Holidays

Serve Denton With Your Creativity in the New Year

A new year brings new possibilities, opportunities, and resolutions that (admit it) we’ll all probably break at some point. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still strive to improve yourself and your community early and often in 2017, and volunteering is the perfect place to start. Maybe you’re looking for a new place to put in volunteer hours, or maybe you just want to mix things up a bit. There are endless ways to serve Denton, and as an artistic city, we pride ourselves on the theater, film, and music that happen all around us. As we welcome another trip around the sun, let’s highlight some ways to support and Denton arts in the new year.

 

The Campus Theatre

This historic bastion of Denton culture is always looking for helping hands on any number of the productions it puts on year-round. Interested in graphic design? Call, email (or walk to) the theatre and offer your assistance! What about costume creation or set construction? Those activities are available for volunteers, too! It’s almost always showtime at The Campus Theatre, and you can be a part of the big production

 

SCRAP Denton

This gem inspires Denton residents of all ages to adopt creative, environmentally friendly sustainable behaviors, and you can be a part of their ongoing mission to keep Denton and the world as green as possible. Help out in the store on Bell Avenue by assisting the team with organizing, packaging, and pricing, or join the community engagement and street team to spread the word about SCRAP! The environmental organization also allows volunteers to assist with birthday parties and other special events. To learn more about this unique nonprofit, visit their website at scrapdenton.org.

 

Greater Denton Arts Council

Want to support Denton art but unsure of where to begin? GDAC is the place for you. Brush up your interpersonal skills while becoming an expert with the docent program, or volunteer to work at special events! If you’re up for it, the Council also accepts interns every semester. Learn more at dentonarts.com/volunteer.

 

Festivals

If none of the above do the trick for you, or if you want to support the arts but are too slammed to offer more than a weekend, then there are two festivals this spring that just might be the perfect fit for you.

 

Denton Arts and Jazz Festival

The Arts and Jazz Fest (April 28-30) is dedicated to introducing arts to children, and you can be a vital part of that mission by helping teach sculpture and drawing classes in the children’s art area! Go to dentonjazzfest.com to learn more about that and other service opportunities at the festival.

 

Thin Line Fest

Thinline.us has a detailed list of all the diverse ways festival volunteers can lend a hand to this year’s free fest (April 19-23). Those opportunities include designing posters and other materials, assisting with venue management, helping with video and photography at the event itself, and many more! The ever-evolving Thin Line merges photography with music and film to put on the ultimate art show, and you can merge your specific skill set with your passion for local and national art to help put on one heck of a show!

Denton will keep on hummin’ (and painting and filming) in 2017, and the time is now for you to be a part of the music! While you think about those resolutions, remember to consider the many ways you can give back to our town.

 

Blog Author: Serve Denton Communication Committee Member Tyler Hicks

Subaru Shares the Love with Serve Denton

This Christmas season, Huffines Subaru Denton chose Serve Denton as the local charity of choice for their 2016 “Share the Love” campaign! From November 17, 2016, to January 3, 2017, Subaru will donate $250 to Serve Denton for each Subaru vehicle sold or leased at Huffines Subaru Denton located at 5150 S I-35 Exit 461, Denton, TX 76210. 15272259_1157198051038775_201977206220257453_o

More Ways Subaru Will Support

 

Huffines Subaru Denton has been a supporter of Serve Denton since 2015. Along with generously contributing financially to Serve Denton, Subaru management and employees will be volunteering at the January Denton Mobile Pantry, a free monthly food pantry with Tarrant Area Food Bank and the Denton Hunger Coalition that takes place in the Serve Denton parking lot!

