Late in the evening on April 11, 2018, GRACE suffered one of the most devastating crises in its long history — a fire that destroyed our Community Clinic and closed the Food Pantry. Today marks one year since that frightful morning we faced trudging the uncertain and difficult road of recovery. Thanks to first responders from Grapevine Police Department and Grapevine Fire Department, the fire was kept confined. The support from the community was inspiring. So many – too many to name – stepped up. Hundreds of volunteers, donors and supporters came together to restore GRACE.
A note from our CEO, Shonda Schaefer:
One year ago today seems like a lifetime ago. In the months prior to this devastating fire, GRACE was really struggling. We had increases in need and decreased funding – non-profit nightmare! So, to show up in the middle of the night and see our building destroyed just about broke me. We are a team, but as the CEO, I felt the weight heavier that night than ever before. That night I prayed to God that I would be given the strength and courage to walk this team through the difficult days ahead. I prayed that He would make me strong enough to follow His will – whatever that may be.
Once again, God provided! We remained faithful to our mission, and each day chose to do the next right thing. The result is that awareness of the GRACE Mission was renewed by the visibility of this difficult event. The community came forward and invested in us and our programs. I hope never to have to deal with this type of event again, but in hindsight, it made us stronger – in all ways.
Personally, I will be forever grateful for being surrounded by the hardest working staff one could ask for. The generosity that this community poured into our agency gave me the encouragement to stay the course.
Thank God, my team, and this community for these past 12 months!
We continue to feel blessed that no one was hurt in the devastating fire. After that night, GRACE staff worked around the clock to restore normal services to our clients in need. The morning after the fire we were able to see many of our patients thanks to the generosity of our partners at First Baptist Grapevine for allowing us use their space.
Our media partners at KLTY began a live broadcast as droves of incredible volunteers – including several off-duty firefighters who helped put out the fire – showed up to clear the wreckage. We received many generous offers of help with temporary spaces to restore operation as soon as possible, as well as many gifts in way of food, gift cards and financial donations from individuals, businesses and church partners.
Through the generosity of our volunteer doctors and nurses, all of our patients were rescheduled and received the medical attention they needed. Our Food Pantry operated at our Main Office as an emergency location, providing food to clients who needed it so very much. This process was at times heartbreaking and we felt a deep sense of loss, but we were able to continue serving, hardly missing a beat.
The City of Grapevine graciously allowed us to use a vacated space. Volunteers prepared the temporary space that was used for several months as we faced the task of rebuilding our Community Clinic and Food Pantry home. The Clinic reopened and began seeing patients at this location. We restocked the shelves and our Food Pantry quickly was up and running.
We have come so far since that fateful time. In the process of rebuilding, we faced challenges of shortages of equipment and crucial medication supplies that were destroyed in the fire. Our Food Pantry was limited due to storage constraints and inability to store perishable items. But still we pressed on as our community lifted us up out of the ashes.
What a difference a year can make! We will never be able to fully express the level of gratitude that we have towards our GRACE Family. Our deepest thanks to all who helped during our deepest time of need and continue to support our mission. As a faith based organization that believes in the power of prayer, we ask that you continue to pray for the families we serve and wisdom and strength as our staff seek how to best serve those among us in need.
As always, we are only able to do what we do here at GRACE because of you. If you would like to make a donation please click here.