Retiring Rev. Dr. Bruce Buchanan And Carol J. Adams Are Celebrated For 30+ Years Of Dedication To The Dallas Community

It’s hard to imagine The Rev. Dr. Bruce Buchanan and his wife Carol J. Adams retiring. For more than 30 years, they have been mainstays in the Dallas community, First Presbyterian Church Dallas (FPC) and its congregation and The Stewpot clients. Over the years, they have brought to light the challenges facing the homeless and providing means to help.

Bruce Buchanan and Carol Adams*

But that’s exactly took place amid a three-day celebration honoring the couple and ending Bruce’s 41 years as a Presbyterian minister.

Starting Friday, November 17, the clients and Stewpot staff honored Bruce with their tributes, program and farewell lunch at The Stewpot.

On the following evening,  Toast, Roast and Boast – a night of music, dinner, tears and laughter took place at The Statler with Bruce and Carol celebrating with their friends, family, past and present congregants and so many others from the citywide community.  Thanks to The Statler and the generosity of Fanchon and Howard Hallam and other underwriters, the evening was made possible.

The next day Bruce performed his last service as a Presbyterian minister on Community Ministries Sunday. Due to construction in the FPC sanctuary, the service was held at Scottish Rite Cathedral. Bruce’s and Carol’s sons, Doug Buchanan and Ben Buchanan performed the music for the service with their four-hand piano duo. Doug had been commissioned by FPC to write the anthem for the service in honor of his parents.

Mayor Mike Rawlings presented Bruce with The Dallas Proclamation from the Mayor’s office honoring Bruce’s service to the citizens of Dallas. The service ended with the congregation endorsing Bruce as Associate Minister Emeritus of FPC of Dallas.

With bagpipers playing, the congregation then marched from Scottish Rite Cathedral to Encore Park, where a reception was held with music, chili picnic and more tributes for Bruce and Carol.

The events were spearheaded by Amy Dresler, Margie and Ray Francis, Fred and Jan Hegi and Joan and Elvis Mason, along with The Stewpot and FPC staffs.

* Photo credit: Stephen Shore Photography

Plans Were Revealed At Times Ten Cellars For 10th Anniversary Celebration Of The Stewpot Alliance And Soup’s On In January

It was the kick off of a double doozy for The Stewpot Alliance at Times Ten Cellars on Tuesday, October 10. In addition to The Alliance preparing to celebrate its 10th anniversary, it will also be the 10th anniversary of The Alliance’s fundraiser “Soup’s On Luncheon And Art Sale.”

Allison Salas Fasy, Brian Luscher and Kelly Donohue Garlock*

While Chef Brian Luscher will return to serve as “Chief Chef” for the soup-athon on Monday, January 29, the event will have a new venue — The Statler.

According to Alliance President Megan Latham Martin, there will be six honorary co-chairs. Which six?Alliance founding members Janet Evans, Dian Moore, Bonnie Maston, Debbie Raynor, Bonnie Thompson and Rusty Duvall.

2018 Co-Chairs Allison Salas Fasy and Kelly Donahue Garlock told the crowd including The Stewpot Executive Director Rev. Bruce Buchanan, Carol Adams, Antonia Hubert, Heather Sauber, 2017 Soup’s On Honorary Co-Chairs Margie and Ray Francis, Hunter and Lauren Foreman and Bonnie Mastin that the luncheon speakers will be Full Circle Founder/Executive Director Kristina Wandzilak and her mother Constance Curry, who will “share their heartfelt story about the struggles, dangers and disappointments of drug and alcohol abuse and a beautiful reminder that you should never lose hope…it is never too late for a happy ending.” Back in 2006, they co-authored “The Lost Years: Surviving A Mother And Daughter’s Worst Nightmare.”

Margie and Ray Francis and Hunter and Lauren Foreman*

Proceeds from the January event will benefit The Stewpot which provides services and day shelter for the homeless and provides casework services, dental, job service assistance and many other services to aid the homeless in the Dallas area. The Stewpot now serves approximately 1,700 meals a day at the “Second Chance Cafe” located at the city run homeless shelter, The Bridge, and serves 7 days a week. The Stewpot is a community outreach program of First Presbyterian Church.

