And the MVP is…

  The Fall Season at GRACE was marked with great successes, including a wonderful GRACE Gala in October, terrific increases in sales at GRACEful Buys and Style & GRACE, cherished Thanksgiving and Christmas meal baskets given through at the GRACE Food Pantry, a merry holiday season at GRACE Christmas Cottage, and many other beneficial activities and events. Every season has a most valuable player, and the Fall Season was championed by Teresa Williamson, GRACE director of finance and operations. Teresa received the Fourth Quarter MVP Award at the January GRACE Staff meeting this week. All the more impressive, Teresa achieved her MVP status before reaching her first anniversary with GRACE. Teresa started with GRACE in late-January 2016, but in the words of GRACE Human Resources Director Melissa Simpkins, “that hasn’t stopped [her] from figuring out how to do just about everything.” “Not knowing, or not having an answer is just

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GRACE Client Services Takes On the New Year

For many who come to GRACE for help, it all begins with Client Services, and a talk with Client Services manager Marcy Melendez, or one of the case managers in her office. The outcome of this talk is a thorough needs assessment and a customized assistance plan for every client and client family. The assistance plan is designed to lead clients back to self-sufficiency—solving the current crisis, and devising ways to avert future crises. The client and case manager revisit the plan each time a client returns to GRACE, and adjustments are made throughout the year as progress is made. The first of the year is a perfect time to “take stock” said Marcy. For the next few weeks she and her staff will visit with clients on their caseloads, reassess their needs, and revise assistance plans for the coming year. For many clients, it is a time for celebration.

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GRACE in 2016: A Year In Review

No single article can tell fully the impact of GRACE in our community this year. But this year, as every year, the conclusion is the same: YOU are GRACE and it’s your support that drives the GRACE mission forward. Except for the GRACE News, so much has happened at GRACE in 2016 that all other sources can only touch on the highlights of another wonderful year serving the community through the GRACE mission. The GRACE Feed Our Kids program served 36,574 meals and the GRACE Grocery Giveaway served an additional 3,195 people (690 families) during the Summer of 2016. The GRACE Client Choice Food Pantry provided nutritious food to 7,702 people, while gardening volunteers harvested 3,154 pounds of fresh produce for them. The GRACE Outreach to Health Community Clinic provided healthcare and life-sustaining health education to 3,183 patients who otherwise would have had no other access to care outside of

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Food Pantry Holiday Numbers are In

GRACE Food Pantry manager Rusty Thigpen reported Christmas meal baskets were furnished to 313 families over the two-day distribution last week. That number, added to the November Thanksgiving meal baskets that went to 424 families, and holiday feasts were provided to a total of 737 families this year. In addition, Food Pantry volunteers delivered 96 baskets to the homes of seniors last week, and 94 baskets went out at Thanksgiving, for a total 190 families. In all, 927 families received holiday feasts through the Food Pantry this season, nearly matching the total from the 2015 distribution of 932. With the tracking system now used at the Food Pantry, Rusty and his Pantry volunteers knew almost exactly what to expect this year. “This year is on par with our three-year average of 926 per year,” said Rusty. Current tracking encompasses the years of 2014, 2015 and 2016. Before that, baskets provided

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Donation Station Open NYE!

There are only so many hours left in 2016! And GRACE Donation Station will be open for many of those hours so you can drop off your donations and receive a tax benefit. Donation Station manager Kathy Mize believes today is really the ideal time! Donating your gently used clothing and household goods “now rather than tomorrow will help you to beat the rush and the long lines we anticipate,” said Kathy. Donation Station will be open until 6 p.m. this (Friday, December 30) afternoon; and open all day (Saturday, December 31) tomorrow, 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Donation Station is at 112 North Scribner Street in Grapevine—just turn at Old West Café and it’s right there! Kathy asks that you please package the items you are donating in disposable containers like trash bags or cardboard boxes. This will help volunteers unload quickly and begin sorting. “The end of the

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It’s Gardening Time!