Their employees will also be partnering with experts from Texas Woman’s University to build a professionally designed butterfly garden at The Wheeler House, a Serve Denton project. The Wheeler House is a transitional housing facility for moms and kids in a housing crisis managed by Giving Hope, Inc. and an affordable health clinic managed by Health Services of North Texas. Subaru’s experts will help make The Wheeler House a zero landfill facility by developing a variety of practices that will be taught to the families.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-12-22-40-pm

More Ways You Can Support

 

Aside from purchasing or leasing a car from Subaru, another way you can get involved in the “Share the Love” campaign is by downloading Subaru’s recording of, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.” This song was recorded by an amazing cast of people whose lives have been positively affected by this yearly event. All profits from this song will go toward Subaru’s national charity partners whose mission is to provide services to those in need.

 

We are so grateful to have been chosen as Subaru’s charity of choice and are looking forward to the many ways they will help us make an impact on the city of Denton! Since "Share the Love"’s inception in 2008, Subaru and its retailers have donated almost $90 million towards organizations that provide services for those in need. The “Share the Love” campaign is more than just purchasing a car; it’s about making a positive impact in the world and in local neighborhoods.

For more information about the ‘Share the Love” campaign, email co-founding board member Priscilla Sanders at psand66@gmail.com.

How 121 Free Meals Were Delivered This Thanksgiving

How 121 Free Meals Were Delivered This Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, LSA Burger Co., Barley & Board and Serve Denton partnered up to present #GivingThanksgiving. This is the second year Serve Denton has organized the event, contacting local nonprofits like Giving Hope, Inc. and Denton Christian Preschool to collect names of people who were homebound for the holiday and would be in need of a Thanksgiving meal.

Business Partner of the Month - Joey & Amy Hawkins

We were honored to recognize Joey and Amy Hawkins at one of Serve Denton’s board meetings for being our Business Partner of the Month! Joey and Amy have participated in many of Serve Denton’s programs and events from donating to our ScripZone gift card program to participating in our 2015 North Texas Giving Day campaign. Along with their financial support of Serve Denton, they have generously provided food and drinks from Jupiter House and Royal’s Bagels and Deli for events throughout the year.

For Serve Denton’s annual gala, Celebration, they not only attended, but supported by donating to the silent auction. Last year, they donated the “Lattes for One Year” package, which provides unlimited lattes for a full year from Jupiter House.

The couple also organized a fall picnic on the Denton Courthouse Lawn for another silent auction item! This included a private dinner for 12 with catered food and wine from Chef Suzanne Johnson and Maitre’d Daniel Johnson. During the event, a photographer took pictures of the participants dressed in black and white with some fun accessories. Those pictures were then turned into a 2017 calendar!

This year, Priscilla Sanders, co-founding board member of Serve Denton, took the win on this item with some of her friends. They enjoyed their picnic on Thursday, October 20. Here are some pictures from the event!

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-11-17-36-am

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-11-19-43-am

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-11-19-59-am

We are so grateful to Joey and Amy Hawkins for being amazing supporters of Serve Denton! We have nothing but gratitude for their involvement.

For more information about getting involved with Serve Denton, contact info@servedenton.org.

How 16,264 People Were Fed

An Experiment

On a hot July Saturday, a little over a year ago, volunteers from the Denton community, agency representatives from the Denton Hunger Coalition (DHC), and Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) came together for two purposes—distribute fresh produce to hungry families in Denton County and make community resources available to them. The event was called “Summer Harvest.”

Serve Denton participated by offering space for the event, and its reception was overwhelmingly positive; the DHC distributed food to 521 families (adding up to 1,951 individuals) that day.

Following the success of this trial run, TAFB and DHC made a commitment to the Denton community—monthly mobile pantries on each second Saturday, and thus the Denton Mobile Pantry (DMP) was created. Including the Summer Harvest, the DHC and TAFB fed 1,969 families (7,673 individuals) in 2015 and have served 2,479 families (8,591 individuals) to date in 2016. Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 12.07.51 PM

Second Saturday Success

Each month comes with its own set of challenges and rewards, but one constant across the board has been volunteer engagement. The DHC achieved what many groups struggle to do in its very first year operating the DMP—establishing core volunteers from diverse sources, including Catholic Daughters, Denton County Young Professionals, Young Men’s Service League, UNT, the Target Distribution Center, and more. Some volunteers, like Mr. Fritz, show up every second Saturday bright and early to make a difference in the community.