* Photo credit: Rob Wythe

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Soup’s On! Luncheon

This winter hasn’t exactly been a Sub-Zero experience, at least in North Texas. So the demand for soup may not have been the high priority of years past. But when it comes to The Stewpot Alliance’s Soup’s On! Luncheon, the liquid stuff is a draw thanks to Chief Chef Brian Luscher and his team of chefs and the topic du jour — the homeless situation in North Texas.

From the left: (standing) Andrew Swanson, Scott Girling, Andrew Chen, Andrew Dilda, Omar Flores and Dennis Kelley; (seated) Danyele McPherson, Abraham Salum, Brian Luscher, Janice Provost and Melody Bishop

In fact, this year’s sold-out fundraiser chaired by Heather Sauber on Tuesday, January 31, was so filled that there was hardly room for the servers at Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station to squeeze through.

Mike Rawlings and Robert Wilonsky

Florencia Velasco Fortner

Keven Ann Willey

Jeff Tooker

While the post is being prepped, check out the chefs, the panelists and guests over at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.     

The Stewpot And Encore Park Celebrate Anniversaries Despite Stormy Weather

Think back to Saturday, October 24. The skies cleared from Friday night’s deluge just long enough for the Komen Race For A Cure at NorthPark. But that drying situation didn’t last for the anniversary celebrations for The Stewpot and Encore Park. Luckily, organizers rearranged things, so the show still went on. Here’s a report from the field:

Despite the dreary and rainy weather, hundreds of people gathered to celebrate two momentous milestones: The Stewpot’s 40th and Encore Park’s first anniversaries. Attendees showed up in rain jackets, rain boots and umbrellas to honor the amazing work that these two sister nonprofits have accomplished.

The Stewpot’s 40th and Encore Park’s first anniversaries*

The Stewpot’s 40th and Encore Park’s first anniversaries*

The events took place in downtown’s Harwood Historic District, home of The Stewpot and Encore Park that includes 508 Park where Robert Johnson recorded in 1937. It kicked off with the Eastfield College Brass Band at 10 a.m. The day’s events included a tour of the Encore Park Sculpture Wall designed by Brad Oldham and Christy Coltrin and a tour of the Community Garden led by Stewpot client and community gardener Michael Bell.

Works by various Stewpot Open Art Program artists*

Works by various Stewpot Open Art Program artists*

The celebratory day included the 27th Annual Stewpot Talent Contest, which showcased the visual art, instrumental, vocal, and poetic talents of Stewpot clients. The Dallas Street Choir opened the talent contest and filled The Stewpot with impassioned voices singing tunes like The Beatles’ “Let It Be” and “This Little Light of Mine.”

Bruce Buchanan*

Bruce Buchanan*

508 Park’s recreated sconces were lit for the first time Saturday at 5 p.m. The lights and lettering had been missing for years. The first lighting, on the one-year anniversary of Encore Park, was scored by Dallas Winds tuba quartet.

Following the lighting, donors, Stewpot clients and guest were treated to Stewpot’s signature Chili dinner.

At 7:30, attendees moved to AllGood Café in Deep Ellum to watch headliner Lucky Pierres’ salute to Don Law, 508 Park’s legendary musical producer. The band played western swing, honky-tonk, and hard country songs in honor of the 508 Park’s anniversary. Friends Alan Wooley, from the Dallas bands Killbilly and the Cartwrights, and Erik Swanson and Dustin Ballard, from Shoot Low Sheriff, also performed some of Law’s legendary productions.

As the rain poured down, the events rolled on, showing the resiliency of both organizations and underscoring that they are here for the people of Dallas no matter what the weather brings.

* Photos provided by The Stewpot Alliance and Encore Park

North Texas Giving Day Booster: The Stewpot

“Imagine pulling out a chair and sitting down at a community table at one of your favorite North Texas restaurants. At the height of the lunch rush, the dining room is buzzing with regulars as well as new faces. But while some at your table are catching up with friends and acquaintances, others are simply enjoying the food in front of them.

“Crispy green salad with plump tomatoes. Bright orange slices. Pasta with creamy sauce. Crunchy seasoned broccolini. Fresh yeast rolls.

