Get back, Honky Cat! We’ve got some exclusive news for you! We don’t want you to keep living your life like a Candle in the Wind, so read on to find out about our exciting September before anyone else…

September is Hunger Action Month, a month dedicated to taking tangible steps in the fight against food insecurity. Since Tarrant County is one of the top 10 counties in the nation for food insecurity, we have our work cut out for us at Eastside Community Assistance. But we’ve got a lot of SOUP-er activities to help you engage in this fight with us!
Here’s our calendar of events (feel free to right click and save to print and hand out to your friends and neighbors!):

You might notice on Sep. 29 we have a RAFFLE DRAWING. Are you curious what we’re raffling off?? You don’t have to be a Pinball Wizard to figure it out…

I hate to leave y’all in suspense if you haven’t figured out yet. Are you Still Standing? Or are you desperate for the Philadelphia Freedom of knowing the answer? Well Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Just the Piano Player!

Have a guess yet?
We’re raffling off two tickets to Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, in the winner’s choice of five cities, with airfare and two night accommodations for two! The winner may select from the following dates:
Atlanta: November 30, December 1, 2018 at Philips ArenaNew Orleans: December 6, 2018 at Smoothie King CenterSan Francisco Bay Area: January 18, 2019 at Oracle ArenaLos Angeles: January 22, 23, 25, 30, 2019 at Staples CenterAnaheim: September 10,11, 2019 at Honda Center
Tickets are $30 each or 4/$100. This could be your last chance to see Sir Elton on tour, and it helps Eastside Community Assistance feed and clothe our neighbors in need at the same time. Tickets go on sale Sep. 1, and you can buy them at ECA or online. Good luck, and may the best Rocket Man or Tiny Dancer win!

While attempting not to melt in this sweltering heat, have you been thinking, "I wish I had an exciting new committee to join that would positively impact my community?" Well, have I got just what you’re looking for! We have two major projects that we’re looking for help with.

The first is Hunger Action Month (September). We’re looking to put together a slate of activities and a raffle to keep our community engaged with the fight against food insecurity. If you’d like to help us plan events, spread the word, and/or help us gather resources, give me a shout!

The second is a biggie. It’s our event committee for our new annual event, launching in April. We are working to put together a Top Chef style cooking competition utilizing only food pantry ingredients. There are a lot of elements to putting together an event of this nature, so we will have a spot on the team whether you’re a details person or a big picture dreamer. We need to figure out logistics, assemble the needed resources (people, location, etc.), create a vision for decor, and publicize the event. If this sounds like something you’d like to create with us, reach out ASAP so we can get a meeting scheduled. This event is going to be big not just for ECA, but for the whole Eastside community–and we’d love for you to be a part of it.

Just think, this could be you!
Until next time, Eastsiders!
We’ve been busy at Eastside these past few months! So busy the blog was a little neglected again, I apologize. But we’re building something that will make our communications have more impact for the future, and we’re so grateful to you for being a part of it from the get-go.
So we have a new logo for our new operating name! You’ve probably seen it, but we’re rather proud of it, so here it is again:

We wanted to ensure that clients, volunteers, and donors who want to be a part of our mission can tell what it is we do. Our previous name and logo served us well, but by invoking our East Fort Worth identity and incorporating our mission into the name and visual elements, people (hopefully) won’t still get us confused with the churches on either side of us!
In addition to this little face lift, we are also working on putting together some great materials to share with you regarding our strategic plan for the next three years, and how we plan to be a part of the forward motion for the Lancaster corridor in the months and years to come. We would love for our entire Eastside community to be a part of this, and you can be a part of that! If you could start talking with your neighbors about what we do and help share some of the exciting developments we have going on, that will go a long way toward helping us roll out this next phase of growth.
We are serving more clients than ever before. In May, we reached 622 households–those are our Thanksgiving numbers during a BUSY year! We are able to do this because we are ordering more and more food from Tarrant Area Food Bank, and we’ve also begun a relationship with the Community Food Bank on Galvez, who supplies our homeless food. We still get donations from our five grocers, but those donations alone won’t cover our needs any longer. We’re also able to process more clients daily due to our recent change in intake software. Our current program is much more efficient, and Cynthia and Vertie are able to see significantly more clients each day. This is great news!
There are some very exciting facts we’ve learned through switching to Charity Tracker, and you might be excited to share this info, too:
* We have an annual budget for 2018 of $129,000. In 2017 we served 22,800 clients. That means, all things being equal, we spend less that $1.50 per client for the entire year.
* Based on IRS valuations of retail cost for service provided, we are running an average retail service value of $546 per household EACH VISIT. Many of our households visit us every month.
* By those numbers, we provide a retail service value of over $3 million annually to our East Fort Worth community!

