Let the Gala Planning Begin: Committee Members Needed!

It takes a village to help plan the annual GRACE Gala. Volunteers, committee members, and GRACE staff alike work endlessly to make sure Gala is the best event in town. Soon, we will be kicking off Gala season with the first committee meeting the last week of May.

A fun fact for our readers – the GRACE Gala takes approximately 365 days to plan and execute. Many different activities go into this amazing production which makes the Gala even more fun and exciting for everyone to enjoy. All of this and more starts with our hardworking and dedicated committee chairs and members.

Sheila and Jason Ridley make up this year’s Gala committee chairs. The Ridleys have been supporters of GRACE for years and have chosen this year to give the community a very special GRACE Gala. Along with the Ridleys, our committee members play another huge part in the Gala process. Whether it is getting the word out or decorating the venue, these awesome volunteers always want the best for the community.

This week, the Ridleys along with GRACE staff took a walkthrough of the hosting venue, the Irving Convention Center. The goal of the walkthrough is for the committee chairs to have a clear visualization of how and where they want the different activities to be placed at. Also, they have a chance to meet the ICC staff and ask any questions that may arouse through their minds. The Irving Convention Center always provides excellent staffing to ensure the best quality service to their customers and we are truly grateful for our partnership with them.

The GRACE Gala committee is so much fun to work with. Everyone is so hardworking, encouraging and eager to find more ways for the community to support GRACE. The committee is always looking for dedicated members to join their team. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about the GRACE Gala Committee, please contact our Special Events Manager, Basha Ramsey, at bramsey@GRACEGrapevine.org. We would love to have you!

Our kick off meeting will take place at GRACE Main on Wednesday, May 25th at 9:00 a.m. Grab a friend who might be interested, and we’ll see you there!

Serving Clients with Special Dietary Needs

Food banks and pantries play a key role in supporting food security and contribute greatly to the dietary intake of families and individuals in all communities. Donations are critical in pantries having the ability to meet the needs of the people they serve! In recent years, there has been an increased focus on sourcing and supplying nutritional foods within the charitable food system. GRACE has already taken the first step in working toward offering a variety of options for our clients by using the client-choice service model that allows our clients to hand select food they know their family will eat. The GRACE Pantry is fortunate to have donations from many sources contributing to the overall availability of food including individual donations, corporate/organizational donations, local grocery and retail stores, and the Tarrant Area Food Bank.

Healthy food choices are always a focus of GRACE. The Pantry works alongside our GRACE Clinic to present Nutrition and Cooking classes that support overall healthier lifestyles for our clients. In addition, this year Tarrant Area Food Bank implemented a Nutrition Policy that prioritizes the sourcing and distribution of healthy food including the SWAP program. Supporting Wellness at Pantries (SWAP) is a stoplight nutrition ranking system designed to help promote healthy food choices at food banks and food pantries. It categorizes food as Green, Yellow, or Red, based on its nutrition value. GRACE supports and educates shoppers using this model.

One major component of healthy eating is fresh produce. The GRACE Community Garden provides close to 2000 pounds of fresh, organic produce for the Pantry each year. Fresh produce that is grown in donor gardens is also accepted at the Pantry as is ANY fresh produce that is purchased. Another healthier option for our shoppers is frozen vegetables and fruit! The nutritional content in frozen vs. canned food is substantially higher. Other “always needed items” include NON-GMO, low sodium base, gluten-free and organic items. Choosing items that look similar but are made from organic items are also in demand, for example, Chickpea Rotini Pasta or baked crackers made from vegetables or nuts are a great way to contribute to your local pantry.

GRACE is on a mission to fill their shelves with the healthiest options for our clients. Please consider donating to the GRACE Pantry. A needs list is included below. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Marcus Miranda, Pantry Manager, at mmiranda@GRACEGrapevine.org or 817-305-4677.

Kicking Off a Summer of Feed Our Kids!

Summer is near, which means one thing: the GRACE Feed Our Kids program is almost here! We are so excited about this year’s program, because we know many children will be able to grab a good bite to eat for lunch – and it’s all possible through the help of our wonderful volunteers.

The GRACE Feed Our Kids is a spring and summer program started in 2005 which provides lunches for children across the community at designated sites close to their homes. Most of the children qualify for reduced or free lunches at during the school year. Lunches are served by many individuals, civic groups, clubs, and organizations in the community.

This week was the Feed Our Kids Kickoff meeting. GRACE staff spoke about the success of this year’s spring break Feed Our Kids and how it generated a lot of buzz around the community, which is always great especially leading into the summer.

Feed Our Kids runs solely from our volunteers. Volunteers have a chance to serve at various sites for a day or a week. They participate in fun games and activities with the children, ensuring each child leaves with a smile of their face.

