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GRACE Blog

Giving as we have received to help those in need

Christmas Cottage Making Dreams Come True

The 2019 Christmas Cottage hosted numerous events and group opportunities, like this GRACE Staff Breakfast. The 2020 Christmas Cottage is in the same location, but the festivities will be much different.

GRACE Christmas Cottage “officially” launched the holiday season last weekend with dozens of volunteers and staff moving tons of bicycles, toys, clothing—you name it—to the Cottage location at 1250 William D. Tate Avenue in Grapevine, next to the JOANN Fabric & Craft Store.

Once again, the generous folks at Robert S. Beall Investments has donated the use of the massive space. Volunteer “elves” are busy now transforming the vacant storefront into a Winter Wonderland.

This year, of course, COVID restrictions will limit the number of client families, volunteers, staff, and visitors can enter Christmas Cottage. The annual Christmas Cottage Open House, a chance to see the artwork, organization, and generosity that goes into Christmas Cottage, has not been scheduled.

Those who have visited Christmas Cottage in past years can easily envision the stacks and rows of donated toys, bicycles, hooded sweatshirts, books, electronic games and toys, and thousands of other items, all categorized and neatly staged.

Harder to envision is whether the showroom of gifts will last out the season. GRACE Client Services has learned very few other organizations are conducting their traditional toy giveaways. In addition, fewer toy drives, usually conducted by local companies and organizations, will take place.

At this time, Christmas Cottage anticipates much higher numbers of families than originally anticipated. Typically, GRACE provides Christmas gifts for more than 2,700 children and families.

As always, we are reaching out to our generous community—you—to help make sure these families all have the merry Christmas they deserve.

Here how you can help:
Volunteer
You or your group can help out at the Christmas Cottage. Shifts next week! Please sign up today by contacting the Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer@GRACEgrapevine.org or call 817-690-4136.

Donate Toys
The Cottage needs list can be found on the GRACE website by clicking HERE. If you would like to host a toy drive or event benefitting this program, please contact events@GRACEgrapevine.org or call 817-305-4672.

Make a Gift
You can make a financial gift for the Christmas Cottage by visiting our donation page HERE. GRACE maintains strong relationships with area retailers to multiply the value of your gift.

Last, but never least: Pray
Please continue to pray for those families who are struggling this holiday season as well for the volunteers, staff, and supporters as they work to meet the need!

For more information please contact info@GRACEgrapevine.org or call 817-305-4653.

COVID Numbers at GRACE

Masks, disinfectant wipes, and acrylic panels have become the new norm as GRACE continues to serve as many clients as possible during the COVID crisis.

“Like everyone else, our year started to spin wildly out of control around mid-March,” GRACE CEO Shonda Schaefer began, trying to put into words the experiences of the past 9 months.

“Throughout those confusing first weeks, and the frightening weeks after that, there was one thought that kept us going: no matter how bad things were for us, for our staff, for our volunteers, for our donors, it was infinitely worse for those we served,” she said.

Client Services statistics from the 2020 fiscal year, which ended August 31, practically speak for themselves. Total number of unduplicated individuals served during the fiscal year was 11,042.

Historically, over the past 5 years, GRACE has served an average of 5,029 unduplicated individuals each year.  This equates to an average of 1,859 households.

The number of households served in the 3rd and 4th quarters of last year (March through August) increased by close to 60% over the same time last year.

Even as the recap of COVID impact shows a more than doubling of services, severe peaks led off those two quarters. Waves upon waves of new clients followed the first shut-downs.

The closures of local hotel-convention centers, the mall, airport concessions, restaurants, and bars resulted in massive layoffs and furloughs. Within a few short days, our client base grew six-times its volume compared to 2019 at the same time.

“We watched as our budget for the year poured out in just a few months,” said Shonda. “The decision to walk in faith, committing to the God-inspired mission of GRACE—even when we knew the budget couldn’t support the volumes—was a leap of faith that our leaders and board fully supported.”

While hundreds of social service agencies struggled to find a way to respond to the crisis, it was because of generous community support that GRACE became the leader in Tarrant County with unprecedented response time, referrals, and assistance.

Yet, the crisis remains. The need continues to expand at a similar pace, and many families are coming to GRACE for the very first time.

During September, Client Services interviewed 724 households—a continuation of the 60% increase over the previous year. Of those 724 households, nearly half were new to GRACE.

Client Services staff, as well as the staff in the Community Clinic, Food Pantry, Senior Services, Transitional Housing, and all GRACE services, are preparing for increases related to the upturns in COVID cases in the area.

Please give to support the ongoing Client Services efforts to serve families affected by COVID-19. Click on GRACE COVID Relief & Recovery, or call 817-305-4654.

Tarrant County Responds to Evictions Crisis

Tarrant County Administrator G.K. Maenius announced Wednesday the creation of a rental assistance program to aid county residents whose income has been reduced due to COVID.

