Bethenny “Skinnygirl” Frankel Served Up One Of The Season’s Most Talked-About Presentations At The Annual Chick Lit Luncheon

On Friday, April 21, the annual Chick Lit Luncheon became the scene of two social earthquakes that split the Anatole’s Grand Ballroom. But more about that later. First, let’s set the scene.

Cristal Champagne

To kick off the Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser, the VIP reception was held in the Plum Blossom Room and, thanks to hosts Nancy and Richard Rogers, guests celebrated with Cristal Champagne. At the opening there were grand silver punch bowls filled with the elite champagne bottles chilling in ice. By the time the chimes called the guests to the luncheon, only a trio of partially filled bottles remained.

Tricia George, Paige McDaniel, Gail Fischer and Mary Martha Pickens

Lara Tafel

Nancy Rogers and Bethenny Frankel

Alas, keynote speaker Bethenny Frankel didn’t enjoy the bubbly, thanks to a non-stop of step-and-repeat photo session with folks like Co-Chairs Tricia George and Mary Martha Pickens, Presenting Co-Sponsor Lara Tafel, Honorary Chair Gail Fischer and daughter Elizabeth Fischer, Lisa Cooley with daughter Ciara Cooley and soon-to-be daughter-in-law Bela Pjetrovic and her sister Sabina Pjetrovic, Dee Simmons and daughter D’Andra Simmons Lock, Elizabeth Gambrell, Margo Goodwin, Cheryl Joyner, Tiffany Divis, Claire Emanuelson, Christie Carter and Cindy Turner.

Tiffany Divis and Bela Pjetrovic

D’Andra Simmons Lock and Dee Simmons

Elizabeth Gambrell, Margo Goodwin and Cheryl Joyner

As the guests literally filled the grand ballroom, Bethenny was whisked off to a private spot for some quiet time. But little did anyone know that in the hour and a half to come, the grand ballroom would be the scene of two distinctly different attitudes.

Some claimed it was a generational separation. One guest snorted, “It’s those millennials!” Another declared the other side of the great divide to be behind the times. It was just that “the times they are a-changin‘” for the decade-old luncheon featuring authors.

The old days of the Chick Lit at Brook Hollow with pecan crusted chicken and G-rated speakers like Stacey Ballis, Julia Reed, Gigi Levangie, Allison Winn Scotch, Emily Giffin and Jen Lancaster were in the rear-view mirror.

Last year’s move to the Anatole with Tim Gunn charming one and all in an on-stage chat had shifted the program to a new level. It was like moving from grade school to high school, from Shirley Temples to Cosmopolitans or from Boy Scouts Camp to Quantico.

But when the announcement of Bethenny’s being the keynoter came, lovers of reality TV were ecstatic. For them, it was like having the Pope serve mass at the local parish. For those who only considered the word “Bravo” to be what was said after a stellar performance, Bethenny was a rather unknown commodity. Didn’t matter. The Chick Lit Luncheon had always been fun and a fundraiser for a good cause.

Still, there were warnings that Bethenny might raise some eyebrows and that the uneducated might need to be forewarned and study up on the Skinnygirl.

Despite warnings that Bethenny was not your same-old, same-old, CPD loyalists signed on. In the meantime, new world reality TV lovers bought in with hopes of a “tell-it-like-it-is” presentation.   

So, what happened? Well, the first “earthquake” took place before Bethenny ever arrived on stage.

Mary Martha Pickens, Mary Ella Bitzer and Tricia George

To kick things off, CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel presented the 2017 Partners for Children Award to Mary Ella Bitzer representing The Bitzer and Needleman Families and Peacock Alley. Unfortunately, whether it was due to poor acoustics or to all the chatter in the room, the presentation seemed to take place without much fanfare.

Faith Johnson

When Dallas District Attorney Faith Johnson provided the invocation, she was heard throughout, thanks to the lack of talking. But the chitchat kicked back in once Paige returned to the podium, and the first of the divides created a Grand Canyon among the guests. Looking like unhappy emojis, some strained to hear Paige, while others held steroid conversation to such a point that even those frowny-faced guests close to the stage had to rely on lip reading to “hear” Paige talk about the importance of the organization’s annual Christmas toy drive and how Peacock Alley had supported it. Some tried to silence the chatterboxes by clanging their silverware on their glassware, but even that couldn’t be heard above the racket. Perhaps the talkative guests had never attended a fundraiser before?

What made it more obvious was how the room went into a vacuum state of silence after Community Partners of Dallas Board Member Greg Nieberding introduced Bethenny and she arrived on stage. How quiet? At one point in her talk, a cell phone in the room rang and Bethenny interrupted her talk saying, “Somebody need to take a call?”

The svelte brunette, who had risen to fame thanks to reality TV and her “Skinnygirl” business empire, was both charming and disarming. On one hand, she couldn’t have been more upbeat and complimentary about North Texas women and the CPD. She even did a shout-out to “my friend Fancy Nancy Rogers” at a front row table with pals Dallas Snadon, Leisa Street, Michael Flores, Cindy Rachofsky and Niven Morgan and Shelby Wagner.

Dallas Snadon

Lori Jones, Nancy Rogers and Cindy Rachofsky

Leisa Street and Michael Flores

Shelby Wagner and Niven Morgan

On the other, she raised even the most heavily Botoxed brows with comments about “guano” (she didn’t use that word) and describing rich Dallas women as having Texas tea flowing from a particular body part (she put it much more colorfully). If you don’t get it, ask one of the thousand-plus who were there. They’re bound to recall the exact words.  

Some of the highlights of Bethenny’s talk included:

Bethenny Frankel

  • After having a rough childhood, she focused on “breaking the chain” in raising her daughter. She was not going to be “chained” to what others thought or what she had experienced as a child.
  • Finding balance in her life being a mother and a businesswoman.
  • Everyone has a great idea, but it’s the execution that matters, she said. Too often they get bogged down with the business plan or other aspects. “I would have never gotten into the liquor business had I known.”
  • Stay focused on your goals and don’t “look at the other lanes… I do my own thing.”
  • “25 years ago I was a bartender and had no idea I’d end up being an alcoholic… just kidding… I would end up founding a liquor company.”
  • She has founded an organization called “B Strong” to help women in crisis. “As women, we make a lot of decisions out of fear.”
  • “You can’t be pretty, tan, have sex, rich and sleep…I’m not tan, I don’t have sex and I’m  rich, but not like Dallas rich…. What the hell was I talking about?”
  • The night before on “Real Housewives of New York,” Bethenny had been confronted by another housewife over how she was dealing with her 6-year-old daughter about the fact that Bethenny had done a nude scene 27 years ago. “I just sat there and just took it and just said, I have no shame in my game. This is who I am. This is my past and I was an actress and I needed the money and I’ve done so many things in my life that got me to where I am, so I think that’s part of my owning it.” She went on, saying how “crazy it was for women trying to tear each other down.”