Where else can $1.50 do so much? And what can we do with more? We hope you’ll continue this journey with us to find out. And from all of us at Eastside, please accept our deepest gratitude for your commitment. We couldn’t do any of this without you.

Long time no see, neighbor! Here’s a fresh blog post for the soon-to-be official beginning of spring!
The weather is getting warmer, everything is getting greener, and there’s a great energy in the air. At Eastside, that energy has us buzzing with activity! We are participating in an event called A Community Thrives this year, a unique funding opportunity that could earn us grant funds. We created a crowdfund donation page at the following link on the CrowdRise platform:
https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/eastside-ministries-of-ft-worth1/eastside-ministries-of-ft-worth
Based on the participation level of our crowd-based fundraiser, we could win a fan favorite award of $25k, and there are up to $200k in other grants we are eligible for based on our application and the success of our donation page! If you could share this link with all of your networks, it will have a HUGE impact on our overall success. Remember, personal touches go a long way!

We are also hosting a Spring Fling Open House on Saturday, April 14, from 11-1. We’ll have lunch, tours of the facility, and entertainment for the whole family. We hope you’ll come have lunch with us, and please bring your neighbors! More details will be coming soon. This is going to be a fun event that will make for a great introduction to our organization for our neighbors who aren’t familiar with us just yet. It should be very exciting, and we hope to see y’all there!
There are two main things I’m focusing on this season. One of those things I’m focusing on this season is reinvesting in our staff and volunteers through training and education. I’m working on some initiatives to help keep our staff up-to-date on best practices in the nonprofit sector, and building our volunteer program in order to honor the incredible donation of time and dedication that our volunteers provide.
The other is facilities maintenance and improvement. We have several projects ranging from no-sweat to bring-a-crew to help make the most of our facility. If you’d like to help support these efforts, feel free to donate via our CrowdRise page, make a standard donation, or talk with me about ways to get involved!

Until next time, Eastsiders!

Well, Eastside family, we’ve made it! Our break for the holidays is finally here. The Eastside Ministries team is going to take this time to enjoy our families, get caught up on some rest after a very fast-paced November and December, and return ready to hit the ground running for our greatest year yet in January, 2018.
We served over 600 families in November, and though December is a short month, I’m sure we’ve kept pace! We could not do this any month of the year without your dedicated support. This year, hundreds of volunteers have given us thousands of hours of their time. Hundreds of people have cleaned out closets, downsized wardrobes, and given a second life to items left behind by loved ones. Many of our supporters have given financial contributions that make the nuts and bolts of operating this agency possible from the ground up. For all of this, words could never do–but I do want to express my deeply heartfelt thanks for this community. Because of your dedicated to ensuring our neighbors never have to go without food and clothing as long as they can reach our doorstep, we’ve been able to serve over 20,000 Eastsiders in need of our help this year. THANK YOU!

It is our sincere goal to take the tremendous legacy that Eastside Ministries has been building since 1985 to new heights in 2018. We want to improve the way we serve our clients, our volunteers, and our donors. We’ve been attending seminars and workshops to learn how to make the most of our efforts, for everyone’s benefit. We look forward to what the new year will bring, and I sure hope y’all are with us for the journey!
…But for now, we’re signing off for a much-needed long winter’s nap. Thank you, from the bottom of my forever grateful heart. Merry Christmas, and a most joyous New Year to you and yours.