Since its initial cultivation over 7 years ago, the GRACE Community Garden has grown an average of 3,000 pounds of fresh produce each year. Led by Becca Clarke, Caryn Hutchinson and Alison Shumaker, Garden volunteers tend the beds to bring harvests of tomatoes, potatoes, okra, peppers, corn, strawberries, tomatillos, and other bounty. Volunteering at the Community Garden is a healthy and rewarding way to provide wholesome nourishment for families in need. Volunteers are needed to assist in clean up, preparation, planting and tilling to ensure another fruitful season. “We need about fifteen people for some crucial dates coming up,” said Caryn, a certified Texas Master Gardener. Volunteers are needed on Saturdays, January 7 and January 21, to help clean up and prepare the beds for planting. “Depending on the weather, we’ll start around noon and work until we’re done,” said Caryn. The long-range forecast for Saturday, January 7 calls for

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GRACE Community Garden Planting/Tending Schedule 2017

Manure and Till, Saturday, January 21. Major Preparation Date. Final harvest of broccoli and cabbage. Spread manure, blood meal, and bone meal on all beds; work into beds. Weed around fruit trees and mulch. Continue digging raspberry bed, add manure and compost to bed. Stake leaning tree. 12:00 p.m. until done. Early Spring Planting, Saturday, February 4. Major Planting Date. Plant carrots, garlic, onion sets, potato sets, cabbage (plants), cilantro, parsley. Transplant raspberries into new bed. 12:00 p.m. until done. Mid-Spring Planting, Saturday, March 18. Major Planting Date. Plant squash, melons, corn, tomatoes and peppers (transplants); interplant borage, garlic, marigolds and nasturtiums to ward off pests. Fruit trees: give them manure top dressing; renew mulch and pull grass that has encroached. Stake raspberries, cage tomatoes, and peppers. Weed and mulch crops planted on February 4 as well as raspberries and strawberries. Mulch walkways. 9:00 a.m. until done. Spring Tending and

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Carols for Friends & Family

The holidays are hard on seniors who find themselves alone during the holidays. The GRACE Friends & Family program focuses on isolated seniors, 55 years old and older, and disabled clients to help them live comfortably and independently. Last Saturday, youth groups from Compass Christian Church joined GRACE in making Christmas jollier for some local senior women. A group of 14- and 15-year olds organized a caroling troupe and made the rounds to Friends & Family clients. Tom Panno, one of the adult volunteer leaders, said the troupe was a little timid at first, “but warmed up and eventually started asking for requests.” “Many [seniors] were singing right along with us,” said Tom, president of Independence Custom Homes in Colleyville. “One woman even offered us hot chocolate.” Tom recounted after they had left her house, “One of my boys said, ‘did we really just turn down chocolate?’.” What the troupe

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Year End Volunteers

It started earlier this week: cars lined up onto Scribner Street from GRACE Donation Station. The final weeks of the year always bring a great number of generous people donating clothes, household goods, furniture and more. Volunteers and staff are working furiously to keep up with the volume because they know next week will bring a massive wave of year-end giving. It’s all a good thing, though. Donations will help struggling families who need the gently-used donations and the remaining items will be sent to GRACE resale stores, GRACEful Buys in Grapevine and Euless and Style & GRACE to help generate funds for client programs and services. Twenty-five percent of the budget for GRACE Client Services is generated by resale revenues. As many as 250 generous donors are anticipated to visit Donation Station each day between Monday, December 26 and Saturday, December 31. A Call for Volunteers was issued last

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Texas Health Partners with Clinic

The GRACE Outreach to Health Community Clinic was selected as one of the first recipients of the Texas Health Resources Clinic Connect program. The program was established last July as a way for Texas Health Resources to support community health clinics that serve vulnerable populations. “Our goal is to create a collaborative relationship with local non-profit community-based clinics,” said Jamie Judd, program director, Community Health Improvement, Texas Health Resources. “Our mission is to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve.” Clinic Connect is designed to provide financial support, educational opportunities, information sharing, and expanded services to improve the quality and healthcare access for underserved, at-risk populations in the community. The GRACE Community Clinic will receive information in mid-January fully outlining the partnership along with the reporting metrics and outcome expectations. The GRACE Community Clinic serves patients at low or no cost to them, emphasizes preventative care,

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