    Bethenny Frankel

  • “The least favorite element [of being on a reality show] is you get mired in something that you don’t even care about…You can’t believe that people can be so nasty and malicious. I think it’s a comedy. I see it as a satire. You can’t believe how fake people are. It’s amazing. You look around and any five people. You believe they are totally normal. ‘She’s so down to earth; she’s  so normal.’ She’s ‘guano‘ crazy!”
  • “I want to give you one tip. It’s changed my life. At night before you go to bed, for like five to 15 minutes, put in as much hot water as you possibly can in your bathtub and just your feet—not your whole body—in Epsom salts. It’s like a drunk. I don’t know what happens. I used to take something to sleep, but this knocks you out. It’s like detoxing and it’s crazy and it’s the simplest and oldest thing and has changed my life.”
  • Being an entrepreneur “is really hard. You’ve got to be out there. But it’s good. It’s like the ocean. It keeps changing and moving all the time.”
  • “I’m really a homebody. I like being with my daughter.”
  • When asked what the one thing she keeps in her refrigerator to make a meal, Bethenny responded, “I’m a big fan of the freezer. I travel so much that when I get home there’s always a frozen organic broccoli.”
  • Kale — “You can’t walk on the street without being assaulted by kale. I want to meet the kale publicist. What’s so great?”
  • The future for Bethenny — “I’m focused on this charity [B Strong]. I’m able to help women. Now that I’m not struggling and white-knuckling it anymore, I want to inspire women.”

Bethenny lived up to her honest, no-holds barred comments about her life, both past and present. She was true to herself. Some loved her words; some were perturbed by her presentation. Hey, when you go to a Mexican food restaurant, you can’t expect meat loaf to be the featured item on the menu.

Dallas AfterSchool’s 5th Annual Recess Netted $125,000 Thanks To Fun And Games

Robyn Siegel and Regina Merson*

Dallas AfterSchool’s 5th Annual Recess just took place Friday at the Arboretum and the bean counters have been busy, busy, busy.

Recess Co-Chairs Regina Merson and Robyn Sieger just reported the results. Thanks to digging for goodies in the sand pile, bag toss, playing musical chairs, balancing tumble tower, and dining on off-the-diet goodies, $125,000 was netted. BTW, that’s not the gross. It’s the real deal.  No kidding.

Musical chairs*

Dallas AfterSchool is celebrating its 10th anniversary and this is a sweet way to celebrate.

* Photo credit: Steve Wrubel

Keep An Eye On Santa

Around here Santa is considered the top-shelf elf of the season. Starting Saturday evening, the jolly old fellow and his team of reindeer will be making the rounds.

Santa Claus (File photo)

Just for fun, here is a link to him on his journey to deliver.

BTW, there are a heck of a lot of local organizations like Community Partners of Dallas, S.M Wright Foundation, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Command, Toys for Tots, Santa’s Helpers and North Texas Food Bank that helped Kris Kringle fill his bag with toys, bikes, clothes, food and all types of goodies.

Thank-you notes are not necessary, but milk and cookies would be appreciated by the North Pole resident.

MySweetWishList: Family Compass

Whitney Strauss (File photo)

According to Family Compass Board of Directors President-Elect Whitney Strauss,

“On behalf of the Family Compass Board, staff and families we serve, our primary wish is a world free of child abuse and neglect where are children are able to feel happy and safe. For this holiday season, our wish is to be able to give the mothers in our programs basic necessities for their babies such as diapers and sippy cups that they have difficulty affording. We also want to encourage mothers to read and play with their babies so also ask for baby books with sight words and baby toys. We have a wish list on Amazon for these items.

“Thank you for making the holidays truly special for our mothers and their children!”

-By Whitney Strauss, Family Compass board of directors president-elect

MySweetWishList: Young Friends of Wilkinson Center

According to Young Friends of Wilkinson Center Co-President Kristen Johnson,

Kristen Johnson*

Kristen Johnson*

“As a volunteer and Co-President of the Young Friends of Wilkinson Center, I love helping at our annual Toy Distribution Party. I know that we have many more Adult Education clients this year who will struggle to provide Christmas gifts for their children.

“My Sweet Wish is for more toy donations, especially for older children ranging from ages 7-14 years old. 

“Some suggestions for girls and boys in this age group are: Minecraft toys, Easy Bake Ovens, remote/radio-controlled cars, skateboards, MP3 players, digital cameras, flat irons and curling wands. 

“This Toy Distribution happens this year on Saturday, December 17.  If you’d like to help, please email our volunteer coordinator, Adrienne O’Connor, or by calling her at 972.284.0301. 

“To donate online, please visit the Wilkinson Center website, www.wilkinsoncenter.org, and click donate.  We will be accepting toy donations until Thursday, December 15.”

-By Kristen Johnson, Young Friends of Wilkinson Center co-president

* Photo provided by Wilkinson Center

MySweetWishList: Community Partners Of Dallas’ Annual Toy Drive

According to Community Partners of Dallas President/CEO Paige McDaniel,

Paige McDaniel (File photo)

Paige McDaniel (File photo)

“Community Partners of Dallas’ annual Toy Drive is now underway! I wish for the community to help us in providing 11,000 gift wishes for abused and neglected children in the care of Child Protective Services. CPD is accepting donations of toys through Friday, December 9.

“For thousands of abused and neglected children in Dallas County, the holidays are just another day; one more day that they are reminded that no one cares. By supporting Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive, individuals, organizations and companies can grant specific gift requests to children most in need of holiday joy.

“Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive is unique in that the wishes are brought to the agency by CPS caseworkers on behalf of the children in their care, and those same caseworkers will have the wonderful opportunity to deliver the gifts personally. For many of the children, these might be the only gifts they receive, and for some the first gift they have ever been given.

“A significant need this Christmas is gift cards, valued at $25 or more, for the teens we serve.  Every teen should have the experience of shopping and selecting something for themselves.  Gift cards from retailers such as Target, Walmart, Bath & Body Works, Forever21, GameStop, Academy, Old Navy or Best Buy are always appreciated. As well, popular wishes for kids of all ages include bikes, African American Dolls, learning toys for toddlers, bath and body gift sets, ANYTHING from Disney’s Frozen, light up toys, MP3 players, LEGO Sets, remote control cars, toddler push toys, small tablets, LeapFrog toys and basketballs/footballs/soccer balls.

Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive*

Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive*

“Toys and gift cards can be provided by companies, churches, scout troops, business offices, or individuals. Organizations and individuals can also organize a new toy drive for the undesignated toy collection used to serve additional children who come into CPS’ protective care after the wish list deadline and to fill wishes not selected by donors.

 “All gifts should be new and not wrapped. Toys must be delivered to the Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive Warehouse at the Peacock Alley Warehouse located at 2050 Postal Way, Dallas 75212 no later than 1:00 p.m. on Friday, December 9.  For more information on participating in the Toy Drive or for warehouse hours, contact Corinne Karp, 214.624.7588 or [email protected] or visit www.communitypartnersdallas.org.” 

-By Paige McDaniel, Community Partners of Dallas president/CEO

* Graphic provided by Community Partners of Dallas

yCPD Field Day Had Hershey Kiss Relaying And Booties And Bobble Heads Shaking For Community Partners Of Dallas

Forget camps Longhorn and Waldemar. The summer camp action was at The Rustic on Saturday, May 21, and the campers were of voting age. Leave it to Community Partners of Dallas to take its annual kids-friendly “Change For Good” and create an adult version — yCPD Field Day. Only there were no bounce houses or bungee jumping.

Paige McDaniels and Joanna Clarke

Paige McDaniels and Joanna Clarke

Taking place in the heat and humidity of Saturday, May 21, mist fans were in high roll and icy beverages were just a hand off away. Funny as it may seem, the coolest millennials were gangbusting the are-you-serious activities which were dreamt up by CPD Funmeister Joanna Clarke and Event Chair Sarah Carbonnet. Adding to the off-the-wall antics was KDFW (FOX) meteorologist Jennifer Myers at the mic. (Folks didn’t realize that red-haired Jenny was at the mic-helm. She had doffed her straight auburn wig to let loose her glorious “Annie” red curls and donning Jackie-O shades.)

Jennifer Myers

Jennifer Myers

Another head-turner was the A-Team that may not have won the games, but they sure knew how to pose!

Angela Edgell, Karie Kieffer, Diana Leach, Crystal Lightbody, Bobby Martin and Paige Martin

The A-Team team members Angela Edgell, Karie Kieffer, Diana Leach, Crystal Lightbody, Bobby Martin and Paige Martin

Here’s an eyewitness report from the shenanigans:

As they checked in, the 102 participants shopped the Mystery Bag station, which featured a variety of “mystery” prizes valued at $50 or more. For $25 each, purchasers were surprised with items including Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks tickets; a four course meal for 6 people in your home by The Cuisine Counselor; gift cards to Dallas favorites spots, such as Neiman Marcus, Javier’s Gourmet Mexicano, The PilatesBarre, Trinity Groves and St. Bernard Sports; Fossil Smart Bracelets; and bottles of liquor and wine.

Sarah and Cameron Carbonnet

Sarah and Cameron Carbonnet

Emcee Jennifer welcomed participants before introducing Field Day chair Sarah Charbonnet followed by CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel, who thanked all for their support of the 2nd annual event, which is hosted by the organization’s young professional’s group, yCPD. She then shared a recent example of the incredible work CPD does in partnership with Child Protective Services, made possible by the support from the community, including those in attendance.

After Jennifer reviewed the format of the day, the competition began with 17 teams of six competing for the title of “yCPD Field Day Champion.” DJ Andrew Figueroa of Everlasting Sounds provided the vibe as competitors took the field.

Booty Shaking

Booty Shaking

After the initial Qualifying Round, where all teams competed at 10 different games, including, Egg Race, Suck it Up, Wheel Barrow Relay, Booty Shaker, Gatorade Flip Cup, Bobble Head, Hershey Kiss Relay, Face the Cookie, Noodle Toss and Social Media station, scores were tallied to whittle down the field to the top 10 teams. The top 10 teams then competed in a Potato Sack Race to identify the top 5 teams, but the initial race was too close to call between 7 of the 10 teams and so a “sudden death” potato race was conducted in order to confirm the top 5.

Bobble Heading

Bobble Heading

Hershey Kiss Relay

Hershey Kiss Relay

The top 5 teams lined up for a classic field day game – the Three-Legged Race. Teams “Beer Pressure” and “McGuire, Craddock & Strother” took the top two spots for a place in the final.

Beer Pressure Team from the left (front row) Tara Callahan, Brianna Riddell and Katie McDaniel; (back row) Nic Waldron, Kevin Allen and Ron Johnson*

Beer Pressure team members from the left (front row) Tara Callahan, Brianna Riddell and Katie McDaniel; (back row) Nic Waldron, Kevin Allen and Ron Johnson*

Where last year’s final round, Tug of War, showed who had the most brawn, this year’s round, the Obstacle Course, required a different set of skills. The round started with a Brain Teaser, where teams had to solve a word puzzle before moving to the next station. Station 2 called for each team member to leap frog over the other to the 3rd station – Tunnel Crawl. After each member of the team crawled through the tunnel to the other side, the team moved to the final station, which brought back one of last year’s favorite qualifying round activities – Sponge Relay. Both teams rushed to fill up sponges full of soapy water and wring them out in an adjacent bucket, but “McGuire, Craddock & Strother” quickly took the lead and finished well ahead of “Beer Pressure.”

McGuire, Craddock and Strother team from the left (front row) Claire Carroll and Jack Gannon; (back row) Grant Blair, Jon Mitchell, Michael Trecha, Erin Dowell, Clair Gannon and Walt Prudhomme*

McGuire, Craddock and Strother team members from the left (front row) Claire Carroll and Jack Gannon; (back row) Grant Blair, Jon Mitchell, Michael Trecha, Erin Dowell, Clair Gannon and Walt Prudhomme*

The 2016 winning team (and last year’s champions as well) was McGuire, Craddock & Strother (Claire Carroll, Jack Gannon, Grant Blair, Jon Mitchell, Michael Trecha, Erin Dowell, Clair Gannon and Walt Prudhomme).

Championship prizes for each team member: $50 gift card to The Container Store, a massage at COREhealth Wellness Center, a 2-week pass and swag bag from Orange theory Fitness, 2 class passes from Flywheel Indoor Cycling and trophy.

With the final round complete, all participants stayed for the after party featuring the Rustic’s cocktails and savory fare including double queso, brisket quesadillas, boar meatballs, onion-y rings and French fries.

