Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

Eyes on Arlington: Margarita Ball and Arlington Life Shelter event will help struggling families

The Arlington Life Shelter will hold its Home for the Holidays gala Dec. 1.
The Arlington Life Shelter will hold its Home for the Holidays gala Dec. 1. Courtesy photo

Two terrific nonprofit organizations are launching the holiday season with their annual fundraising parties. The Margarita Ball on Saturday and the Home for the Holidays gala on Dec. 1 both belong on your social calendar. Both are established events that get good reviews from guests and score high on helping a worthy cause.

Margarita Ball on Saturday collects toys for local children

After more than three decades of hosting the Margarita Gala & Charity Ball, the guys of the Arlington Margarita Society are pros at throwing a fabulous party that gathers a mountain of toys for needy children in Arlington. The event is set for Saturday at the Arlington Convention Center.

Guests at the annual affair don their fanciest cocktail party attire and enjoy hors d’oeuvres, casino games with amazing prizes, a wonderful silent auction and dancing to the great music of Party City band. Of course, the signature margaritas will be served throughout the evening. And two giant screens will keep football fans up to the minute on college football action.

“The purpose of the event has remained constant for 34 years — help those children who are less fortunate by providing them gifts at Christmas time,” said board Chairman Don Duke. “This is accomplished by asking each attendee to bring a new, unwrapped toy with a $30 minimum value or make a donation of at least $30 at the door to gain entrance into the gala.”

The Margarita Society partners with the Arlington Police Association and Santa Cops so that kids attending Arlington schools who need extra support get the toys collected at the ball. Santa Cops say the greatest need is toys for kids ages 8 to 12, and they request no bicycles be given at this event.

In addition to toys for younger children, needs for younger teens include portable DVD players, MP3 and video players and digital cameras. Other preferred toys are dolls, stuffed toys, book collections, games, learning toys, electronic toys, balls and athletic equipment.

Kudos to the 41 directors of the organization whose personal contributions along with sponsors fund the party expenses. New directors this year Mike Gerro, Mark Shelton, Robert Shepard and Zack Boonjue.

“Something new this year is the whiskey wagon raffle. The winner can stock their bar with premium bottles,” said Duke. Raffle tickets will be sold at the ball.

“We are grateful to our loyal friends who gather each year at the Margarita Ball to kick off the holiday season,” said Duke, who has been a part of the group for 19 years. “I love to take a break from sights and sounds of the party fun and slow down for a good long look at the toys amassed and just realize what happens because of the generous spirit of a lot of nice people.”

Guests must be at least 21 and must present an invitation to be admitted. Request your invitation by contacting one of the Margarita Society directors. Details are at, or call Duke at 817-462-4200.

Home for the Holidays gala to aid homeless

Hundreds of folks in the holiday spirit will fill the ballroom at the Arlington Sheraton Hotel on Dec. 1 to enjoy a gala event while raising money for the Arlington Life Shelter. Festivities include cocktails, dinner and live and silent auctions along with holiday music.

Home for the Holidays is absolutely the perfect name for the annual fundraiser whose purpose is just that: to help residents at the shelter find their way back to a home and all that that entails.

“The generosity of people attending our Home for the Holidays event enables the Life Shelter to provide vital services to our homeless residents ... programs that pave the way for them to achieve self-sufficiency,” said Executive Director Becky Orander. “More than providing temporary housing, the funds raised empower those who are homeless to thrive in work, in school and deal with life’s challenges after they leave the shelter.”

In charge of party arrangements is Kellie Reichert, director of donor services, with help from committee members Debbie Michell, Holly Hattendorf, Jill Regina, Penny Reichert, Rebekah Garner and Kayla Haun.

Jenny Anchondo, Fox 4 news anchor, will host the occasion. A jazz quartet will entertain guests along with Christmas carols sung by children from the shelter.

Auction swag includes luxurious vacation trips, a golf outing at Dallas National and other attractive gifts and services. A crawfish boil for 50 guests and a shrimp boil for 25 are likely to attract some competitive bidding. Besides the auctions, a gift card tree and wine pull will be popular activities at the event, where winners take home a nice vintage and dining and spa outings.

New this year is an exciting game sponsored by Gino’s East where guests can win 10 times the amount of a donation they make at the party. A spotlight moment during the evening will be a drawing for the deluxe edition of the Big Green Egg with all the accessories. Raffle tickets are available for anyone in the community who wants a chance at the fabulous prize, and the winner does not have to be present.

“We are so grateful to everyone who chooses to support this seventh year of our event because they want to see families make their way back to a brighter future,” Orander said.

Admission is $75 per person, and only a few tickets remain. Purchase online at or call Reichert at 817-548-9885, ext. 2116.

Giving ornament to benefit Boys & Girls Clubs

Back for an encore after a wildly successful debut last Christmas is Gene Allen Gifts’ second annual Gift of Giving ornament. Once again the Arlington retailer is donating $2 from the sale of each ornament to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington.

The beautifully designed pewter ornament is second in a series and is fashioned with a collection of tiny hearts in the shape of a tree. Engraved on the front is “The Heart of Christmas” and on the back the sentiment “a grateful heart is a happy heart” is inscribed. It is presented on a card that describes the youth programs of Boys & Girls Clubs so that it can conveniently be given as a gift.

“Gene Allen’s is excited to be partnering again for the second year with Arlington Boys & Girls Clubs because we feel they are making a significant difference in the lives of thousands of boys and girls who may not otherwise have access to the support they need to succeed,” said store owner Connie Gauntt. “This was such a successful fundraiser last year, selling over 540 of these ornaments.”

Ornaments will be offered at a special price of $3.99 Nov. 23-27 at Gene Allen Gifts located at 1638 W. Randol Mill Road and 255 SW Plaza. Shoppers will also get a 20 percent discount off anything in the store at the time of purchase.

“We are so honored to be able to partner with Gene Allen’s again this year,” said Boys & Girls Clubs spokeswoman Nadia DiStefano. “Last year the ornaments sold out in days, so we encourage everyone to go out and pick up theirs as soon as they can.”

DiStefano can be reached at 817-275-6551, ext. 228, to answer questions. Learn more about the charity at

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