What began as a community outreach effort at Grace Presbyterian Church 12 years ago to provide food for Arlington children in need has now morphed into an active nonprofit organization called New Day that serves students in more than 30 schools in Arlington.
New Day’s mission is simple: provide weekend meals for kids who are either hungry or food insecure (those who do not consistently have nutritious food available). To achieve this goal, the organization works with school counselors to identify children in need and delivers bags of nonperishable food to various campuses each week. The bags are discreetly distributed to the kids so they have sufficient food for the weekend until they return to school each Monday.
Arlington resident Cheryl Raley is on the New Day board of directors where she has worked for the all-volunteer group for the past eight years. “When I first started volunteering we were providing about 40 bags a week. This year we are up to nearly 400 bags per week,” Raley said. “These food bags are delivered by our volunteer drivers to elementary, middle schools and high schools.”
Board members include President Mike McCoy, Ann Pennington, Jack Daniel Boger, Tom Denny, Elizabeth Johnson Pense, Betty Sicks, Joan Smith and Dick Townsend.
Making all this happen requires financial support as well as a sizable volunteer workforce. Three Arlington churches — Grace Presbyterian, Westminster Presbyterian and Trinity Methodist — are production sites where the bags are assembled, and their combined capacity could deliver as many as 900 bags each week. Besides packing food bags, other volunteers serve as delivery drivers and food shoppers.
“An elementary child will tell their teacher they are hungry, and they usually have no qualms about saying they have no food at home,” said Raley. “Our older students are a bit different. Some will ask for the help but it’s usually a friend who will tell the teacher or counselor that a student is couch surfing or sleeping in their car.”
According to Raley, a typical bag might contain tuna salad kits, vienna sausage, microwavable pasta, juice boxes, shelf milk, cereal, oatmeal, fruit, gelatin and pudding cups as well as plastic ware. The cost per bag is around $6 or 7.
For those who want to get involved, Raley said financial contributions and volunteer support are always welcome. “To spread the word, involve your church, your Sunday school class, your bridge group, your civic group or your business.” New Day volunteers are willing to visit any local group wanting more information.
“I feel a sense of responsibility to continue my work with New Day to help make the lives better for our children,” Raley said. “These children are our future. They need to know that we care and want to see them thrive. Children can’t do well in school if they are hungry.”
To learn more, visit www.NewDayArlington.org or check out the group’s Facebook page or call 682-238-0338.
Arlington Women’s Golf Association seeks former members to help celebrate 65th anniversary
The Arlington Women’s Golf Association is reaching out to the community to locate former members. The club will celebrate its 65th anniversary on Aug. 25 with a luncheon at Tierra Verde Golf Club.
“We especially want to reach and invite all past members of AWGA to join our current members at this luncheon,” said Janet Wickstrom, who is in charge of the event.
Wickstrom said the luncheon festivities will include a proclamation from Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams focusing on the club as the oldest organized golf club in the city. Club members enjoy organized play every Monday rotating between Lake Arlington golf course and the Mansfield National course while the Chester Ditto course is being renovated.
Following an 11 a.m. meet-and-greet time, guests at the event will enjoy the luncheon and program. Make reservations by Aug. 16 to attend (tickets are $15). For information, contact Wickstrom at 817-275-8100 or Dottie Hughes at 817-265-0659.
Arlington Woman’s Club ends year on a high note
Before their summer break, 150 members of the Arlington Woman’s Club gathered at their headquarters to celebrate a successful club year, install new officers, hand out service awards and distribute charitable grants.
In what is always a highlight of the year, presentations were made to the club’s designated charity and to the scholarship fund. This year’s charitable beneficiary was Arlington nonprofit Helping Restore Ability. A check for nearly $6,000 was presented to Executive Director Debbie McGee to help the agency continue valuable services to the disabled.
Sue Mattlage, chairwoman of the club’s scholarship committee, accepted a check for $13,587 to go for scholarships for Arlington school district graduating seniors. The money for the two grants was raised primarily at the charity’s annual Philanthropy Dinner and from contributions from various club departments and members.
In a separate presentation, three club members were honored for extraordinary contributions to the club and the surrounding community. Barbara Castano received the AWC Award, Vicki King was given the Cooper Award, and the President’s Award went to Suzette Christopher.
During a clever ceremony, Kathryn Carlile creatively capitalized the “Reach for the Stars” theme chosen by the incoming President Carolyn Jolly to playfully install each new officer. Other officers are Elouise Perry, Johnette Tingley, Doris Short, Patti Bryant, Shirley Simpson, Barbara Castano, and Carol Tieman.
About the theme chosen, Jolly said: “We have reached lots of stars in our community throughout the years, and we have many more to reach and support.”
Check out the club website at www.awctx.org or visit its Facebook page for more details. Women interested in exploring membership can visit an open house for prospective members on Nov. 18 at 10 a.m. at the headquarters, 1515 W. Abram St. Call the office at 817-277-7666 to make inquiries.
Arlington ISD Education Foundation tops $2 million in grants to classrooms
An impressive milestone was reached recently by the Arlington ISD Education Foundation. With the awarding of more than $255,000 in classroom grants last spring, the nonprofit topped the $2 million point in funding academic initiatives.
“Our level of support has grown where we surpassed $700,000 in giving back to the AISD just in the last three fiscal years,” said foundation board President Chad Bates. “This year, we are privileged to award a record-breaking monetary amount in grants and academic initiatives, offering our district’s teachers and students the opportunity to engage in innovative educational experiences.”
The latest round of grants funded health occupation/wellness and sports medicine students, a pre-K3 initiative, job readiness programs in the career and technical center, and STEM-related projects.
“It is exciting to witness our community actively engaging in education by supporting our Education Foundation,” said Arlington schools Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos. “We are grateful for this organization’s overwhelming support so that we can offer quality educational opportunities for our 62,000-plus students.”
According to foundation Executive Director Brian White, 70 percent of Arlington’s student population is economically disadvantaged with a median household income of $24,000 or less. “We are so grateful for our community’s investment in public education and for them to recognize this need,” he said.