Denton nonprofit

Local Leaders: Heather Hutmacher of Big Brothers Big Sisters

Local Leaders: Heather Hutmacher of Big Brothers Big Sisters

There is no shortage of hardworking nonprofit professionals in and around Denton County. In fact, many of these pros share a building with us. To recognize our partners and discuss how they Serve Denton, we decided to launch a recurring series about our Local Leaders.

MDOC Successes & Failures

Last year, we raised over 26,000 pounds of food for Mayor’s Day of Concern for the Hungry in the city of Denton alone, and this year we raised 22,107 pounds of food county-wide. So what was the disconnect? First, let’s discuss the successes!

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 11.56.16 AMWhile we didn’t collect more food than last year, we still raised over 22,000 pounds of food to benefit our hungry neighbors! That is a huge success. We were also able to give significant amounts of food to organizations that were in serious need, like MHMR and H.O.P.E. Lastly, we had some fantastic, committed volunteers who spent their Saturday sorting the donated food. Because there were 50 volunteers, the sorting took half the time as last year.

Now for the failures...

This year, our aim was to enable the Denton Hunger Coalition to head up the event, but the Serve Denton team failed to delegate tasks and struggled to communicate.

We also rebranded the event, hoping to connect it more closely to the Denton Hunger Coalition instead of Serve Denton. By adding “with the Denton Hunger Coalition” under the new logo, we hoped that would help with the connection.

13048108_1753182311568004_4947454187400218888_oOne of the main components to Mayor’s Day of Concern is the competition aspect. Banks, schools and other industries compete against each other to see who will collect the most food. The winners are then recognized with a plaque at the press conference with Mayor Watts.

Our goal for next year is to really PUSH that aspect in our marketing campaign. If we do, we will probably have more contributing partners, which was one of the problems we had this year.

On the Serve Denton side, we had a turnover with the staff member in charge of the event. This led to a loss of communication. We asked Marc Thompson, a former Serve Denton staff member who led the event in 2015, his thoughts about the 2016 event. He said in 2015, “The success was really simple. It came down to engagement, follow-up, prospecting, delegation and drive for results.”

 For next year, we will focus more on those five aspects to set ourselves up for success!

For more information about Mayor’s Day of Concern for the Hungry, contact our Collaboration Program Manager Katelynn Blasavage at kblasavage@servedenton.org.

Celebration Recap

Our Fourth Annual Celebration was a night full of firsts. We started a new tradition by rolling out the “Making a Difference” awards. We used a mobile bidding company called GiveSmart for our silent auction, and we heard from the former news anchor many of us grew up with, Gloria Campos. 12976850_977118005713448_7406600106829894574_o-1We awarded 5 community members with the “Making a Difference” award for their underground service to our city. The purpose of the award is to highlight the people in our community who do the behind the scenes work and rarely get recognition. They do what they do for a selfless reason. From the hungry to the homeless to the neglected and troubled - Everyday life in their shoes deserves an award.

12967463_977118045713444_3603631530590188884_oGloria Campos spoke about her experience with becoming an advocate for Wednesday’s Child, a foster organization. She highlighted sometimes up to eight kids at a time hoping to find them loving and permanent families. Because of her 40-year experience in journalism, she has had to report on many sad and depressing stories, which is why she has made it her mission to only report good news from now on. If you check out her Twitter, she is all about sharing uplifting and encouraging stories.

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend our Celebration. Please know how grateful we are for your generosity and support. YOU are the reason we can help other nonprofits help people become self-sufficient.

What is the “COLLABORATE” Art Piece?

A few weeks ago, Serve Denton set up a booth at Explorium Denton’s Touch-a-Truck event in order to organize a community-wide art project. When kids saw the hammers and drills, they came running! IMG_2419SWEAT Team, a ministry of Denton Bible Church, helped by cutting out pieces of wood to fit on one foot tall letters that spell out “COLLABORATE.” At the event, we set out each letter on a table, letting each kid pick a piece of wood that matched a section of one letter. They were then able to glue down their piece, hammer in two nails and sign their name!

Now, this is where the exciting part comes in:

The finished art piece will be displayed at the Serve Denton office as an encouragement to continue on the mission of Serve Denton, which is to support other nonprofits that open doors for people to become self-sufficient. Because we want the kids who participated at Touch-a-Truck to continue to be a part of the project, we are going to display the letters at The Wheeler House for our Social Media Day on Thursday, June 30. This day will be a giant summer party, celebrating the beautiful progress of The Wheeler House. As of March 2016, which has been open for one year.

IMG_2488Mothers and children caught in a housing crisis can find safety and support at The Wheeler House because of Giving Hope, INC. Others can visit Health Services of North Texas’ health clinic in the front of the building for convenient and quality health care.

For more information about our Social Media Day, please contact Serve Denton’s Communication Program Manager, Brooke Hawkins, at bhawkins@servedenton.org. You are ALL invited! Please help us spread the word.

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!