2nd Annual Field Day sponsors were:

  • Blue Ribbon Winner ($2,500) – Brunswick Group and Apex Clearing;
  • Red Ribbon Runner UP ($1,000) – Orange Theory Fitness, Riveron Consulting and Shackelford;
  • White Ribbon ($500) – Embassy Suites Dallas Park Central, The Hartnett Law Firm, Sarah and Cameron Charbonnet, McGuire Craddock & Strother, Greg Beane Family Law, Premier Transportation and Paige McDaniel and
  • DJ Sponsor – COREhealth Wellness Center.

Despite the heat and humidity, this event was one that proved fundraising is cool.

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron Smith

Fashion Guru Tim Gunn Packed ‘Em In At Forty Five Ten’s T Room For Community Partners Of Dallas’ Chick Lit Patron Party

Tim Gunn

Tim Gunn

Not since Rob Lowe and Kevin Costner hit the North Texas area has a man been swarmed like New York Times best-selling author and overall fashion arbiter Tim Gunn was at the 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon Patron Party.

Laverne Nieberding and Greg Nieberding

Laverne Nieberding and Greg Nieberding

Yipes! Taking place at Chick Lit Honorary Chair Brian Bolke’s Forty Five Ten, the place should have been big enough for the guests, the fashions and Tim. But with Tim meeting-and-greeting guests like Luncheon Chair Kristi Hoyl, Melissa Sherrill, D’Andra Simmons, Anne Stodghill and Greg Nieberding with his mom Laverne Nieberding in the T Room, the place was as tight as a stamp on an envelope.

What made it more challenging was Tim somehow managed to locate himself against one of the bars. Goodness, bubbly and Tim together resulted in celebration and selfie-action as everyone wanted a flute of champagne and a photo with Tim.

One lovely evidently was new to celebrity get-togethers and decided that she was Tim’s one-and-only, resulting in more than her fair share of special time with him. But Tim proved as proper and charming as his attire, chatting it up with the gal until someone suggested that others might like some quality time with Tim, too.

Lara and Robert Tafel

Lara and Robert Tafel

Organizers were amazed at how generous Tim was. His contract limited his time at the patron party to 45 minutes, but he stayed way beyond the time limit.

Paige McDaniel and Juilette Coulter

Paige McDaniel and Juilette Coulter

Another couple of Chick Lit celebs were Lara and Bob Tafel, who have been on board in supporting the Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser since its inception. But their involvement is more than being the presenting sponsor of the annual get-together. In the midst of all the partying, Bob voiced genuine concern that recent legislative developments were increasing the need for CPD’s efforts.

And speaking of the 10th anniversary, CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel proudly wore a new piece of jewelry, a necklace spelling out sparkly Chick Lit in its signature font. She told how she and CPD Director of Development Joanna Clarke had had the necklaces especially made for those like Lara, Juliette Coulter and Kristi Bare who have attended all 10 years of the CPD fundraiser.

And while the guests kept coming and coming, it was still an early night because the luncheon was the next day at the Hilton Anatole.

MySweetWishList: The Warren Center

According to The Warren Center Director of Development Tara Null,

Tara Null*

Tara Null*

The Warren Center*

The Warren Center*

“The Warren Center is hosting their annual Christmas Family Fun Day on Saturday, December 19, at the Dallas Arboretum. Our wish is that each child receives a donated wrapped gift to take home and enjoy.

“The Warren Center’s Family Fun Day is a free event offered to the families served by The Warren Center.”

-By Tara Null, The Warren Center Director of Development

* Graphic and photo provided by The Warren Center

Gentle Reminder: Community Partners Of Dallas Toy Drive Deadline Nears

The Community Partners of Dallas had quite a goal for its Toy Drive to provide “two gifts each to more than 5,500 abused and neglected children in the care of Child Protective Services.”

Just in case you thought you could wait until Christmas Eve to drop the goodies off, rethink that. The drop dead deadline for delivering the toys is 1 p.m. tomorrow (aka Friday, December 11).

Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive*

Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive*

As CPD’s Paige McDaniel reported, “This year’s most popular wishes include bikes, African American dolls, items from Disney’s ‘Frozen,’ Easy Bake Ovens, boom boxes, riding toys for toddlers, Buzz Lightyear Action Figures, Barbies, basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, learning toys for toddlers, like a Vtech Learning Laptop, Dora dolls, MP3 players, LEGO sets, Tonka trucks and Bath and Body Works sets.

“All gifts should be new and not wrapped. Toys must be delivered to the Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive Warehouse at the Peacock Alley Warehouse located at 2050 Postal Way, Dallas, Texas 75212, no later than 1:00 p.m. on Friday, December 11. For more information on participating in the Toy Drive, contact Corinne Karp, 214.624.7588 or visit www.communitypartnersdallas.org.”

BTW, want to bet that money will be accepted, too?

* Graphic provided by Community Partners of Dallas

MySweetWishList: Shared Housing Center

According to Shared Housing Center Board President Suzanne Felber,

“As the President of the Board for Shared Housing Center, there is almost nothing I wouldn’t do to help the many homeless women with children and older adults who enter our homes and hearts. At this time of the year when we get busy with our own families and festivities, what better way to remember our clients but to include them on our holiday shopping list! Whether you celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza or other celebrations, I encourage you to share in the spirit of your tradition this year.

Shared Housing Center*

Shared Housing Center*

“Becoming homeless is life-challenging whenever it happens. But as the holidays roll around, it becomes even tougher – especially for the kids. As those of us more fortunate celebrate the season with festivities and gifts, these children often endure the holidays wondering if there will be food on the table or a warm bed. And the joy many of us share at this time will be experienced instead by these families as sadness for things lost – a home, friends, even family.

“Our commitment at Shared Housing Center is not simply to ensure that our families are able to celebrate and share in the joys of this season. More importantly, it is to provide them with temporary and transitional housing solutions and with skills and resources that can once again mean for them independence, empowerment and self-sufficiency.

Suzanne Felber and friends*

Suzanne Felber and friends*

“Over the years of serving as a volunteer and board member I have had many wonderful opportunities to work with our clients, volunteers and staff: seeing the face of a child light up as she was able to use her $10.00 gift card to buy her mom a pair of house slippers; watching our moms gain a sense of satisfaction as they learn new skills and advance in their jobs; feeling a sense of pride along with other board members as our new 24-unit facility begins to take shape. In all of this, it is an honor to be a part of this work.

“Our current holiday needs for our families are unwrapped new toys for boys and girls (valued at $10.00 to $20.00), $10 & $20 dollar gift cards to Walmart, Target, & Payless and $25.00 donations to purchase 5 daily bus passes per client. Our adults would love to have a new set of sheets and bedding for their twin sized beds, and we always need bed pillows.