(I’ll be checking in on our Facebook and email throughout the break, so holler if you need me! And if you still have any year-end giving needs, here is our Paypal link: paypal.me/eastsideministries )

It’s not quite yet December, but it feels like Christmas is hardly more than a blink away! Are y’all ready? My decorations are up, but we need to trudge all the empty buckets back to the shed and put the furniture back to rights this evening. I’m making "Thanksgiving Eggrolls" with leftovers tonight, as well–and that’s the last I want to see of Thanksgiving food until next year! How did Thanksgiving and Black Friday go for y’all?
Around Eastside, November has been a madhouse! We saw our maximum number of clients (40) each day, every single day. Dorothy and I scrambled to keep us in turkeys that last week, but we screeched to the finish line with just barely enough. Here’s a shot of the back of my van on an emergency bird run:

We have A LOT going on at ESM to close out the year, if you’re able to participate in one or all of these events, it would mean the world to me, the staff, and all of our clients.

First up, have you heard of Giving Tuesday? It’s the new kid on the block with the Black Friday/Cyber Monday lineup. It’s a day dedicated to giving, and United Way has offered a platform for nonprofits to use that doesn’t charge fees! Giving Tuesday is a great way to get a jump start on your year-end giving plans. Here’s our link:
https://www.bigdgives.org/organizations/eastside-ministries-of-ft-worth

Next is Christmas by Candlelight! This is one of my favorite Christmas events each year, and I sure hope to see a great turnout for my first one as an official ESM team member! The event takes place on Dec. 7 at 6:00 PM in the St. Rita gym. If you’ve never been, just drop me a line or call the St. Rita office to reserve a seat–your table host will provide a beautifully decorated table, food, and drinks for the evening. A short Christmas program will be presented by a choir made up of folks from several member churches. It’s a great time–and there’s no charge to attend, though we do hope you’ll be moved to make a donation. If you’re interested in attending or hosting a table (up to eight guests), email me or call St. Rita (817-451-9395).

Finally, we have our HoneyBaked Hams gift card fundraiser. HoneyBaked gift cards can be used for large holiday meats, box lunches, sides, desserts, or sliced meats! They’re great as a gift, or for yourself–and ESM will benefit at no added cost to you! To participate, purchase your gift cards at this link:
https://honeybakedfundraising.com//fundraisers/Holiday_Hams_For_ESM
Thanks for bearing with me through all this info! We really could not do what we do without your support. We appreciate you so much, and hope you have a wonderful holiday season.
Since the weather has changed, we really need men’s clothes. A client this morning spoke with me about the trouble he has especially, because he wears larger sizes and those don’t come in as often.
If you’re able to clean out some closets or pick up some button-down or long-sleeve knit shirts (especially in larger sizes), jackets/sweaters, and/or pants while you’re out and about in the next few weeks, we would very much appreciate it. I’m going to check Sam’s this weekend to see what kind of deals they have, and I’ll report back. If you find any particularly good bargains, let me know and I’ll be sure to share!

Christmas by Candlelight is Dec. 7 at St. Rita! Call the church office or email me directly to reserve your seats or sign up to host a table.
Our HoneyBaked Hams gift card fundraiser is running until 12/15, follow this link: https://honeybakedfundraising.com//fundraisers/Holiday_Hams_For_ESM
Dine Out With Eastside Ministries on 11/16 at El Pollo Loco on Pipeline Rd. from 5-9 PM, and they’ll give us 50% of the proceeds! Share our event listing on FB through Wednesday to be entered into a drawing for a $10 El Pollo Loco gift card!
Until next time, Eastsiders!
Holiday Meal bag collection is going GREAT! Thanks to everyone that has participated so far, and thank you to everyone still putting bags together for us. It’s not too late to get in on the action! And speaking of action–we have some great pictures of the bags coming in over the past week or so. Here’s a real action shot taken the moment one of the casters broke off the shelving unit mid-bag placement!

