Chamber lunch begins annual care week

Date: Friday, November 13, 2009

Schools, businesses, citizens pull together to help those in need

By Judy Truesdell
Staff Writer
Despite concerns about the economy, health care and the bottom line, members of the Wylie community will once again join hands to help those less fortunate as, through several events and drives, they strive to stock the shelves at the Wylie Christian Care Center.
This period of generosity is sometimes called Christian Care Week; sometimes it’s called the Week of Compassion. Regardless of its name, though, there are many ways in which anyone, with deep pockets or just spare change, can help.

Raymond Cooper, executive director of the center, said $80,000 is the goal this year. “We are doing more business this year and helping more families than ever before,” he said. “So far in 2009, we’ve assisted 1542 families; we’re anticipating over 2,000 by the end of the year. We see 18 to 24 familiy representatives per day, so we estimate 7,000 as the number of people we help, and we’re only open three days a week.
“It’s a good news, bad news situation. The bad news is the numbers are increasing. The good news is that we’re keeping up with it.”
Chamber luncheon
The Wylie Chamber of Commerce kicks things off at 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 17, at its monthly luncheon. It will be held at St. Anthony Catholic Church, 404 N. Ballard Ave., and Cooper will be the speaker. There will be some auction items and some raffle items, Cooper said. Reservations are $12 with a donation of five canned goods, or $15 with no donation. Without reservations, tickets are $20 at the door. Contact the chamber at or 972-442-2804 to RSVP; no online payments may be accepted this year. 
Melissa Crabtree, chairperson of the chamber board of directors, said she especially embraces the spirit of the season. “When I was a little girl, we were poor,” she said. “I have four brothers and sisters and three stepbrothers and sisters. My father was chief of police, but we were really poor. We would go to the town hall once a month and stand in line to get cheese, powdered milk, powdered eggs and peanut butter. I was 9 years old before I realized peanut butter came in other sizes besides a 1-gallon paint can and cheese was available in blocks smaller than 5 pounds.”  

Crabtree said she enjoyed “hanging out and socializing” with the other people in line, but her parents were “humiliated and degraded.” 

“But they did it because they had to. During the Christmas holiday, one year, a man dressed as Santa, smelling of mothballs, came to our home and gave me a doll. It was the best present ever. It was many years later that I realized that someone had given our name to the Christmas Angels. I decided then that I would always try to give something back when I can. My family always chooses angels from the local angel trees. We give to the Christian Care Center. We give to families in need, we volunteer. Even through the tough times as a child, I never went without, and have always, I believe, been blessed.”

Chamber President Mike Agnew added, “It is always our pleasure to do whatever we can to help support the Christian Care Center in Wylie. From our collection contest with the Sachse Chamber to hosting the luncheon in November, the chamber is happy to be involved with a cause that directly supports the people of Wylie.”

The Downtown Merchants Association will also present a $500 check to the center at the luncheon, representing proceeds from the Boo! on Ballard costume contest as well as donations from Carroll Jewelry and Shoemaker & Hardt and the association itself. 

Wylie schools collection
According to Marcia Coker of Wylie ISD, the district chooses to support the Christian Care Center rather than participate in the United Way. “All campuses participate by either donating money or canned food,” she said. She and Public Information Officer Susan Dacus, assisted by WHS and WE AFJROTC students, will collect the donated food on Wednesday, Nov. 18, and Friday, Nov. 20. 
Coker said the district also enlists the help of M.G. “Red” Byboth and his company, Dallas Moving and Storage; Byboth donates a driver and a truck to collect the food and deliver it directly to the center. “Each year, Wylie ISD students collect and donate more than 30,000 items,” she said. “Also, the Wylie ISD staff collected more than $3,500 last year that Dr. Fuller will present to Raymond Cooper at the Wylie Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Our goal this year is $4,500.”

If members of the community want to contribute to the schools’ effort, food items may be delivered to any of the campuses through Nov. 17, Coker said. Needed items include canned meats, fruits and mixed vegetables; tomato products, such as spaghetti sauces; dry pastas; dry cereals, hot and cold; dry noodles; rice; peanut butter; jelly; boxed dinners such as macaroni and cheese and Hamburger Helper; cake mixes, Jell-O and pudding mixes, canned juices, powdered and canned milk, bread and biscuit mixes and toiletry items.
All-faith service
First Baptist Church Wylie will host the annual All-Faith Thanksgiving service from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22. Cooper said he anticipates performances from several local choirs.

Day of prayer
Monday, Nov. 23, will be a day of prayer and sacrifice; each area church is asked to open its doors to allow members to spend 30 minutes or more in prayer. Everyone is also asked to make some special sacrifice.

Bake sale at banks
Six area bank locations will host the 22nd annual Thanksgiving Bake Sale. Pies, cakes, brownies, cookies – perfect for Thanksgiving feasts – are gathered from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24, in the Community Room of American National Bank – Wylie located at 201 S. Hwy. 78. Anyone wishing to donate a treat may drop it off, on a paper or cardboard plate that may be discarded; volunteers are also needed to help decorate the meeting room throughout the day. 
Then from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 25, baked goods are available for purchase at American National Bank – Wylie; American National Bank – Sachse, 5430 Hwy. 78; Capital One – Wylie, 499 S. Hwy. 78; Inwood National Bank – Wylie, 200 S. Hwy. 78; Texans Credit Union – Wylie, 420 S. Hwy. 78; and Viewpoint Bank – Wylie, 921 Westgate Way.

All proceeds go to the Christian Care Center. 

For more information, contact Amy Nap at 214-863-5844 or Betty Lutz at 972-429-5521.
Grocery store collections
Brookshire’s, 701 S. Hwy. 78, will once again have a collection box so shoppers can toss a can or two in after they’ve shopped for their own families. Manager Steve Williamson said his employees also work with Wylie Fire-Rescue to deliver Christmas dinners. Donation boxes will be in the store from Nov. 18 until Christmas.
Representatives of Albertsons, at 921 S. Westgate Way, said they were awaiting corporate approval, but expected to have a donation box in the store as well.
Cooper said he trusts the community will rally once more. “The town as a whole has always stepped up,” he said. “Our food collections are way up. Anybody donating from one or two cans to a whole truckload is appreciated, and any time I’ve asked for more food – it’s appeared.”

Crabtree summed up the feeling of those pitching in to help. “It is wonderful to see that a small(ish) community like Wylie has a visionary like Mr. Cooper who has truly made a difference,” she said. “I believe it is the duty of every single person to give freely when you can. Whether you give time, money, groceries or a teddy bear, you will see that your whole being feels better. You may be having a bad day stuck on 78, but if you take a sack of groceries to Mr. Cooper, knowing they will help someone, your day can turn around in an instant. Your smile for the rest of the day will come from within. It is a wonderful feeling.

“Commit to giving and be thankful every day, because you will never know when you will be the one standing in the line for a gallon of peanut butter of a 5-pound block of cheese.”

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