“We are also starting a music program and would love to get donations of musical instruments for the kids and people to teach them how to use them.

“Please help us bring smiles and happy memories to homeless children and their parents! To learn more about my favorite agency, please visit our website at www.sharedhousing.org or call our Executive Director at 214.821.8510, Ext. 116. Thank you for sharing the holidays with us.”

– Suzanne Felber, Shared Housing Center Board President

* Graphic and photo provided by Shared Housing Center

MySweetWishList: Community Partners Of Dallas Toy Drive

According to Community Partners of Dallas (CPD) President/CEO Paige McDaniel:

“Community Partners of Dallas has just kicked off our annual Toy Drive and I wish for the community to help us once again by providing 2 gifts each to more than 5,500 abused and neglected children in the care of Child Protective Services. CPD is accepting donations of toys through Friday, December 11.”

Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive*

Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive*

“For thousands of abused and neglected children in Dallas County, the holidays are just another day; one more day that they are reminded that no one cares. By supporting Community Partner of Dallas’ Toy Drive, individuals, organizations and companies can grant specific gift requests to children most in need of holiday joy. For many of the children, this might be the only gift they receive, and for some the first gift they have ever been given. Fulfilling these wishes goes beyond just making sure they have a gift to open on Christmas. Your gift shows our kids that someone cares for them.”

“The Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive is unique in that the wishes are brought to the agency by CPS caseworkers on behalf of the children in their care, and those same caseworkers will have the wonderful opportunity to deliver these gifts personally. By supporting the Toy Drive, individuals, organizations and companies will be granting specific gift requests to these children, making them feel special and giving them a holiday they will remember.”

Paige McDaniel, Maria Plankinton and Joanna Clarke*

Paige McDaniel, Maria Plankinton and Joanna Clarke*

“Wish cards can be filled by companies, churches, scout troops, business offices, or individuals. Organizations and individuals can also organize a new toy drive for the undesignated toy collection used to serve additional children who come into CPS care after the wish list deadline and to fill wishes not selected by donors. This year’s most popular wishes include bikes, African American dolls, items from Disney’s “Frozen,” Easy Bake Ovens, boom boxes, riding toys for toddlers, Buzz Lightyear Action Figures, Barbies, basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, learning toys for toddlers, like a Vtech Learning Laptop, Dora dolls, MP3 players, LEGO sets, Tonka trucks and Bath and Body Works sets.”

“All gifts should be new and not wrapped. Toys must be delivered to the Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive Warehouse at the Peacock Alley Warehouse located at 2050 Postal Way, Dallas, Texas 75212, no later than 1:00 p.m. on Friday, December 11. For more information on participating in the Toy Drive, contact Corinne Karp, 214.624.7588 or visit www.communitypartnersdallas.org.”

– Paige McDaniel, Community Partners of Dallas president/CEO

* Graphic and photo provided by Community Partners of Dallas

Round Robin November 3: Christmas In The Park At Fair Park And Dallas Museum Of Art’s Silver Supper Announcement Parties

With Halloween hardly a sugary memory, Christmas lights were already brightening up yards on Tuesday, November 3.

At Highland Park Village the boo-hoo memories of the late Tom Thumb had been put to bed and the welcome wagon was out for Royal Blue Grocery as people checked out the foodie boutique. Thank heaven! It happened just in time. Because the HPV’s Starbucks was all papered up due to an interior refreshening. Shocked caffeine fiends looked as if they were going through withdrawal as they saw their beloved jolt-source closed. One fella was pointed to Royal Blue Grocery, but he admitted that he had no coin and had planned to use his mobile Starbucks card. Last seen he was headed to the Knox Starbucks.

Christmas In The Park At Fair Park

On the other hand, another group of men gathered upstairs at HPV’s Mockingbird Room to learn about the plans for the upcoming Christmas in the Park at Fair Park. Plans call for the S.M. Wright Foundation’s Christmas celebration to provide toys for munchkins thanks to “area Santas.”

It will take place in the Automobile Building at Fair Park on Saturday, December 19. While it officially starts at 8:30 a.m., the lineup gets underway in the wee hours of December 19th.

If you would like to share in the giving, you can donate here or sign up to volunteer here. If you know of someone with a child who just might be in need of a toy, registration info can be found here!

Silver Supper

Trevor and Melissa Fetter*

Trevor and Melissa Fetter*

On the other side of Preston Road, new Dallas Museum of Art Board of Trustees Chair Melissa Fetter and her husband Trevor Fetter opened their Mediterranean-style mansion for art lovers like Jennifer and Coley Clark, Nancy Dedman, Emily and Steve Summers and James Campbell to hear about plans for the Dallas Museum of Art’s Silver Supper in the Chilton 2 Gallery from Co-Chairs Claire Dewar and Cathy Kincaid Hudson.

Claire Dewar and Cathy Kincaid Hudson*

Claire Dewar and Cathy Kincaid Hudson*

But before the announcement, the 100 guests explored the breathtaking home. John Phifer Marrs was full of superlatives as he admired the estate. Even John, who has had his share of show-stopping residential projects, confessed that the estate was an amazing accomplishment.

Nancy Dedman and Brad Kelly*

Nancy Dedman and Brad Kelly*

And what was so out-of-this-world remarkable? The main house that was built in the 1930’s was meticulously updated and enhanced by a truly spectacular second building that included a guest quarter, four-car garage, Melissa’s office, an exercise room and much more. And yet, thanks to J Wilson Fuqua and Associates Architects, Brad Kelly and other craftsmen, the connection between the 1930’s and the 21st century was absolutely seamless.

And on this clear night and thanks to exquisite lighting, it was spectacularly perfect.

Laura and Walter Elcock*

Laura and Walter Elcock*

So was the announcement. IMA Interim Director Walter Elcock briefly told of the history of the DMA’s silver collection and how the dinner started 24 years ago. Last year’s dinner brought in $300K.

Claire revealed that in addition to the exclusive dinner on Friday, January 29th, at which the DMA’s collection of silver is trotted out, there would be the addition of a symposium at Brook Hollow.

Cathy picked up from there. telling the guests that the head of Hearst would be in attendance and that House Beautiful and other Hearst publications would be involved. In addition to the dinner, there would be a symposium involving the Duquette Foundation for the Living Arts on Thursday, January 28, at which Hutton Wilkinson, business partner of the late American design icon Tony Duquette, will join the DMA’s Olivier Meslay and British antique dealer Peter Woods. It will be interesting to see if Hutton drops a couple of tales !

