Christmas Cottage Needs You!
The Christmas season at GRACE officially kicked off this week with the Christmas Cottage open house! On Monday night, GRACE supporters gathered at the cottage to ring in another year of the program with toy donations, light bites, and drinks. We heard from various staff and board members, as well as the new GRACE CEO, Rebecca Cox, and celebrated everyone that makes this program possible!
The Christmas Cottage is an annual program that allows clients to “shop” for gifts for their families to ensure a merry Christmas. Families are able to choose gifts they know their children want, as well as choose gifts for the family such as board games and household appliances. Each family is then also provided with necessary materials such as wrapping paper, tape, gift bags, and even batteries for toys and gadgets!
This program is successful because of the incredible generosity of our many supporters. Individuals and businesses host toy drives, send items to GRACE via the Amazon Wishlist, and of course – volunteer their time to serve in the cottage itself. Volunteers help set up the space, organize the gifts by age and category, and even walk through the cottage with the clients to help them get what they need.
If you’re interested in volunteering with the Christmas Cottage, we could really use your help! Visit our Sign-Up Genius page to sign up for a shift or two and see the magic for yourself! You can also find out more information about hosting a toy drive by contacting Emily Miranda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again to all who attended, volunteer, and support GRACE in this very special program! An extra special thank you to Esparza’s in Grapevine for the food and Piattelli Vineyards for the wine. If you weren’t able to join us at the open house this year, we hope you’ll be able to join us in the years to come!
Adopt a GRACE Take One Leave One Box!
Attention GRACE volunteers: We would like to announce a new opportunity to help GRACE! We are excited to introduce our TOLO Box Program! These “Take one, leave one” boxes are located at three various GRACE locations: The GRACE Food Pantry, Donation Station, and GRACE’s old headquarters (off Scribner in Grapevine).
These TOLO boxes are designed to be an entirely volunteer-driven opportunity. Here’s how it works: Individuals, groups, or businesses can ‘adopt’ a TOLO Box for a minimum of one month*. It is the adoptee’s job to make sure that the box remains full for the entire month— visiting and checking in at least once each week.
So why should you ‘adopt’ a TOLO box? The benefits are two-fold. The primary goal of these donation boxes is to combat food insecurity in our area. They offer individuals and families immediate access to food outside of GRACE Food Pantry operating hours.
The TOLO boxes also present the perfect opportunity for volunteers to curate a ‘giving-back’ experience unique to them. It is a great volunteer opportunity for individuals, families, churches, businesses and schools to help in the community.
Local business with unique time constraints but still looking to give back? Adopt a TOLO box for flexible community engagement!
Teach woodshop and want your students to attempt a practical application of what they’ve learned? Help us fix up one of the TOLO boxes!
Are you a parent looking to teach your children about giving back? Adopt a TOLO box for a hands on approach!
Though the boxes may say “GRACE”, we want them to be representative of the community as a whole. Adopt a TOLO box and work with GRACE staff to make it your own, all while giving back to our community.
For those interested, please email our Volunteer & PR Coordinator, Anni Hengesbach-Gomes, at Volunteer@GRACEGrapevine.org
*Timeline flexible— reach out to Volunteer@GRACEGrapevine.org to coordinate/for more details.
GRACE Food Pantry Feature: Kristal Gonzales
Today, GRACE is so excited to formally introduce you to Pantry Assistant Manager, Kristal Gonzales! Having been a part of the team since late March, it’s possible you’ve already met this amazing human and if you haven’t, you’re going to want to!
Born in a small town outside of El Paso, Kristal grew up wanting to be a Special Education teacher. While this hasn’t come to fruition, it’s evident that her compassion for others has guided her throughout her life, including the seven years she served in the United States Navy!
When she’s not serving others in the Food Pantry, she enjoys volunteering through her church and with Compassion International. She also loves to read, catch up on the latest TV shows, and cook!
Kristal first found out about GRACE through her church, which volunteers with the Feed Our Kids program. She was moved by the mission of GRACE to be a good steward of God’s gifts, and was inspired to join the team.
Every day, Kristal shows up with a smile and a positive attitude, ready to serve her community and makes sure that every client, volunteer, donor, or visitor to GRACE is treated with kindness. Her attention to detail and drive to always do her best makes her the perfect fit for her role. We are so blessed to have her with us!
If you’re interested in joining the team here at GRACE, we have a number of open opportunities! Check out our job listings to find out more https://www.gracegrapevine.org/get-involved/join-our-team/
GRACE Featured in Light the World Giving Machine!
We are excited to announce that GRACE was selected for and will be featured in this year’s Light the World Giving Machine when it arrives in North Texas next week. Donors will be able to support GRACE by selecting one (or more!) of the three cards you see in this article.
