The good people at Arlington Charities have had a busy spring. Besides the usual organized chaos of serving hundreds of families a week, the agency recently hosted a luncheon to show their volunteers a little love. Later a special birthday was celebrated with one of the agency’s founders.
Around 60 volunteers were treated to a tasty lunch at the Pantego Lions Club community center. As a symbol for helping plant seeds of hope with families served by the agency, a seed packet was presented to each volunteer.
“Arlington Charities is indebted to our volunteers for their wholehearted and steadfast service,” said Executive Director Deborah Coppola. “It takes a dedicated team to accomplish our mission. It’s only through the help of our volunteers that we can serve those in need throughout the city of Arlington.”
Special guest speaker at the luncheon was Arlington Councilwoman Victoria Farrar-Myers. “Victoria’s speech was inspirational, charging our volunteers to remember that even the smallest of actions can change a life,” said Coppola.
Festivities continued later at the Fort Worth Botanical Garden when friends gathered to celebrate the 100th birthday of one of Arlington Charities’ founders, Thelma Swindell. Mrs. Swindell credits 30 hours of exercise per week and eating well as the key to longevity, Coppola said.
“As one of the original visionaries of Arlington Charities, Thelma is responsible for laying the foundation of our current mission,” said Coppola. “It began as a mobile service, providing food out of her car for the neediest in Arlington. She partnered with the ministerial association to create what would become Arlington Charities.”
In other Arlington Charities news, the 25th annual Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive on Thursday brought a bounty of much-needed foods. “Postal workers in the city of Arlington collected food from residents and brought them to First Christian Church where Arlington Charities volunteers worked late into the night sorting the donated goods,” said Coppola.
Last year, Arlington Charities provided more than $2 million in food assistance and distributed 2,400 bags of groceries to elderly and disabled people through its supplemental food program. They provide clothing to needy families and handed out holiday food boxes to nearly 600 families. Check out the agency’s website at www.ArlingtonCharities.org for details on how to volunteer or donate to the organization or call Coppola at 817-275-1511.
Boys & Girls Clubs branch receives makeover
Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams welcomed more than 100 volunteers from across the country recently at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington branch at 2011 Wynn Terrace for the Day of Service celebrated during the organization’s national conference. The Arlington branch was one of four in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to benefit from the project.
“Thanks to the support of partners like Major League Baseball, Lowe’s and Domino’s, local clubs received much-needed improvements such as painting, updated technology, teen center renovations and more,” said a Boys & Girls Clubs spokesman.
At the Arlington club, four areas were transformed to help the site serve kids and teens who depend on Boys & Girls Clubs as a source of help. The learning center/technology lab and gymnasium were improved and updated. A new STEM room for teens and a small recreational area to help with recruitment efforts were also created. Volunteers painted, cleaned walls, buffed floors and assembled tech equipment and furniture. New carpet and LED lighting added the finishing touch.
This was the second year for the Day of Service project. Boys & Girls Clubs staff and supporters extended their impact by giving their time at the North Texas Food Bank and at Mosaic Family Services. Inquire about the program with Nadia DiStefano at 817-275-6551, ext. 228.
Hawkins Cemetery receives historical marker
History buffs will want to visit the sight of the latest Arlington landmark to receive an official Texas historical marker. In special ceremonies earlier this month, the Hawkins Cemetery, 5301 U.S. 287, was awarded the honor by the Texas Historical Commission.
“The Official Texas Historical Marker program helps bring attention to community treasures and the importance of their preservation,” said Mark Wolfe, executive director of the commission. “Awareness and education are among the best ways to guarantee the preservation of our state’s history. This designation is a tool that will increase public awareness of important cultural resources.”
Hawkins Cemetery dates to the 1860s and is named for Harvey Hawkins, who settled in Texas after moving from Tennessee. The oldest marked grave in the cemetery is that of Mary Ann Elizabeth Hawkins, who died in 1868. Harvey Hawkins, her husband, was buried near her grave the next year.
Texas reportedly has the largest marker program in the U.S. with about 15,000 markers. Check out details at www.thc.state.tx.us or call the commission at 512-463-5853. Learn more about the history of the cemetery at www.HawkinsCemetery.com.