Tickets to this super-duper-special supper don’t come cheap. They start at $2,200 per person, and the Gilded Level seating goes for $10,000 a head.

But if you can’t fit the supper into your budget, you can still attend the symposium. Here’s the breakdown for the symposium:

  • $125 (9:30 a.m. to noon) — Symposium only
  • $250 (9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.) — Symposium and lunch

For more information or to purchase tickets, send Claire an email.

Funds raised from the event will go to the Decorative Arts Acquisition Fund.

* Photo credit: 
Tamytha Cameron 
Smith

Community Partners Of Dallas’ “A Wagon Holds Promise” Rolled Through The Streets To Break The Guinness World Record

While the official arrival wasn’t til 10 on Saturday, January 31, the parking lot adjoining the treasured Meadows Foundation neighborhood was busting with SUV’s carrying red wagons. The force fueling this drive was Community Partners of Dallas and their effort to set a new world record for the biggest red wagon parade — A Wagon Holds Promise. They had decided that it would be the closer for their 25th anniversary year.

But to break the previous record set in 2003 by the St George Lions Club of St. George, Utah, CPD needed to rally 148 wagons. But they were bucking a true challenge. For instance, the time of the year was a problem. The end of January is a notorious heartbreaker for outdoor events.

Still CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel and her sidekick Development Director Joanna Clarke had a reputation for charming and giggling their way with Ma Nature in the past. But this would be a true test of sisterhood. In the days leading up to the Saturday, it looked bleak. Rain and cold rain at that were on forecast for Saturday.

As the hours ticked away, the forecast turned in the CPD favor. The cold, wet stuff would hold off until afternoon.

Ruthie's Rolling Cafe

Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe

As adults, kids and pooches arrived, they were bundled up for the chill. Nearby Ruthie’s Rolling Café was providing hot chocolate with peppermint.

Wagons after the parade

Wagons after the parade

In an adjacent driveway were rows of rental red wagons ready to be briefly adopted rolling through the record books.

Crystal Gober and Stacie Pearlman

Crystal Gober and Stacie Pearlman

Crystal Gober and Stacie Pearlman donned their Katy Perry look-alike outfits and matching decked out wagons. Were they big CPD supporters? No, but a friend was and they were getting involved.

Melna Bourland and her nephew Jackson Lewis were standing by their covered red wagon complete with two stick horses and a fishing pole dangling a star overhead. Made sense. The wagon’s theme was “Hitch Your Wagon to a Star”! Clever. Whose idea was it? Melna admitted that the theme and creation of the result of her talented mom, Margaret Tyrrell. Melna proudly added, “She was always like that.”

Margaret Tyrrell, Jackson Lewis and Melna Bourland

Margaret Tyrrell, Jackson Lewis and Melna Bourland

What inspired Margaret to create the eye-catching wagon? Without hesitation she said, “That’s what CPD is about!”

Philip Robertson

Philip Robertson

On the sidelines taking in the hundreds of wagons, kids, adults and pooches was the Guinness World Record adjudicator Philip Robertson in his official Guinness attire. Having arrived from his home in New York City that had been swamped by a winter storm, the Brit felt right at home. His wife was a Dallasite…a Highland Park grad.

Haven Hinds and Greg Nieberding

Haven Hinds and Greg Nieberding

Just a moment of two after high noon, the sun peeked out shining on Paige and Philip standing in the bed of a red pick-up truck to kick off the parade. Leading the parade was Greg Nieberding driving a red hot Park Place Mercedes Benz with Haven Hinds waving atop the back seat. She had earned the privilege by raising the most money in CPD’s “Change Is Good” program.

Under a red-and-white balloon arch, the parade commenced with people and dogs at the nearby dog park watching. Some of the wagons were brand, spanking new. Some were vintage with wheels that creaked along. Some had cute kids bundled up.

Despite the chill, the parade continued around the block. One person admitted, “This cold isn’t so bad if it helps the CPD kids.”

In orderly fashion, the parade neatly concluded perfectly near the CPD headquarters. On the left were bounce houses. On the right was the gathering place for the rental wagons that will be added to the 2015 CPD Christmas toy effort.

As DJ Bill Cody played tunes that were definitely not Tony Bennett, kids danced to the music with dance moves that amazed the older folks.

Behind the scenes, Philip was alone officially tabulating the results. He was so detailed, it made one wonder why Guinness didn’t officiate presidential elections.

It was then time to announce the results. As Paige with fingers crossed and the Dallas theme song playing in the background, Philip announced that the day’s count was 288. The record had been broken!

Just then the sun disappeared behind a blanket of clouds and drips of rain started appearing from the skies above. Mother Nature held off as long as she could.

For more photos, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Weather Update For Saturday’s A Wagon Holds Promise

The MySweetCharity weather department has been working with their charts, maps and chicken bones to figure out the weather for Saturday morning’s “A Wagon Holds Promise” parade for Community Partners of Dallas.

A Wagon Holds Promise*

A Wagon Holds Promise*

According to their brainstorming, the earlier forecast for rainfall in the morning is GWTW. It appears the wet stuff will hold off until afternoon. Sure, there will be clouds in the sky, but what’s wrong with a cloud or two or three?

Evidently the CPD staff has pull with Ma Nature.

So, if you haven’t signed up to parade, come join the crowd cheering and video taping the hundreds of red wagons rolling through the Guinness World Record and have a Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe feast afterwards. Then you can go shopping for Super Bowl fixin’s or catch a movie. Remember, the Oscars are less than a month away and there’s that nominated movie you’ve been promising to see.

Deadline Looms For Come-Rain-Or-Shine “A Wagon Holds Promise” Parade To Break The Guinness World Record

While the northeast is plowing through this week’s blizzard, North Texas has been enjoying spring-like weather. So, what the heck happened to winter? It just took a couple of days off. But a smidgen of it is returning this weekend complete with a dose of rain.

That’s good news and something to think about. The good news is that it will alleviate the drought in these parts a bit, so program your sprinklers to relax for the next few days.

A Wagon Holds Promise*

A Wagon Holds Promise*

The “something to think about” is Community Partners of Dallas’ “A Wagon Holds Promise” parade on Saturday. Sure, it may be damp, but the weather-guessers think it will be light in the morning when the parade takes place. And what’s rain compared to raising funds to help Dallas County’s abused and neglected children.

So far, more than 450 folks have signed up to participate, including 250 adults and kiddos to pull the little red wagons. Because of the overwhelming response, the CPD-ers, who like to go over the top every time, have extended the sign-up deadline until 5 p.m. today. Tickets are free, but absolutely required. So don’t dawdle, because they need a headcount.