The CARE 4 Tarrant Rental Assistance Program aims to help the nearly 40% of Tarrant County residents who rent their homes, and who have been unable to pay rent due to layoffs, a reduction in hours, the need to provide care for a child or elderly or disabled person, or because of a need to isolate to prevent severe illness.

Maenius explained the CDC issued an order in September to temporarily halt residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID. On January 1, 2021, landlords will again be able to evict tenants due to repayment of rent.

“The [CDC] eviction moratorium is not the same as rental forgiveness,” said Maenius. “Rent is still due.”

To prevent what could be mass evictions after the first of the year, continued Maenius, Tarrant County has dramatically increased support efforts and will continue accepting applications for assistance through December 9, 2020.

The county plans to post yard signs in high-traffic areas and near multi-family apartment complexes. The county has created an outreach kit and Maenius asked community partners like GRACE to “please share these materials with your communications and outreach teams, community organizations, and neighborhood liaisons.”

To reach the Care4Tarrant rental assistance hotline, call 817-850-7940, or go to renthelp.tarrantcounty.com.

Community Clinic Achieves Gold Level #4

The GRACE Community Clinic has, once again, received Gold Level status from the American Heart Association and American Medical Association.

The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Medical Association (AMA) awarded Gold Level status to the GRACE Community Clinic for the fourth year in a row, and the AHA selected the Community Clinic to be part of their new nationwide cholesterol initiative.

Dr. Takiyah R. Wilson, senior director of healthcare systems for the American Medical Association, sent the following: “The AHA and AMA congratulate you on achieving Gold Level Recognition with the Target: BP Initiative. We thank you for your continued support and commitment.”

“Target: BP” is a joint AHA and AMA project launched in 2015 to improve blood pressure (hypertension) control and aims to reduce the number of Americans who have heart attacks and strokes by urging medical practices, health service organizations, and patients to prioritize blood pressure control.

The “Target: BP” goal was to obtain 70% control of patients with a hypertension diagnosis.  More than 73% of the Community Clinic patients with high blood pressure control their disease to less than 140/90 mm Hg. The Community Clinic initially received Gold Level status in 2017.

Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the AHA, announced the Community Clinic was selected to participate in the AHA’s new “Check. Change. Control. Cholesterol” program.

Similar to the “Target BP” initiative on hypertension, the “Check. Change. Control. Cholesterol” was established this year to “improve the identification and management of cholesterol across the nation”.

“We were very honored to be selected for the cholesterol project,” said Shirley Roberts, RN, BAS, CCM, the Community Clinic nurse manager.

In addition to serving as a charter member of the “Check. Change. Control. Cholesterol” initiative, the Community Clinic will have access to AHA studies, evidence-based information, tools, and resources.

“We are committed to our quality of care by improving awareness, identification, and control of high cholesterol by educating and empowering our patients,” said Roberts.

Roberts credits the high standards, achievements, and opportunities of the Community Clinic to her Medical Director, Dr. Song Lee, and all of the other medical professionals who volunteer their time to treat GRACE clients.

“The Community Clinic will continue its Gold Status focus on increasing detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults,” said Roberts. “We also look forward to setting the bar for other clinics participating in the Heart Association’s cholesterol project.”

For more information about the GRACE Community Clinic, please contact Shirley Roberts, RN, BAS, CCM or call 817-305-4681.

Thanksgiving Food Needs!

While you are running errands this weekend, please keep the GRACE Food Pantry in mind!

It is almost time for us to distribute Thanksgiving food baskets to GRACE families. We need your help to ensure that the baskets are full of the traditional holiday food fixings!

We anticipate we will be giving out over 1,000 food baskets to families in need. Thanks to your support, GRACE clients will be able to take these amazing items home and prepare dinner with their families in whatever their true holiday tradition may be!

Below you can find the holiday food needs list. You can also access the list by clicking HERE.

Interested in hosting a food drive? Please contact the Special Events Manager at events@GRACEgrapevine.org or call 817-305-4672.

Opening Soon… GRACE Christmas Cottage!

Yes, you read that right! You may have noticed (or panicked upon realizing) that it is already mid-November, which means retailers have covered Halloween, skipped Thanksgiving altogether, and have gone straight to Christmas!

And here at GRACE, we LOVE spreading a little holiday cheer!

Can you imagine having to choose between putting food on the table or watching your child’s face light up as they realize Santa paid them a visit?

Maybe you have been blessed to have never had to make that choice. Maybe you have been in a similar position before. Maybe you just want to make the holidays a little brighter for a family who is struggling.

Each year, GRACE is able to provide over 2,700 children and parents with Christmas gifts for the holidays. This dignified experience allows for moms and dads to select new, unwrapped gifts for their children that they can take home and prepare to put under the Christmas tree.