Luckily, we had enough hands on deck to hold the shelf in place while the remaining three casters were removed, and the bags made it onto the shelf safely. Never a dull moment at ESM!
We also have to big announcements to make. First, El Pollo Loco in Hurst called me last week to say that our fundraiser last spring was so successful that they’d like us to come back for another one! We’re set up for November 16 (Thursday) from 5-9. If you’re able, please consider joining us for some yummy tacos that evenings, and support Eastside in the process! There is a flyer you’ll need to show, either on paper or on your phone. I’ll post it to FB and pin it to the top of our page for easy access (I can’t post PDF files here).
Also, our HoneyBaked Ham gift card fundraiser is still going on through 12/15. Be the hero of that potluck or company get together you have coming up, and bring a delicious carrot cake or other treat! Or pick up some delicious sliced ham or turkey for school lunches! There are countless tasty ways to use a HoneyBaked Ham gift card. Here’s the link:
https://honeybakedfundraising.com//fundraisers/Holiday_Hams_For_ESM
My last note for today (once the holiday busy-ness sets in, it REALLY sets in, huh?) is about Christmas by Candlelight. We are taking reservations currently, so call the St. Rita office (817-451-9395) or email me directly at eastsideministries@yahoo.com to host or reserve seats for this wonderful annual tradition!

Thanks for sticking with me through all this info! Until next time–
I’m not sure how it happened, but this entire month has nearly passed by already! I can’t believe we’re just a week away from Halloween–I haven’t even gotten my girls their costumes yet.

Things have been busy around ESM lately, and all of our clients are excited about the holiday meal bags. Since the first day of the month, the phone has been ringing with people asking if it’s time to come get their slip. We’ve made a considerable change this season: clients can pick up their holiday meal any day we are open in November and December. This will help alleviate manpower struggles internally, and also remove the burden of asking our clients to make a separate trip in the month. Often, just getting here can be a challenge that is hard to overcome. By changing up our procedure, this allows clients to come in November and December as they normally would, and pick up their holiday food at that time. It’s a win-win situation!
But–this is where YOU come in. We’ll need a good amount of holiday bags ready to go by November 1. If you’re able to lend a hand, here’s the list of foods to fill your bag (or bags!) with:

Bring the bag(s) by ESM during business hours, or drop off at any of our member churches. These meals mean so much to the families in our community that need our support. With your help, we can help provide a terrific meal to a neighbor that needs us.
One final note before I sign off. We have an exciting Save the Date announcement!

If you haven’t heard, Christmas by Candlelight will be held Dec. 7 this year, at 6:30 PM in the St. Rita gym. If you would like to host a table, or you would like a seat at a table, please call the St. Rita church office (817-451-9395), and we’ll get you taken care of! The theme this year is, "In the silence, Christ is born." This is one of my favorite Christmas events each year. Can’t wait to see y’all there!
Until next time, Eastsiders!

The first few crisp mornings of fall always give me a much-needed boost of energy at the end of our hot, dragging summers. It seems like we don’t get this transition until closer and closer to the holidays each year, but I’m starting to feel that little crackle of excitement that signals the celebrations in the months to come. I may have even gone a little overboard baking this weekend–but that’s not such a bad problem to have!
This morning when I pulled up at Eastside, there were clients lined up and seated in the parking lot, waiting for 9:00 to roll around. This is pretty normal, but (other than that all-too-brief snap we had in September) it was the first morning of the season that our clients were bundled up in hats, coats, and scarves.

Often we associate Monday mornings with things going wrong, but as I walked in this morning, a client asked for a trash bag so he could bag up all the litter he had collected around our yard. It was a small gesture, but a tremendous reminder that we are all part of a greater community here in East Fort Worth. I hope I can continue the ripple effect of that kind act throughout our community today.
One important way we can all continue that ripple is by cleaning out our closets and looking for cold weather clothes and blankets for our clients. I enjoy the crisp weather we’re having, but it wouldn’t be quite so pleasant to be stuck outside without being bundled up. If you have items to share, please bring them to the brown door between 9-12 M-F. And do stop by the office to say hi, we love the visits!
Until next time, Eastsiders.
(I’m also including the link to the HoneyBaked Ham fundraiser to make it easy to find: )

© 2019 Eastside Ministries