Red wagons wait their turn to parade

Red wagons wait their turn to parade

BTW, if you “rent” a wagon for $50, it’s a twofer bonus. Not only does the money go to CPD, but the wagon is put into the CPD Christmas toy drive.

Even if you have your own wagon, you still have to register to be part of the world-record-breaking event.

The celeb du jour will be the Guinness World Record representative, who will be doing a wagon count to verify that a world record has been set.

As for the rain, it’ll be a perfect opportunity to dress yourself and the kids in yellow slickers, cute galoshes and amazing umbrellas.

Registration starts at 10 a.m. and the parade commences at 11 a.m. come rain or shine. And afterwards, there will food to celebrate thanks to Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe. Yum!

* Graphic and photo provided by Community Partners of Dallas

Community Partners Of Dallas Is Rolling Out A Parade Of Little Red Wagons To Break The Guinness World Record

Back on September 12, 2003, the St George Lions Club put the town of St. George, Utah, on the map and in the pages of the Guinness World Record. The group set a world record by having 147 children’s wagons parade through the town’s streets setting a record for toy red wagons parading.

Since Community Partners of Dallas has been celebrating its 25th anniversary, CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel and VP of Development Joanna Clarke decided the perfect way to end the anniversary year was to break that record.

Paige McDaniel and Joanna Clarke (File photo)

Paige McDaniel and Joanna Clarke (File photo)

But to break a Guinness record is no easy task. One doesn’t just send a video of the event in and let that pass for credentialing. After all the i’s were dotted and t’s crossed, Saturday, January 31, was picked for “A Wagon Holds Promise” parade of little red wagons through Central Square Park in the Wilson Historic District.

But leave it to CPD not to be satisfied with 148 wagons to get into the record books. They’re aiming for 250 wagons commemorating 25 years of service Dallas County’s abused and neglected children.”

Ed Plummer, Caroline Winslow and "Sweet Caroline"*

Ed Plummer, Caroline Winslow and “Sweet Caroline”*

One of those already signed up is teenager Caroline Winslow. In addition to being the daughter of CPD Executive Committee member Candace Winslow, she has a history with red wagons. It seems that in April 2001 when Caroline was just 10 months old, her grandfather Ed Plummer hand-built “Sweet Caroline”, a limited-edition, 1/1 red wagon. Both Caroline and her “Sweet Caroline” will be part of the parade.

Caroline Winslow and "Sweet Caroline"*

Caroline Winslow and “Sweet Caroline”*

If you want to be part of Guinness Record breaking history, it’s so very easy. Here’s the POA:

  • Advance registrations are required. In other to officially break the record, participants must register.
  • Registration is free for those who bring their own wagon.
  • Red wagon rentals” are available for $50 each. Following the parade, the “rentals” will be donated to CPD’s annual toy drive.
  • Participants are encouraged to bring a new toy that will be put away for CPD’s 2015 Toy Drive.
  • Bring friends and family to cheer. After all, what’s a parade without parade watchers?
A Wagon Holds Promise parade route*

A Wagon Holds Promise parade route*

The day of the event’s schedule is:

  • 10-10:30 a.m. – Meet at Central Square Park with your red wagon or to pick up your rental.
  • 11 a.m. — The parade starts with an official from Guinness on site to verify the results. The route is a half mile long, so wear comfy shoes and make sure your wagon is up to it.
  • Following the parade, Ruthie’s Rolling Café will have food and drinks to celebrate breaking the record.

So, hitch your wagon to record-breaking event and roll on.

* Photos and graphics 
provided by Community 
Partners of Dallas

Kim And Tyson Chandler Families Hit Target With Single-Parent Families For Holiday Shopping

A fellow at Target on Marsh Lane was sorta wondering what was going on. It was about 4 p.m. on Friday, December 19, and the store was prepared for Christmas shoppers, but things seemed different. Out front was parked the Dallas Mavericks bus and a whole lot of media was gathered around at the store’s side door.

As a taller-than-tall man with three children at his side strolled through the door with the entourage of Maverick handlers, security and media inches away, a couple of women stayed behind. Leaning on a block, one tied her shoe laces. They looked just like a couple of shoppers, but they were Dallas Maverick’s Tyson Chandler’s wife Kimberly Chandler and her mom Danielle “Danny” Brown.

Kimberly Chandler

Kimberly Chandler

They quickly followed the crowd into the Target inner sanctuary.

In the employee lunch room were a coterie of single-parent families. The less-than 3-foot-tall munchkins didn’t seem to care about their families’ status as they bent their heads far back looking at the 7’1” Dallas Maverick Tyson Chandler. He looked like Gulliver surrounded by Lilliputians. Just making his way into the room required a little head bending by the basketball center.

Vernie Threadgill, Kimberly Chandler and Danny Brown

Vernie Threadgill, Kimberly Chandler and Danielle Brown

He had brought his family including Kimberly, their kids (Sacha, Tyson II and Sayge), his mom Vernie Threadgill, Danny and other members of the Chandler/Brown clan to meet these families for a shopping spree.

With the help of Hain Celestial US, the Mavericks, Chase and Target, it seems the Chandler clan had arranged for each family to have $250 Target gift cards, tickets to soccer games and Christmas dinner. And each of the Chandlers were going to escort the families on their shop-athon.

Tyson Chandler and little shopper

Tyson Chandler and little shopper

As the adults and kids headed into the aisles pushing carts, it was obvious that the Chandler household was pretty typical. Mom Kim was like a benevolent general commandeering her brood and her assigned family. Meanwhile Tyson pushed a cart with one of the children in the seat and Vernie in the lead. The tyke explained to Tyson “that toys are more important than clothes.”

The occasion for the Chandlers’ emphasis on single-parent families was the result of Tyson and Vernie having had lean Christmases and having been on the receiving end of others’ generosity.

By the way, someone asked Tyson what he was going to give his mom and Danny for Christmas. Like an embarrassed teenager, his face lit up with a big smile and he admitted that no matter how he tried, he had learned they both wanted purses. Despite other attempts, it was always the same — purses.

Hey, Tyson! It’s a girl thing.

Dallas Cowboy Justin Durant Hosted A Toy-Gathering Party For Boys And Girls Clubs Of Greater Dallas-Oak Cliff Unit

Santa wasn’t the only one in the toy business for good girls and boys. Heck, no! Here’s a report from the field about one that took place on Monday, December 15:

“Dallas Cowboys Linebacker and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame inductee Justin Durant hosted a private reception and toy drive at Olivella’s Neo Pizza Napoletana in Victory Park to benefit  Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas-Oak Cliff Unit. The mood was decidedly merry and bright when 65 people donated more than 100 toys to Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas-Oak Cliff Unit. Durant’s friend and two-time Super Bowl Champion Bethel Johnson joined the festivities.