Others are able to commit less frequently, but make large commitments. For example, bringing large groups of volunteers or additional resources like free flu shots. An average of 50-60 volunteers show up each month. In 2015, the time they gave to the community collectively valued $23,370 in volunteer hours. In 2016 to date, that time adds up to $31,560. We cannot understate the importance of DMP volunteers, because they drive its biggest success—community engagement.

Without terrific volunteers, the DMP would simply have been an event that distributes food. While that function of the pantry is essential, it relies on the community built around it for continued success. The Denton Mobile Pantry is more than a resource; it’s a community event bringing families, friends, and volunteers together. It’s part of a growing culture of service and generosity in Denton County.

The DHC is also committed to ensuring the DMP is waste-free. Denton Mobile Pantry coordinators arranged for Shiloh Fields to receive and compost all spoiled produce, and distribution materials like boxes and pallets are reused when possible and otherwise recycled. 

 

When It Works Best

While the first year of the DMP has been an overwhelming success, the DHC is committed to making improvements that will help it grow with the needs of the community. That’s done in a few ways by the coalition: tracking GIS data helps the coalition understand where in Denton County people reached, talking with clients to understand how food is being used at home, and pursuing agency partnerships to increase DHC capacity.  Additionally, the coalition identifies factors influencing attendance each month to develop targeted solutions.

The DMP takes place outside, so weather is an important factor in attendance; water is provided in the summer when possible. Accessibility is an issue as well, so a collaborative effort with Primrose Senior Apartments and Heritage Oaks Senior Apartments means that seniors and homebound folks are able to receive food from the DMP each month through the work of Primrose staff and volunteers that pre-register recipients and deliver food directly to residents.

Availability of food for the whole family, including four-legged friends, contributes to the success of the DMP as well; a new partnership with Don’t Forget to Feed Me allows the DHC to distribute dry dog and cat food to DMP recipients.

However, data shows that what may be the most important factor in DMP success is its involvement of the community. Three times in its first year the DMP was hosted in conjunction with a community resource fair, and these three months were among the highest in terms of attendance. People come for the food, yes—but they often have other needs as well, and providing access to community resources makes the DMP an even more effective event.

 

Steps for the Future

The first year of the DMP has exceeded the expectations of the DHC. There is excitement among members for what is to come and passion for continued growth in the face of Denton County’s increasing needs for access to healthy food.

The DMP is an excellent model for community engagement and provision, and it’s beautiful to see people being served and walking away happy, hopeful, and sure of their next meal. The DHC is just getting started, and Serve Denton is glad to be a part of it.

 

The Denton Mobile Pantry is operated by the Denton Hunger Coalition and committed community volunteers. Food is provided by the Tarrant Area Food Bank, and space is provided by Serve Denton. If you’d like to get involved with the Denton Mobile Pantry, visit the Denton Hunger Coalition Facebook page, email dentonhunger@gmail.com, or sign up to volunteer and receive updates  at http://vols.pt./Ohqu3M. To learn more about mobile pantries like Denton’s, visit TAFB at http://tafb.org.

Welcome Kim to our Team

Kim Yarbrough is joining our staff as the director of operations, and we could not be more excited to have her part of our team! Kim and her husband Len were both born and raised in Denton, TX. For the last 26 years, her career has been in banking, working at First State Bank of Denton, AccessBank Texas and Point Bank.

She is a Mean Green Eagle, holding a BBA in Corporate Finance from UNT. Throughout her career, she has been involved in CASA, United Way and Relay for Life. She has followed Serve Denton for awhile now, connecting with our mission.

“I have found through my banking career that my true "joy" has been in helping people to better their lives and let the light shine through me, the love our Savior has for others. It has been a long term goal of mine to work with Serve Denton to help them achieve their mission,” Kim said.  

