer to determine the tax consequences of their donation. GRACE (Grapevine Relief And Community Exchange) TIN: 75-2195702.

A Reminder on Donated Items
GRACE Donation Station will be open until 5 p.m. Saturday, December 31 to drop off your donations of clothing and other gently used household items to receive a tax benefit. GRACE will have plenty of volunteers and staff to help speed the process and get you on your way.

Kathy Mize, Donation Station manager asks that you please package the items you are donating in disposable containers like trash bags or cardboard boxes. Donation Station is at 112 North Scribner Street in Grapevine (just turn at Old West Café and we’re right there).

All Aboard Santa’s Helpers

delkus
Thanks to all who helped GRACE clients this year with food drives, clothing drives, toy drives and all other special events to support the GRACE mission. They were part of an inspiring community outpouring of good will, hard work and cherished support. GRACE—and all those GRACE serves—are so fortunate to have friends like that.

One such friend is WFAA Meteorologist Pete Delkus, also known as Santa Claus’ No. 1 Helper. Santa and Mrs. Claus and a host of “Santa’s Helpers” will join Pete at the Grapevine Train Depot on Tuesday, December 6, to gather toys for children in need.

WFAA’s “Santa’s Helpers” is celebrating its 47th year of collecting holiday toys for more than 50,000 children throughout Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties.

If you’ve been watching the local ABC affiliate, you’ll know the Santa’s Helpers 2016 Toy Drive begins today, November 25, and will run through December 21. The campaign is sponsored by Chick-fil-A, Don Davis Auto Group, Milestone Electric and Tom Thumb.

GRACE is one of several charities represented at the toy drive and all of the toys designated for GRACE will go to the Christmas Cottage for immediate selection by GRACE families.

On Tuesday, December 6, Pete and his crew will sign-on from the Grapevine Depot during the 5 p.m. newscast—mere yards from the site of this year’s GRACE Christmas Cottage. He will ask viewers to come to the Depot and bring new unwrapped toys for children in need.

In addition the Santa’s Helpers launch event at the Grapevine Depot, Santa’s Helpers will be in Historic Downtown McKinney on December 8; at the Don Davis dealership in Arlington on December 13; at the Fort Worth Zoo on December 15; and in Dallas at the WFAA Victory Park Studio on December 19.

Even more convenient, you can drop off toys at any North Texas Chick-fil-ADon Davis Auto GroupMilestone Electric and Tom Thumb locations.

A Classic Chevrolet Thanks

durant

Thanks to all the wonderful sponsors of events like the GRACE Gala and Drive Into the Night, and all other GRACE events and activities throughout the year. The generosity of these community-minded businesses and individuals is an inspiration to GRACE staff who strive to make all those who support GRACE proud of the way GRACE uses their funds to help others.

Classic Chevrolet owners Tom Durant and his wife Susan are the perfect example of a community-minded business owners. They ask their employees to support the community through charitable work, and the employees have responded by making the Classic Employee Charity Fund a personal and professional goal.

At their annual holiday luncheon this week Classic presented $40,000 to GRACE, and similar gifts to 6 Stones Mission Network, the Angel Fund of Trinity High School, Christ Haven, the Clubhouse for Special Needs and Neuro Assistance, Community Storehouse, Food for the Soul, RISE, and V.A.S.T. Community Outreach.

“Over the past few years, it’s been a sheer pleasure to see how our employees have so fully embraced the spirit of giving back to our community,” said Susan Durant. In fact it was Susan’s idea that led to the formation of the Charity Fund.

Tom and I felt the money raised by Classic employees should be given to the charity of our employees’ choice,” said Susan. A committee of Classic employees selects the charity beneficiaries each year, and recruits key vendors, volunteers and other employees to help raise the funds.

Funds are raised through the individual gifts of Classic employees and boosted by the revenues from events such as the Steve Thompson Classic Golf Tournament in October and the Classic Chili Cook-Off in November.

Classic’s commitment to GRACE and to the community is part of a corporate culture that recognizes goals and develops ways to meet those goals.

Ken Thompson of the Thompson Group at Classic Chevrolet explains, “We encourage our employees to push themselves to achieve both our company goals and our own personal goals as well. Giving back to the community has become incredibly meaningful and fulfilling for everyone [at Classic].”

It is that type of dedication and generosity that comes directly from the top: Susan and Tom generously match dollar-for-dollar all of the funds raised throughout the year by their employees.

“This is all about the employees’ efforts,” said Tom. “It was through their hard work that the money was raised. Our match is a way to say ‘thank you’.”

Our thanks to all Classic employees and, especially, Susan and Tom for their wise leadership and generous vision.

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