Regina Fonts, Ci'Andria Jefferson, Justin Durant and Ashle Green*

Regina Fonts, Ci’Andria Jefferson, Justin Durant and Ashle Green*

“Justin’s fondness for Boys and Girls Clubs dates back to his own youth when he was enrolled in his hometown Boys and Girls Club. ‘I grew up in the Boys and Girls Club in Florence, S.C., so I felt the need to give back,” Durant said. ‘I wanted to partner with chapters here in Dallas to try to give back and do something with the community out here. I should have been doing it before. Now I’m trying to make up for lost time.’

Bethel Johnson and Dessie Brown*

Bethel Johnson and Dessie Brown*

“Nearly 70 people attended, including Dallas Cowboy Justin Durant, former New England Patriot Bethel Johnson, Josh from 102.1 The Morning Edge, Jasmine Sadry from 102.1 The Edge iHeart Media, Fort Worth Star-Telegram Cowboys reporter Clarence Hill Jr. and, of course, representatives from Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas.

“’On behalf of over 6,000 youth served by Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, we are extremely grateful for the generous support provided by Justin Durant’s Toys for Tots at Olivella’s Neo Pizza Napoletana and now for Charity Giveback benefitting our Oak Cliff Club,’ said Charles English, President and CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas. ‘This holiday season will be especially bright and happy for the many families that have entrusted their children to us. Justin’s generous gift ensures that we can continue to provide critical and results-based programs. We are sincerely grateful.’

Presenting sponsors included Macallan, Snow Leopard Vodka and Brugal Rum (Edrington America), Olivella’s Neo Pizza NapoletanaThe Landings St Lucia with additional support provided by Robert Half International, D4SM, Luv Your Events, Nike, W Hotel, Yeroc Eyewear, Schuyler 4, Haupt Shirts, Phil’s New Money Friends, Jenny Meets Penny, Megan Averbuch, Fashion Stylist of Belles and Rebelles, Jen Abrams Style, Unity Vintage Jean Co. and Marlyn Schiff.”

* Photo credit: Claudia Coker

MySweetWishList: Children’s Advocacy Center Of Collin County

According to Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County Community Relations Manager Katy Seitzler,

Children's Advocacy Center of Collin Country*

Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin Country*

“Each year, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County conducts the annual Holly Jolly Holiday Project to provide gifts for children and families served by our Center. The mission of the Children’s Advocacy Center is to provide safety, healing and justice to children who have been victimized by abuse or neglect. During the Holiday Project, there are several ways to help including providing gifts for individual children, meeting a family need or shopping for gifts for our Toy Store where non-offending caregivers can ‘shop’ for gifts for abused children served by the Center.

“Even though all of our foster children have been ‘adopted’ for the Adopt-A-Child holiday project, we are still collecting bikes, toys and other items for the Toy Store which provides non-offending caregivers with the opportunity to shop for gifts for children served by the Advocacy Center. We are so thankful to our donors and supporters for their willingness to step up and make sure all put kiddos have a wonderful holiday!

“For readers who want to help, the best thing to do is to visit the Holiday Project page on our website: http://www.caccollincounty.org/event_details/holiday-project.html.  Or, you can contact Kate Goble, Donor Engagement Manager, at [email protected] or at 972.633.6628.”

-Katy Seitzler, Community Relations Manager

* Graphic provided by Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County

MySweetWishList: Dog & Kitty City

According to Dog & Kitty City’s Holiday Spokescat Joy,

“I’m Joy and, big surprise, they named me Dog & Kitty City’s holiday spokescat for MySweetWishList.

Joy*

Joy*

“My Sweet Wish List includes a plush kitty bed, a big sack of catnip, a forever home of my own … o, wait, the shelter’s sweet wish list is for all of you to support our 2014 Annual Holiday Raffle. If we sell all the tickets, the dogs & cats get a spectacular holiday party (and those items on my personal sweet wish list!) … holiday bonuses for all the good little kits & pups!!!

“It is one of our major fundraisers … and everyone has a chance to win. Check it out on our website www.dognkittycity.org and buy your tickets www.dognkittycity.org/raffle or stop by the shelter, 2719 Manor Way.

“$5 for a chance to win $10,000+ worth of prizes at the drawing on January 15th at Urban Taco, Uptown. For more information, email Sandra at [email protected].”

-Joy, Dog & Kitty City’s Holiday Spokescat

* Photo provided by Dog & Kitty City

Who Are These Kids Who Hope For A Holiday Gift?

Hello, Dallas? We’ve got a problem. There are people who are shivering without even the most threadbare coats. There are animals that are chained to outdoor porches without so much as a cover.

Those are dreadful situations. If you can help, go for it!!!!

Further down the priority list are the children who will have nada for the holidays.

Hey, so who are these kids? They should be grateful for what they have.

Who said that?

“These kids” are ones who have been snatched from abusive situations by Child Protective Services. They’ve witnessed scenes that would snap the backbones of most adults. They have been rescued from households that would shudder the strongest among the community. In many cases, they’ve never known a new dress, their own toy or even a book to read.

Who are these kids? They are the “clients” of Community Partners of Dallas. For them, there is no holiday from the horror that they have witnessed. And this year the “urgent need to fulfill the largest number of holiday wishes” is greater than ever. There are more than 8,100 wishes, an increase of 1,134 wishes over last year. Recalls Children’s Protective Services’ caseworker Natosha Hooks, “I had a case with seven children in the family. The oldest child, who was 13 years old, told me that for Christmas they get one toy and he, as the oldest, plays with it first and then it goes down the line to the smallest kids who get to keep it. This Christmas they all had their own toys thanks to the generosity of Community Partners of Dallas.”

What’s that? Do you have to be a Fortune 500 to help? Heck, no! Whether you’re a mega-buck corporation or an individual on a limited budget, you can help by providing anything — “bikes, African American dolls, items from Disney’s FROZEN, Barbies, basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, learning toys for toddlers, like a Vtech Learning Laptop, Dora dolls, MP3 players, LEGO sets, Tonka trucks and Bath and Body Works sets — at Peacock Alley Warehouse (2050 Postal Way) by 1 p.m. on Friday, December 12.”

Or better yet, just send mooh-la!

Graphic provided by Community Partners of Dallas