She is excited to be involved with Serve Denton to better our community and bring agencies together for easier access for the less fortunate. You can contact Kim Yarbrough at kyarbrough@servedenton.org.

Fight the Freeze: Helping Keep the Homeless Warm

With the winter months approaching, Audacity Brew House and Karma Yoga Denton came together to host Fight the Freeze on Saturday, December 12. This event was a collaborative effort between local businesses and nonprofit organizations with the intent to collect winter gear for people without secure shelter. volunteersThere were seven drop-off locations around the Denton area including Audacity Brew House, two Kroger locations, The DIME Store and three libraries. Each location had volunteers, recruited by Karma Yoga, who helped organize the drive. This one-day coat drive provided approximately one ton of blankets, sleeping bags and winter clothing for those in need this holiday season. The winter clothing was distributed between Giving Hope INC., Denton County Friends of the Family and Vision Ministries.

If you would like to continue making donations towards this cause, please drop off winter gear at Vision Ministries, located at 626 Wainwright Street, Denton, TX 76201. Their office hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Together, we can make a difference for the homeless community!

Response to the Hunger in Focus Exhibit

What does experiencing hunger mean? This past month, the Hunger in Focus exhibit has been displayed at the Greater Denton Arts Council (GDAC) as part of National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week. Six people were assigned to take 20 pictures that portray their experiences with hunger. People young and old who viewed this exhibit described it as “powerful” and “thought-provoking.” This positive reaction is why the GDAC decided to extend its preview dates. Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 9.32.27 AMTracy Bays-Booth, executive director of the GDAC, led groups of elementary-aged students through the Getting Started with Arts tour this past month. During those tours, Tracy started conversation about the pictures from the Hunger in Focus exhibit. There is an additional exhibit at the GDAC called When the Well is Dry We Know the Worth: Neal Paustian that explores the scarcity and value of water. Tracy connected the two exhibitions by posing the question: When you think about these two exhibitions, how can WE – you and I – be of help?

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 9.30.42 AMTracy said students suggested donating food to food banks, volunteering, donating toys and clothes, etc. They also offered tips for the Paustian exhibit by suggesting that we can limit water waste and turn off lights when we aren’t using them. Tracy also included, “It was lovely to see how easily the students related to the exhibition and the empathy and compassion it evoked in their responses.”

The Hunger in Focus exhibit brought our community together by educating people about the realities of hunger. You can learn more about the exhibit by contacting Serve Denton Executive Director Pat Smith at psmith@servedenton.org or Greater Denton Arts Council Executive Director Tracy Bays-Boothe at exdir@dentonarts.com

How Our Community GAVE Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, Serve Denton organized a community-wide volunteer project to GIVE Thanksgiving meals! George Dunham, a local musician from The Bird Dogs, approached our executive director, Pat Smith, about organizing a fundraiser for Serve Denton. That simple idea ended up touching many people’s lives. George and The Bird Dogs performed at LSA Burger Co. on November 19 in a joint effort to help raise money for Thanksgiving meals and Serve Denton. Pat appreciated the offer, but told him he wanted all of the money to go towards other people this holiday season. So on Thanksgiving Day, LSA Burger Co, Rudy’s BBQ and Barley & Board prepared gourmet Thanksgiving meals comprised of a turkey, sides and dessert. Local residents then volunteered to deliver these meals to fifteen pre-identified families in our community!    IMG_8677

City Council Member Greg Johnson and his family delivered a meal to a lady who came here from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. That morning, Greg’s wife Leah told Linda (pseudonym) she was also from Louisiana. After explaining what part, Linda said, “Me too! I was born in Opelousas!” This was just the beginning of their conversation. They ended up staying at Linda’s house for a couple of hours just getting to know each other. Linda later told Pat she felt so loved and cared for this Thanksgiving by Greg and his family. Greg said of all the people his family could have delivered a meal to, they were directed to Linda for a reason.

