The folks at 6 Stones don’t let the grass grow under their feet. The charity, which serves people in need of food and clothing and emergency social services, is constantly in motion as it hosts community events and spearhead initiatives.
Two recent events — the Black & Blue Food Drive and the grand opening/ribbon-cutting of the New Hope Expansion Center — were milestones for the charity.
The Black and Blue Food Drive is a friendly three-week competition among schools in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford school district where each campus collects its own supply of canned and boxed food to donate to the 6 Stones food pantry. Since the competition began five years ago, nearly 278,000 food items have been donated.
Winners from four levels — district overall, high school, junior high and elementary — receive a $1,000 check from 6 Stones based on the most items donated per student. Hurst Junior High, River Trails Elementary and L. D. Bell High School were this year’s winning schools, and the “Blue” overall district winner was Bell.
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Steven Jones from 6 Stones said this year set a record for contributions by weight, hauling in more than 51,000 pounds, a 10,000-pound increase over the previous record.
In other 6 Stones news, the recently expanded New Hope Center opened this month with ribbon-cutting festivities and an open house attended by local dignitaries and dozens of supporters. Tours of the new facility were conducted throughout the morning.
Ashley King from 6 Stones said the new space will enable the charity to serve more people, more comfortably, as they visit the clothing and food pantry. It will also make room for additional key volunteer staff roles that are greatly needed. A new community room was also established in the expansion project.
“The community room will be used in many ways,” King said. “We will be opening up that space for several social service agencies to come set up shop, so to speak, and help serve our guests with their services. Our guests have needs beyond food and clothing, and during their time with us we want to be able to offer other services to them.”
The New Hope Center has origins going back 25 years when it first operated as a clothing closet at First Baptist Church in Euless. Over the years, the needs grew, and canned and dried foods were also offered. 6 Stones began operating the program in 2009 and soon moved the operation into a converted warehouse space and created the New Hope Center. In 2012, 6 Stones added a community garden and began offering more food enabled by a generous donation of a walk-in freezer.
“This space will allow us to increase in our capacity in many ways. We look forward to what’s ahead and are so thankful to be a part of the H-E-B community,” King said. Learn more about the new facility and the agency at www.6Stones.org.
Social Innovators to be featured at Kernal Live! event Wednesday
Six local organizations will vie for $10,000 in seed money by pitching their creative solutions to local social problems in front of community investors and a live audience on Tuesday at an event dubbed “Kernel Live!” The public is invited to attend.
Sponsored by the United Way of Tarrant County, which includes the Bedford-based Northeast United Way, the event will take place at the Four Day Weekend Theatre, 312 Houston St. in Fort Worth. The groups will be presenting their ideas for startup initiatives that provide solutions to local challenges in the areas of education, income and health.
“We’re excited to begin this journey in social innovation with our finalists,” said David Frederick, vice president of marketing and communications at United Way of Tarrant County.
The event, which resembles the reality show Shark Tank, was started to find new solutions to local social problems by bringing together a cross-section of individuals, organizations, nonprofits, for-profits and entrepreneurs. Partners include TechFW and IDEA Works FW.
The panel will listen to each pitch, ask questions, and collectively determine the idea’s potential for success. At the end of the evening, the panel will announce who will receive the seed funding. Innovative ideas include establishing a pilot program for a children’s savings account program, a monthly subscription for kids ages 6-10 offering career path activities, a school program to combat bullying, a suicide prevention program for seniors, employment opportunities for the homeless and a software facial recognition project to be used in law enforcement.
An opening reception will offer guests a cash bar followed by the live-pitch event. Later guests will enjoy live entertainment by popular comedy group Four Day Weekend.
General admission tickets are $45, VIP tickets are $75 and student tickets are $25. Seating is limited. Purchase at www.unitedwaytarrant.org/kernellive.
The Heart of North Texas Business Conference on Nov. 4 is chaired by Allen Goben, president of Tarrant County College Northeast Campus. The campus was incorrectly identified in last week’s column.