What is a Giving Machine? It’s simply a vending machine where individuals can select items to donate to charity. It’s as easy as buying a candy bar, but more meaningful as you get to feel the joy of giving to others. The Giving Machines provide a family-friendly, fun, and easy way to help our community’s most vulnerable. The large, red “vending machines” work in reverse, creating a memorable way to give to those in need during the Christmas season with a simple swipe of a credit card amid holiday festivities. Watch this short video to see how it works!
GRACE joins 9 other notable causes in this year’s Giving Machines as the three machines begin their North Texas journey in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square December 5th-7th, then move on to the Christmas Capital of Texas’ Main Street in Grapevine December 9th-17th, and finishes the year in McKinney’s Town Square December 19th-Jan 1st.
We are truly honored to have been selected for this initiative and deeply appreciate the opportunity to bring the mission of GRACE and the story of our clients to hundreds who have never heard of what we do. The initiative is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so 100% of all donations received go back to each of the charities featured!
Click here to be among the first to see the promo video that will be playing on behalf of GRACE at all of the North Texas Giving Machine stops!
Christmas Cottage Open House 2023: You’re Invited!
You are cordially invited to attend the Christmas Cottage Open House on Monday, December 4th at 2550 SW Grapevine Pkwy (Suite 150), Grapevine, TX!
Kids’ time will begin at 4:30, and all ages are welcome to join at 5:30. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served, so grab a friend and enjoy a relaxed evening celebrating all the hard work that will make this season bright for our GRACE families!
For those who haven’t experienced the magic of Christmas Cottage in the community, Christmas Cottage is a GRACE program that alleviates the financial burden of Christmas gifts during their season of hardship.
Each qualified family is given a hypothetical “budget” that allows the parents to “purchase” donated toys, home goods, and appliances in a private, store-like setting. This unique approach allows families to budget their resources and select unique presents while preserving the family’s dignity. Just under 3,000 individuals and families are served each holiday season.
Providing warmth and comfort this season not only allows families facing hardship to uphold cherished traditions; Christmas Cottage is designed to continue a legacy of giving and instill new traditions for your family, community group or business.
Whether you attend every year or this is your first time to participate, Christmas Cottage Open House is the perfect opportunity for your small group, civic group, family, or business to enjoy feel the magic of generosity this Christmas!
If you would like to contribute to holiday cheer being spread at the Cottage, we would love to accept any new, unwrapped toy or gift cards at the Open House! To find out where our greatest needs are currently, reach out to Beth Chernik at bchernik@GRACEGrapevine.org.
For more information, please visit our Christmas Cottage information page here.
Please RSVP by clicking this link if you would like to attend. We’d love to see you there!
2023 Holiday Food Distribution Update
Last week GRACE held its annual Thanksgiving Food Distribution! Clients were given dinner packages containing all of the holiday staples and were met with the compassion of our wonderful volunteers.
This year, GRACE served around 400 families over the course of three days! In total, our Holiday Food Distribution serves around 800 families every year. But we can’t do it without the help of our volunteers— Thanksgiving may have passed, but we will always be grateful for our community!
We would like to give a special thanks to this year’s volunteer groups: John Slocum & Friends, Good Shepherd Men’s Club, BluSky Restoration, Baylor Scott & White, First Baptist Church Grapevine, Tonia Casper Friends & Family, Great Wolf Lodge, 121 Community Church, Grapevine Masonic Lodge, and St. Lawrence Church. Thank you for all of your hard work!
With Thanksgiving in the rear-view, GRACE is gearing up for its December Food Distribution— and we need your help!
As of right now, we have close to 200 holiday food packages prepped and ready to go. We anticipate receiving another 400 clients for our December Food Distribution. If you are interested and able, we would greatly appreciate your help in putting together the remaining 200 packages.
Each package contains:
- Canned Sweet Potatoes
- Canned Fruit
- Instant Potatoes
- Cranberry Sauce
- Canned Chicken Broth
- Canned Mushroom Soup (10.5 oz.)
- Sugar 2 or 5 lb.)
- Flour (2 or 4 lb.)
- Green Beans (canned 2)
- Cooking Oil
- Instant Stuffing
- Instant or Canned Gravy (no glass jars)
- Pancake Mix
- Canned Pumpkin
- French Fried Onions (6 oz.)
- Corn (canned)
- Jell-O (1 box)
If you have any of these items left over— or would like to purchase some— we would greatly appreciate the donations! If you’d like to help put boxes together, please reach out to Volunteer@GRACEgrapevine.org to get started.