Of course, this program would not possible without the help and support of the community.

This year, we are already seeing the increase in need for the Christmas Cottage. Not only is our client base need higher due to the effects of COVID, but other similar programs in the area have had to make the difficult decision to close their doors for this season of giving. Without a doubt we will be seeing much higher numbers than even we originally anticipated!

We need your help in the following ways:

  • Volunteer- You or your group can help out at the Christmas Cottage. Shifts next week! Please sign up today by contacting the Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer@GRACEgrapevine.org or call 817-690-4136.
  • Donate Toys- The Cottage needs list can be found on the GRACE website by clicking HERE. If you would like to host a toy drive or event benefitting this program, please contact events@GRACEgrapevine.org or call 817-305-4672.
  • Charitable Contribution- You can make a financial gift for the Christmas Cottage by visiting our donation page HERE. For more information, please contact info@GRACEgrapevine.org or call 817-305-4653.
  • Pray- Please continue to pray for those families who are struggling this holiday season as well for the volunteers, staff, and supporters as they work to meet the need!

A GRACE Gala Thank You!

The phrase “it takes a village” is a response that is often used when asked how so many families in need are able to be served at GRACE. There are so many who are seeking help and refuge, especially this year, and the need is only going to continue to rise at an alarming rate.

So how do we, as a community, meet the need?

That was the question weighing on everyone’s mind at GRACE as the organization’s annual premier Gala was around the corner. Just a mere eight weeks before the event, which usually hosts upwards of 700 attendees, the difficult decision was made to shift to a live-stream virtual evening.

As you can imagine, there was much concern and speculation about how supporters of this amazing fundraiser would respond to this change… and if they even had the ability to support in the year of COVID.

We are thrilled to announce that the virtual, live-stream GRACE Gala, was absolutely outstanding!

Of course, it is the support of the community, volunteers, sponsors, donors, advocates, staff, and online attendees who are committed to the GRACE mission that helped make November 7th a night to remember. Even though we couldn’t be together in-person, it was so abundantly clear that the dedication to help our neighbors in need was still at the top of everyone’s minds.

Missed the GRACE Gala, but still want to contribute? Help us meet our financial goal by donating HERE.

On behalf of all of those we serve, thank YOU for making the 2020 GRACE Gala a success. We are looking forward to seeing you in 2021!

VIEW 2020 GRACE GALA EVENT DETAILS HERE!

Interested in becoming involved with the GRACE Gala? Please contact the Special Events Manager.

Join us for the GRACE Gala 2020 Virtual Event!

We are so excited to have you join us for the GRACE Gala 2020 Virtual Event. We have a wonderful event set up for you with glorious auction items that we are so excited for you to bid on!

This year’s Gala is going to be a truly original event. We are working with our event technology specialists Alford Media to create a Virtual Event worthy of the GRACE Gala name.

Auction items have been collected! We work hard to curate this list of items each year with our wonderful donors, sponsors, and volunteers – it’s fun to create and even more fun to watch these high-value items get claimed as the Gala progresses. The mobile-bidding app is live so you don’t have to wait until November 7th to bid – you can bid right now!

We are ready for broadcast but we want to make sure that you are ready to watch. If you haven’t registered already log onto GRACEgala.com and make sure to join us this Saturday.

The money we raise is going to straight back to the organization to help us build a stronger community. The funds raised will go to programs like Feed Our Kids which has gotten more popular each year, our Community Clinic that has had to work extra hard this year to help patients deal with COVID concerns, and our Food Pantry that helps keep our client families healthy and full!

We are excited to spend the evening with you and those that you love.

Log onto GRACEgala.com today, register and be a part this special event happening November 7 at 7pm.

GRACE Gala Mobile Auction is LIVE!

GRACE Gala 2020 is nearly here but have you looked at what’s on this year’s auction block??

We have an unbelievable array of items for you to bid on and we don’t want you to miss out on anything that strikes your fancy. Check this link to see them!

Every taste is catered to during our world famous auction and this year is no exception…arcade games, hi-tech grills, museum-level art, bespoke clothing, gift baskets beyond compare, and once in a life time trips and experiences.

We work hard to curate this list of items each year with our wonderful donors, sponsors, and volunteers – it’s fun to create and even more fun to watch these high-value items get claimed as the Gala progresses. The great thing about these items on our mobile-bidding app is that you don’t have to wait until November 7th to bid on them – you can bid right now!

Take time to cruise through each item and pick which one you will be hunting for…you’ll be able to check in on your bids because the app is live so you’ll know in real time if someone is trying to edge you out!

Be a part of this wonderful event, help make a difference in our community, and take home something you and your family will love.

Register today at GRACEgala.com and make sure to watch the broadcast on November 7th because we have several “secret” items that you won’t want to miss bidding on.

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