The Stewpot*

The Stewpot*

“Imagine now that instead of sitting down to eat at one of those popular farm-to-table restaurants in our community, you are homeless and hungry and sitting down at the The Stewpot’s Second Chance Café, the daily meal service provider inside The Bridge in downtown Dallas. The good news is that the welcome and the fresh food are much the same regardless of your circumstances.

“We all know the value of a nutritious meal that tastes good. It gives you energy. It quenches your thirst and satisfies your hunger. But to many residents of our community who live day to day with homelessness and poverty, a healthy meal made with fresh, organic produce and hearty proteins means much more. Food can mean dignity. Food can mean health. Food can mean hope.

“Thanks to last year’s North Texas Giving Day, The Stewpot was able to rethink and restructure its meal services for some of our city’s neediest residents by creating three-week rotating menus that offer organic fruits and vegetables and many tasty alternatives to processed foods. The generosity of North Texas Giving Day donors ensured that the kitchen staff at the Second Chance Café was given additional training to bring together balanced meals that looked good, tasted good, and served up the compassion The Stewpot has been known for over the last forty years in North Texas.

“The Stewpot is well known for serving second chances. The number of lives touched at The Second Chance Café serves as a daily and weekly reminder of our community’s commitment to reach out to those less fortunate among us. Three meals a day, seven days a week. Our staff and the legions of energetic, faithful volunteers serve seven thousand nutritious meals every week. With every meal, we offer dignity, health, and hope.

“Help us to continue to serve these nutritious meals and donate here on September 17 from 6 a.m. to midnight.”

-By Caryn Carson, The Stewpot’s Vice Chairperson

* Photos courtesy of Lee Hutchins

Soup’s On! Teams Serves Up A Tasty Check To The Stewpot Alliance

While the Trinity Rats were at Mary McDermott Cook’s Dump Top sipping wine with perfect views of downtown Dallas and the Art Ball 50 patrons were being deliciously gorgeous in the Hartland-Mackie mansion sneak peeking Brian Bolke’s pop-up shop, The Stewpot team was happily collecting a check on Wednesday, April 8. Here’s a report from the field:

The Stewpot Alliance presented The Stewpot with a check for $375,000 at the annual spring membership party. 2015 Soup’s On! luncheon Co-Chairs Anne Besser and Jackie Moore along with Chef Chair Brian C. Luscher made the announcement Wednesday at the home of Susie Simon.

Bruce Buchanan, Lee Hutchins, Brian Luscher, Jackie Moore and Anne Besser*

Bruce Buchanan, Lee Hutchins, Brian Luscher, Jackie Moore and Anne Besser*

“Executive Director Rev. Dr. Bruce Buchanan and Development Director Lee Hutchins accepted the check on behalf of The Stewpot and Encore Park.

Christi Nicolas and Charlotte Legg*

Christi Nicolas and Charlotte Legg*

“2016 Co-Chairs Charlotte Legg and Christi Nicolas announced that the 2016 Soup’s On Luncheon and Art Sale will be held January 19, 2016, at Union Station. Guest speaker will be Collins Tuohy, subject of The Blind Side, who will discuss ways in which everyone can do something to change the life of another person.”

Susie Simon and Rosemary Robbins*

Susie Simon and Rosemary Robbins*

“Additionally, Stewpot Alliance President Rosemary Robbins honored Stewpot employee Betty Heckman and Stewpot Alliance member Susie Simon for their outstanding work for The Stewpot Alliance in supporting the work of The Stewpot, which offers a safe haven for homeless and at-risk individuals of Dallas, providing resources for basic survival and opportunities to start a new life.

“For 40 years, The Stewpot has provided meals to our homeless and at-risk neighbors. Programs have developed to assist with medical needs, counseling, enrichment of children and youth, job training, and cultural expression. Seizing a remarkable opportunity to acquire the historic buildings at 508 and 515 Park, The Stewpot has embarked on a groundbreaking project entitled Encore Park. When completed, this expanded campus will include an outdoor amphitheater, community garden, a Museum of Street Culture, an Art Gallery for the Open Art Program, and expanded space for its partner agencies and its own programs.”

