It’s that time of year when thoughts of home are top of mind for many people. For some, the holidays signal a time to go ‘home’ to visit family and friends. For others, preparations are being made to welcome ‘home’ loved ones from out of town.
But for the homeless living in our midst, just finding a safe place to stay and a way back to stability is their daily reality. One way to help those experiencing homelessness is to buy a ticket or a table for the annual gala fundraiser that the Arlington Life Shelter will host on Dec. 7 at the Sheraton Arlington Hotel.
The festive evening will include a dinner preceded by a cocktail hour where guests can shop a silent auction while they mingle and participate in a wine pull, gift card tree and raffle. Funds raised will help provide for the children and families served by ALS.
“This event is a great way to kick off the holiday season while supporting the children’s programming and operating expenses during the winter months at the Life Shelter,” said Kellie Reichert, Director of Donor Services. “Our auction and raffle will have lots of opportunities to find a gift for your home or for someone on your shopping list.”
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Aptly themed “Home for the Holidays,” the party will feature music by The Professors, a jazz ensemble from UTA, and Christmas songs performed by the shelter kids. Fox 4 newswoman Jenny Anchondo will lend her celebrity image as she again serves as emcee for the night. A memorable moment during the evening will come from a former shelter resident whose powerful story will illustrate how the Arlington Life Shelter is helping to write a different future for those they serve.
Executive Director Becky Orander said the funds raised will help local children and families have a safe place to stay with access to healthy meals and a warm shower.
“Many Arlington families are being forced to live in their cars due to eviction or simply being unable to afford a house or apartment in the first place. Rental rates are at an all-time high, but wages have stayed about the same,” Orander said. “The result is that more families are vulnerable to homelessness — many for the first time in their lives.”
Chief among the fun ways to raise money at the event is the raffle for a fully-accessorized Big Green Egg. And in the auction, generous bidders can compete for a trip to Napa or a 3-day New York excursion including tickets to see Billie Joel. A private concert by country artist Deryl Dodd complete with dinner for 30 guests is rumored to be up for bid at the event. All sorts of sports memorabilia and themed packages will round out the auction swag.
So far in November, the shelter has been home for an average of 35 men, 23 women, and 18 children each night. Shelter officials say that every night they have to turn away as many as ten women and 12 children. To combat this, a $4.2 million capital campaign to build a 15,000 square foot two-story facility connected to the current shelter (which will also be renovated) is underway.
“The project will allow for a 40% increase in beds for families, women, and children, enhanced space and programming for children, classroom and computer lab space for employment training, expanded kitchen and dining facilities, and space for residents to remain in the shelter when not at work,” said Jim Reeder, Director of Community Development. “The overall impact of the project will be to help our homeless residents return to self-sufficiency more quickly and with more skills.”
Veterans of the Home for the Holidays event know the special vibe felt at the party is the satisfaction of helping change the course of someone’s life – all while enjoying some holiday festivities. A longtime ALS supporter is Arlington resident Steve Zimmer who said in an interview for the agency newsletter, “You are providing a needed service to your community. This isn’t just a landing place — it gets our neighbors to improve themselves.”
Tickets for the Dec. 7 Home for Holidays event are $100 per person. Make reservations by calling Reichert at 817-548-9885 or purchase at www.ArlingtonLifeShelter.org.
Mansfield homes will open for holiday tours on Dec. 3
Five gorgeous homes in Mansfield and Rendon will open their doors for tours on Dec. 3 from 1-5 p.m. Hosted by the Mansfield Women’s Club, the tour will allow a peek inside the homes that will be elaborately decorated for the holidays.
“This is one of the most popular events in town, now attended by second and third generations,” said club spokeswoman Marilyn Gerloff. Many friends will cross paths during the tour.”
Proceeds from the tour will support local charities including Child Advocacy, All Star Equestrian, Harvesting International Ministry, and the women’s wing at Mansfield Methodist among many other non-profits serving women and children.
Co-chairs of the event are Launa Barboza and Kathleen Powers. A special Holiday Raffle is planned along with the home tour where four lucky winners of a drawing will be the proud owners of a diamond earring set, two $500 gift cards, or a dining package for 8 guests.
Tickets are $10 and available at each home or in advance at Raymond’s Liquor Store, and winners need not be present to win. Homes on the tour are in beautiful neighborhoods and include a couple of stunning traditional-style homes, a modern sprawling ranch style, one that is reminiscent of an English country estate and a beautiful house with a Tuscan flavor. Photos of the homes are available for preview at www.mansfieldwomensclub.com. Tourists are sure to get lots of decorating ideas as they explore inside each home.
Tour tickets are $25 and may be purchased at Tom Thumb on Walnut Creek Drive and at Poured wine bar on Debbie Lane in Mansfield. Direct inquiries to or call Kathleen Powers at 817-932-2329.
Amos Lee concert will benefit Mansfield ISD arts programs
Singer and songwriter Amos Lee will perform at the MISD Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. His stop in Mansfield is one of many during the artist’s national solo tour.
“Please join Tonya and me in supporting the Mansfield Independent School District,” said Mansfield Mayor David Cook in a news statement.
“What a great opportunity for our MISD high school show choirs, as they will be featured in the opening act,” Cook said. “All proceeds will benefit the MISD Center Arts Program, which brings in art performances and cultural events to the students of MISD and the community.”
Amos will perform many of his hits from the past as well as some from his most recent album, Spirit, debuted on the Billboard top rock albums chart at No. 3. Tickets can be purchased at center.mansfieldisd.org or by calling the Center at 817-299-1230.
Events at a glance:
Hometown Holidays Celebration is Dec 1 from 5-9 p.m. in Mansfield. Festivities include the annual tree lighting festival with free games, market shopping, reindeer petting zoo, live music, chainsaw ice sculptor and, of course, Santa. The 28-ft tall tree outside City Hall (1200 E Broad St.) will be lit at 6:30 p.m., followed immediately by a huge fireworks show.
Hometown Holidays Parade is Dec 2 at 2 p.m. in downtown Mansfield. The parade will honor Hometown Heroes and will include marching bands, classic cars and more. Mansfield's Music Place Children's Theatre will perform “Annie Jr in the middle of Main Street at noon for early parade goers to enjoy as they wait. Contact Ann Beck at 817-804-5766 to inquire.
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