Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

Eyes on Arlington: Western-style fun at upcoming Arlington Urban Ministries fundraiser

Doyle Mackey and Beth Owens at the 2014 fundraiser for Arlington Urban Ministries.
Doyle Mackey and Beth Owens at the 2014 fundraiser for Arlington Urban Ministries. Courtesy photo

Happy Wednesday, community lovers! Some of my favorite charities are featured in this week’s column, and I’ve also got the inside scoop on a whale of a sale benefiting another one of my favorite organizations, the Arlington Public Library. Let’s get the ball rolling with a look at the work of one very important Arlington organization:

Time to two-step for a good cause

Boots, Chaps and Cowboy Hats promises a night of Western-style fun, inspiration

Before I tell you about the upcoming fundraiser for Arlington Urban Ministries, I want to share some background about this group of quiet heroes:

Originally formed in the early 2000s as a collaboration of local Methodist churches, Arlington Urban Ministries is an ecumenical faith-based organization supported by many denominations, community organizations and just plain folk, all united in a simple but important cause: They help low-income households avoid eviction, hunger and loss of utilities in situations when money is tight or nonexistent.

Many of the thousands of Arlington residents they help every year — with emergency cash assistance, fresh food, household staples, case management and referrals — are unemployed. Or maybe they’re disabled, elderly, dealing with a housing or medical crisis or struggling to live on low-wage jobs.

“Our goal is keep people in their homes with their utilities connected while they're working towards self-sufficiency,” said Jennifer Weber, the group’s executive director. “Arlington’s working-poor families struggle as they live paycheck to paycheck. On the financial edge, they juggle limited resources — paying for gas to get to work sometimes means there is not enough money to buy food. For these vulnerable families, a brief illness, an urgent car repair or a layoff can suddenly bring them face to face with a crisis like eviction or the cutoff of their electricity or water.”

Lend a hand, and have fun while you do. Fans of Arlington Urban Ministries have a Texas-size good time in store for them at the group’s upcoming shindig, set for next month in the Fort Worth Stockyards.

The evening will include a delicious dinner buffet by Randy’s BBQ, live music by the always popular Texas country band Zach Coffey & The Grind, a wine pull and a cash bar — plus the chance to shop an auction that’s offering a Texas Rangers suite and a 5-acre vacation escape in beautiful Granbury.

“The program, which will be emceed by WFAA’s Jim Douglas, will include a personal story from one of our clients and honor four Arlington students for their volunteer service in our community,” said Weber. Those students are Joshua Clayton, Zach McVeigh, Cera Masters and Paulina Monternach Rivera.

When: 5 p.m. April 10 (The VIP reception kicks off at 4.) Attire: Denim, diamonds and boots. Tickets: $65. Venue: River Ranch Stockyards in Fort Worth (500 NE 23rd St.) Event chairs: JoAnna Messimer and Meghan Phillips. Learn more: or 817-861-8585.

We’re gonna need some bigger shelves

For bibliophiles, the Friends of the Arlington Public Library Spring Book Sale is an absolute must

Every year about this time, my more responsible self drops by to give me a stern lecture that goes something like this: “Rhonda. you DO NOT have the room or the time for any more books. Yeah, you heard me. Didn’t you recently burn an entire Saturday reading when you were supposed to be cleaning house? Isn’t that a HUGE pile of unread books waiting next to your bed? Didn’t you swear off buying any more until you finished everything? Aren’t you — hey, where are you going?”

So sorry, Responsible Rhonda, but I’m headed out to the Friends of the Arlington Public Library Spring Book Sale no matter what you say. I mean, seriously — a huge wall-to-wall treasure hunt of volumes old and new, rare and surprising? And they’re all for sale at a discount? And the proceeds benefit the library system that loaned me nearly everything I read as a child? No way I’m missing that action. In fact, just thinking about the sale makes me impatient for the moment when I’ll finally stagger up to the cash register, make my purchases and then head home to put out the “do not disturb” sign before diving into my new finds. The housework can wait!

Brother and sister book lovers, I know you feel the same way, so I’m here to share some important details about this spring’s event. But don’t my generosity fool you — if I spot you at the sale toting around something that I want, I won’t hesitate to wrestle you to the ground.

When: 3-7 p.m. March 30 Members Night (memberships available at the door), 3 to 7 p.m. March 31, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 1 and 2, and 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. April 3. Venue: Meadowbrook Recreation Center (1400 E. Dugan St.) Event chair: Wayne Halliburton. Find out more:

For payment, bring your checkbook, cash, or credit card. Everything’s half price the final day of the sale. Bonus: Teachers and nonprofit employees (with IDs) can take “all you can carry” for a suggested $5 flat donation after closing on April 3 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

The sale is expected to feature a staggering 60,000 books in about 50 categories, plus records, tapes, CDs, DVDs and collectibles.

Don’t dawdle if you’re in the market for juvenile and young adult books. They tend to sell out fast.

The “Best in Sale” department will offer a large number of rare and collectible volumes, works by Texas authors, current bestsellers at low prices, a collection of comic books from 1992-93 and other jewels.

New this year: The “Oldies But Goodies” section, containing works of fiction written before 1989.

Declared longtime Friends of the Arlington Public Library volunteer Cathy Dietz: “This sale will contain the largest number of volumes in the history of our semiannual events — and we are still boxing incoming items.”

At a glance

▪ Magnificent music: Celebrate the spiritual side of the Easter season at the Arlington Master Chorale spring concert, which marks the group’s 42nd season. Led by Randy Jordan, the 100-voice chorale will present two requiem masses, accompanied by a 27-piece orchestra that includes harp and organ. When: 7:30 p.m. March 31 and April 1. Venue: Trinity United Methodist Church (1200 W. Green Oaks Blvd.). Tickets: $8-$20. Learn more:

▪ 20 years of HOPE: If you want to feel good about the way you spent one of your Saturday nights this spring, pick up a couple of tickets for the Night of HOPE Gala, benefiting HOPE Tutoring Center’s one-on-one academic programs provided to low-income youngsters. Besides celebrating 20 years of the group’s wonderful contributions to Arlington kids, the evening promises dinner, an auction, and remarks by Vistasp Karbhari, UT Arlington's president. Betsy Holschuh is the organization’s executive director. Date: 6:30 April 9. Venue: Trinity United Methodist Church. Tickets: $45. Learn more:

▪ Third annual Arlington Bass Classic, sponsored by Arlington Parks and Recreation, offers the chance to arise at an ungodly hour, hang with fellow anglers and win up to $23,000 in prizes. (In related news, I’ve recently begun fishing lessons.) Date and time: 7 a.m. April 9 (Check-in begins at 5:30 a.m.) Registration: $60 for individuals or a team of two. One boat per team. Learn more:

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