Serve Denton is honored to have been a part of bringing joy to people’s lives this holiday season. This is how we can all impact our community – one person at a time! Thanks to everyone who donated and delivered meals for Giving Thanksgiving. You made a difference!

Help Wipe Out Hunger on Giving Tuesday

What is Giving Tuesday? Simply put, it is a day dedicated to giving thanks. Giving Tuesday takes place on December 1, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, to celebrate this new tradition of generosity.2013-11-18-givingtuesday3 After Thanksgiving, we normally focus on all of the deals we can take advantage of on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. But this year, we want to encourage you to support a cause you care about. You can do this by helping a neighbor, volunteering your time or by donating financially. There are opportunities all around us to serve those in need.

This year for Giving Tuesday, Serve Denton is focusing all of its efforts on raising money for the new food pantry! A section of our Assistance & Events Center will be renovated to become a community-wide food pantry.

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 10.03.39 AMAccording to Map the Meal Gap, “Thirty-seven percent of Denton County residents are food insecure.” Here is the real problem: According to Feeding America’s study on the 13 counties Tarrant Area Food Bank serves, “Denton County has the lowest overall rate of food insecurity… but it also has the highest rate of food insecure whose incomes are high enough to disqualify them for government nutrition assistance.” This means many people are caught in the food gap.

Access to food is important for children to develop and adults to be productive and healthy contributors to our community. This is why we want to invite you to help wipe out hunger in Denton County.

Our world might not agree on a lot of things, but we can join together for a day of global unity! Learn more about our need for a new food pantry by clicking HERE to watch this video featuring Michael Pirtle, the executive director of Vision Ministries and Tom Newell, chairman of the board of Denton Community Food Center.

You can donate to the cause by clicking HERE.

 

Hunter Blake Paves a Way to Eagle

12068895_881575315267718_2364983797116477265_oOn Saturday, October 10, Hunter Blake from BSA Troop 208 in Lake Dallas completed his Eagle Scout project at The Wheeler House. Hunter and sixteen other scouts with the help of five adults spent their weekend building a brick paver patio and fireplace for families to enjoy who are staying at The Wheeler House. The Wheeler House is a Serve Denton project designed to provide hope, housing and health services. Health Services of North Texas runs the affordable health clinic in the front of the building and Giving Hope manages the interim housing for women and children.

Hunter Blake planned the project, obtained quotes for the building materials and 10520766_881575305267719_8864631585450536875_ocoordinated the construction with Serve Denton Executive Director Pat Smith. The project included spreading four cubic yards of gravel, three cubic yards of sand and 300 pavers. “This patio and fireplace will be a great blessing to the families who live at The Wheeler House. It will give them a nice place to picnic and spend time as a family. Before this project, the area was covered by broken asphalt and dirt,” said Pat Smith.

For more information about The Wheeler House, click here.

How Was The Mobile Food Pantry?

IMG_1444Last Saturday, 273 families went home with their hands full of free food from The Mobile Food Pantry. This number equals about 1,106 individuals fed by this new monthly program. The Tarrant Area Food Bank and the Denton Hunger Coalition, a group of agencies and organizations throughout Denton County committed to ending hunger, partnered together to send a mobile food pantry to the Serve Denton parking lot with FREE fresh food for families in need. IMG_1459People arrived early with bags in their hands waiting to pick up food for their families. There was even a couple who took home a basketful of food on their bike. The event made an impact on many people’s lives, and we hope this program continues to help out our neighbors to put food on the table.

Please help us spread the word about this great opportunity that will be taking place on every second Saturday of the month from 9-11 a.m. in the Serve Denton parking lot!

IMG_1408To learn more about the Tarrant Area Food Bank, please contact Dawnetta Smith at dawnetta.smith@tafb.org. To learn more about the Texas Hunger Initiative or the Denton Hunger Coalition, please contact Marty Otero at marty_otero@baylor.edu. For more information about Serve Denton, please contact Heather Quinn Gage at hquinngage@servedenton.org.