Feed Our Kids will officially begin on Monday May 30th and runs through August 12th. We still have shifts that need to be covered by you and your team. If you or an organization, group, club, team or anyone that you may know, would want to serve in our Feed Our Kids program, please contact Beth Chernik at bchernik@gracegrapevine.org now

2nd Annual Designer Bags & Bingo: A Smashing Success for Transitional Housing

With over 400 attendees, many fabulous designer bags and enough delicious food to go around, we can positively say that the second annual Designer Bags & Bingo benefiting Transitional Housing was a success.

Sam’s Pack Five Star Subaru of Grapevine once again hosted this wonderful event. From the moment guests entered the building, they were greeted by the handsome Bingo Gents, who would then escort them to the registration table. As you walk towards the back of the venue where the game was held, you were met with many activities to participate in, such as a selfie wall and a pie, prosecco and purse pull. All of that was just a start to all of the fun and friendly competition that was in store.

Event Co-Chair, Lynda Warner and CEO, Shonda Schaefer opened up the event by recognizing our presenting sponsor, Trusted Results Realty, and a heartwarming video of the GRACE Transitional Housing program. From there, the charming Bingo Gents began the parade of Bags. The gentlemen showed off the designer bags in some of the funniest ways. Whether it was a point and wink, or a goofy dance, these gentlemen knew how to work the crowd.

Next, it was time to play Bingo! As each round continued, attendees were served with some delicious gourmet food made by Ted Bilsky from Scratch Kitchen & Catering. Foods such as maple grilled cheese bites and strawberry shortcake made their way to everyone table.

After each round, the winner(s) received a golden ticket and the opportunity to take home the designer bag of their choice. The rounds became even more competitive when multiple attendees called out bingo simultaneously.

The 2022 Designer Bags & Bingo event was absolutely amazing. Everything from the décor to the event itself was truly fabulous. We thank everyone who attended, sponsored, and catered for this event. Another thanks goes to all of our wonderful volunteers who served in every capacity. From set up to take down and everything in between, we truly say thank you. Lastly, a very special thanks goes to our Designer Bags & Bingo committee, for spending countless hours of planning for this event. This event was successful because of your hard work and we appreciate you in so many ways. Thank you all who supported this event and we will see you next year for the 2023 Design Bags & Bingo event.

             

GRACE Staff Retreats for A Day!

The annual GRACE Staff Retreat is a cherished day of fellowship, personal growth and this year – some friendly competition. With rest and reflection as the focus, the goal of the day was to build community with each other, highlight individual strengths and provide visual reminders of how each staff member’s role plays a vital part in providing a continuum of care to each of our clients.

Staff members spent the day doing a variety of activities ranging from therapeutic crafts to a full-blown scavenger hunt.

We began our morning with a visit from The House of Shine who helped each staff member reflect on what made them their strongest, most successful version of themselves so they could better shine their light in the community. House of Shine provided several creative ways to recognize our individual strengths and encourage others in the process.

After lunch, the GRACE staff took to Main Street with their historical Grapevine-themed list of items. The winning team may or may not have had the advantage of the local 16-year Grapevine resident and GRACE CEO Shonda Schaefer, but it just depends on who you ask.

Having a whole day set aside allowed everyone to pause and learn things about each other that we wouldn’t know when passing each other in the halls. Just as the body of Christ requires many parts to function as one, it also requires that those parts be in good condition and work in unison.

GRACE extends its appreciation to all who participated in the retreat and, of course, our wonderful committee for planning and executing such an enjoyable day. A big thank you goes out to our local Main Street businesses specifically for allowing our enthusiastic staff members to flood your busy stores! Your cooperation and friendly smiles made this a true highlight of the day.

May God continue to guide this agency through his people as we look to take care of those who are struggling!

                                 

   

Tarrant Area Food Bank Honors the GRACE Food Pantry

The GRACE Food Pantry does an incredible job at making sure our clients get the right food and necessities to take home to their families. That is why we are so honored to receive this year’s Pounds per Family award from Tarrant Area Food Bank.

Last week the Tarrant Area Food Bank hosted a Partner Agency conference at the Met Church in Fort Worth. The conference was attended by many food banks and pantries across Tarrant County including GRACE. The theme of the conference was “Convene, Connect and Engage”, and it highlighted capacity building throughout many food banks throughout Tarrant County. The conference also presented strong tips that each agency could use to modernize their programs.

During the awards portion of the conference, Community Impact’s Vice President, Vicky Martinez, presented GRACE with the award of distributing the Most Pounds per Family in Tarrant County. “The GRACE Food Pantry is always looking for more ways to give back to families across the community,” said Tarrant Area Food Bank Agency Services Coordinator, Klaressa Broughton. “It shows in this awesome award.”

Over the past year, GRACE was able to serve over 148 pound of food per family. A special thank you goes to our amazing volunteers and donors who help give back to the community. Another thanks goes to the Tarrant Area Food Bank for putting on another successful conference, highlighting the important aspects of capacity building.

For more information on how you can be a part of the GRACE Food Pantry please visit GRACEGrapevine.org. We are currently experiencing a shortage of paper goods such as toilet paper and paper towels. If you or someone you know is wishing to donate, these would be a great place to start!