* Photos provided by The Stewpot Alliance

Get A Pass From The Dallas Zoo For Turning In Your Closet Friend

It’s your closet friend. You know. It’s that coat that you really thought about and finally broke down and brought. Sue it love at first sight, and it kept you warm and even earned a couple of compliments. But times and trends change and newcomers eventually replaced it. So, it was more or less put into closet retirement.

Now it’s time to let it “out of the closet” and be that special coat for someone who doesn’t worry about being a trendsetter. It’s a person who would appreciate the warmth your old cover buddy can provide.

Yes, parting will be tough, but facing the chill will be a lot tougher for some without a coat.

Now, how about a special? The Dallas Zoo is offering a free pass on Saturday, December 6, in exchange for “gently used or new cold-weather gear — your coat, gloves, scarf.” And they’ll make sure that it goes to The Stewpot for someone who will make it a good home.

Lola (File photo)

Lola (File photo)

Ah, if you’re already a member of the zoo and already get in free, your donation will get a guest pass for your donation.

By the way, check out the Dallas Zoo membership levels. Talk about membership having perks. Everything from free admission, monorail passes to free parking. Everything except taking one of the zoo residents home.

Soup’s On! Luncheon Provided Fun For Chefs And A Lesson That Homelessness Is Not Limited To Strangers

While Downtown Dallas Kingpin John Crawford was doing his state-of-the-downtown presentation Tuesday at the Omni Dallas, Dallas Mayor “Big Mike” Rawlings wasn’t there. Nope. Sporting a new haircut, he was over at Union Station front row center for the Soup’s On! luncheon benefiting The Stewpot. While this pick of the two lunches was tough, he probably was loyal to his friend/luncheon honorary co-chair Tom Dunning, who convinced Big Mike to get involved with the homeless situation back in 2005. That involvement led to his running for mayor a year ago. Tom explained the night before at the patron party Monday night how widespread homelessness is, how everybody knows somebody who’s been homeless: a brother, sister, etc.

But back to Tuesday’s lunch where Big Mike, who is known for being right at home at The Bridge, was surrounded by the likes of underwriting chair Jan Hegi, Erin Mathews, David Nichols and luncheon keynote speaker Jeannette Walls.

Susan Nowlin

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Before Mike arrived or any of the guests like Connie O’Neill, Barbara Stuart, Robyn Conlon, Susan Nowlin, Jill Smith, Caron Prothro, Harriet Miers, Joanna Clark and Becky Sykes

Brian Luscher

took their seats in the Grand Hall, Chief Chef Brian Luscher of The Grape was back in the kitchen describing the work done by The Stewpot and going over plans with the celebrity chefs (Bruno Davaillon of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Kevin Garvin of Neiman Marcus Restaurants, Keith Hanks of The Capital Grille, Matt McAllister of Campo Modern Country Bistro, Janice Provost of Parigi, Abraham Salum of Salum and Komali and Randall Copeland of Restaurant AVA) who had prepared soup for nearly 600 guests.

Randall Copeland, Janice Provost and Abraham Salum

As dedicated and hardworking as these talented chefs are, they were thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to help Brian and The Stewpot and . . . seeing each other. These guys and gal are a neat group who checked their egos at the doors and really got a kick out of working together.

But the time wasn’t long before they had to head to their prep stations to get the soup ladled out.

Hamilton Park Men's Choir

Back in the Grand Hall, Ed Bernet had the always-in-tune-and-inspiring Hamilton Park Men’s Choir take the stage and that got guests moving from the silent auction of art by Stewpot artists in the Frisco Room to the Grand Hall for the main event.

Emcee Gary Cogill took over the stage from the choir and got things rolling by confessing that this event was his “favorite afternoon of the entire year” and adding that he get “teary-eyed” when he thinks about the plight of the hungry and homeless.

Following the invocation by Dr. Joe Clifford, The Stewpot Alliance Luncheon Chair Tonya “Toni” Meier  acknowledged the various people for the day’s success. But she also added that next year’s (January 29, 2013) co-chairs Kay Lunceford and Trish Weigand would have a project in their sights for fundraising — 508 Park, a new outreach program for The Stewpot.

As Toni spoke, the aroma of herbs in simmering soups flooded the room as a parade of staffers brought bowls. (Editor’s note: The room was divided into eight sections. Each section got a different soup.)

Gary returned and made a failed attempt to introduce the eight chefs. Alas, they were getting their soups on the table and didn’t have time for the spotlight.

Gary suggested that everyone sup their soup and enjoy their entrees with the promise that the chefs would be introduced in 10 minutes. In addition to eating, guests checked out their favors that included bowls created by The Stewpot Artists and the eight signature soup recipes.

Bruno Davaillon, Matt McAllister, Brian Luscher, Randall Copeland, Janice Provost, Abraham Salum, Keith Hanks and (in front) Kevin Garvin

At 12:20 the chefs had finished their projects and were relaxing in the Central Depot room when Gary came back to thank them and tell them the POA.

Three minutes later the introductions were underway. Unfortunately, one poor wait staffer didn’t get the memo and wandered down the v-e-r-y narrow aisle leading from the Central Depot to the stage. What was he doing there? Why checking for dishes to remove. Now normally that would be applauded, but in this case he didn’t realize that he was blocking the chefs from walking up to the stage. That situation was quickly resolved when a management member of the Union Station team advised him to get out of the way.

After the chefs were officially introduced and presented with platters from The Stewpot artists, they moved to their section to talk with their guests and make sure the soup was to their liking.

Jeannette Walls

It was then time for Jeannette to talk to the crowd. The willowy former MSNBC journalist and author looked like a Crystal Charity member or perhaps a former Junior Leaguer. For those who hadn’t read The Glass Castle, they were probably hunkering down for a talk by a high society fundraiser on the plight of the homeless. Ah, but others like co-chair Sally Dunning had read Jeannette’s book and knew better.

Blending humor with touching firsthand experiences of a childhood that amazed the vast majority in the room, Jeannette told of growing up with well-meaning but nomadic parents. Highlights included

  • As a celebrity correspondent, she was being driven to a “fancy party” in NYC andsaw a homeless woman rummaging through trash. She sank down in the cab when she realized the woman was her mother. Her problem wasn’t so much that her mom was living on the street as much as others would discover Jeannette’s secret.
  • She was taken to the hospital at the age of three because her dress had caught on fire when she was making her meal.
  • In West Virginia she envied a friend because his family actually had a coal-burning stove.
  • Her father “gave” her Venus for a Christmas gift and promised one day to build a “glass castle” in the desert.
  • Her boyfriend (who eventually became her husband) told her that the scars from the childhood burn were beautiful because “scars are a sign that you survived.”

Strongly suggest that you either read Jeannette’s The Glass Castle and/or checking this video on Jeannette that includes footage of her mom. Unfortunately, during these times Jeannette’s story is not the exception in the world. Luckily, The Stewpot and good people, like Toni and the chefs, are pulling together to help them not just survive but succeed.

Soup’s On! Patron Party Showcases Tuesday’s Jeannette Walls And Auction Art At Jan And Fred Hegi Home

Fred and Jan Hegi and Tom and Sally Dunning

Jan and Fred Hegi‘s very, very special home that is magically blended into the environment of gurgling streams and tree-shaded grounds was opened up, much to the frustration of traffic, for the patrons of Soup’s On! today night. While the home may have been a major draw for guests, a couple of other items soon attracted the key attention of guests.

Jeannettte Walls

First, there was Tuesday’s Soup’s On! Luncheon keynote speaker/survivor of a nomad life Jeannette Walls. She’s tall, intelligent and trying to figure out her next project. The problem is that after years of covering the swank life for MSNBC, she sometimes found it hard to do a 180-degree turnaround and cover the growing number of homeless and needy.  Jeannette is a survivor and smart gal and will figure that one out.

Art by Cornelious Brackens Jr.

Next was the art around the Hegi home. No, not the masterpieces on the walls, but the paintings that were up for sale by The Stewpot artists that will be part of the fundraising efforts at Tuesday lunch at Union Station.

BTW, Tuesday’s lunch that has Sally and Tom Dunning as honorary chairs is sold out. Yeah!!!