Texas Homeless Network to host free webinar on practices to end homelessness today

Everyone is invited to attend the Texas Homeless Network’s free monthly webinar focusing on best community practices to be used to end homelessness in Texas. The webinar is Tuesday, July 29, at 3 p.m., but you must be registered by 2 p.m.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 10.25.31 PMCalled ‘Bloc Talks’, these free monthly webinars will provide the community the opportunity to learn how to more effectively serve your homeless population through exploring successful practices in housing, mental health and education.

In this monthly webinar THN will bring guest speakers who can talk first-hand about the practices that they are involved in and then they will link you with trainings for the practices if you decide to incorporate them.

Keep in mind, the target audience is the local coalition for homelessness and all parties that make up this group — business owners, case managers, program directors, etc.

These sessions will be brief, twenty minute presentations with fifteen minute Q&As  following. So as to give you the best service snap-shot in a time sensitive manner, the sessions will begin and end on time.

Also, due to the nature of these sessions, there will be no CEUs (continuing education) offered.

In this July webinar, the focus will be on ‘Best Housing Practices’, featuring Johnny Riley from the Texarkana Housing Authority.

To register for this free webinar, click here. Please register by 2 p.m. on Tuesday. The webinar will start at 3 p.m. Once you register you will received a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Turtles float past civic center to raise $37K for Boys & Girls Club

TurtleFloat_17Hundreds of turtles raced down the drainage ditch in front of Love Civic Center on Saturday to raise $37,890 in the Boys and Girls Club of the Red River Valley’s 11th annual Johnny Stallings Memorial Great Paris Turtle Float.

This year marked the first time to hold the race at the civic center.

“I think it’s a great idea to move the race over here,” Gene Stallings said. “I’m sure we’ll have a record number of turtles that will be adopted, and that’s a good thing.”

Executive Director Henry Shaw also expected to do well with the Turtle Float, which is one of two major fundraisers for the club each year. The other is the annual youth auction.

“Last year was $35,000. Our goal this year is $40,000. We’ll be close. We’ve had a ton of walk ups,” Shaw said. “Thank you to the community, our staff and our most excellent board of directors for supporting ‘the positive place for youth’ – your Boys and Girls Club of the Red River Valley.”

This year, 5,000 turtles were up for adoption at $10 each or a herd of 11 for $100. Mark Rhea won $3,000 for first place. The second-place prize of $2,000 went to Big Country Farm and Ranch. Gary Bassett earned $1,000 for third place as well as the fourth-place of two Rangers tickets. The fifth-place Yeti cooler went to Wayne Kirby. Ten turtles were also selected at random for a quick-pick $50 prize.

The event is named for Stalling’s son, and it was Stallings himself who brought the idea for the float to Paris.

“When I coached the Phoenix Cardinals, they had the Great Duck Race,” he said. “It was $100 a duck, and here you can get 11 turtles for $100. But they were giving away a Mercedes.”

Special fundraising performance Thursday at PCT to benefit New Hope Center

Through the efforts of Premier Home Care & Hospice, Paris Community Theatre and the play sponsors (First Federal Community Bank; Harrison, Walker & Harper) a special performance of ‘The White Liars/Black Comedy’ (click for more info about the play) will be held tonight as a fundraiser for the New Hope Center of Paris.

The performance starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $12. There will be a free wine and cheese reception at the theatre after the play.

This is another event in a series of fundraisers that Premier Home Care & Hospice is doing for this year’s ‘Beauty is Ageless’ Senior Beauty Pageant, which is the New Hope Center’s big annual fundraiser.

Tell your friends, bring yourself and bring your family out to support this great cause in beautiful downtown Paris.

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Paris Biker Church to host ‘Outside the Walls’ service with free hot dogs on July 26

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On Saturday, July 26, the Paris Biker Church will go ‘Outside the Walls’ to host a worship service – featuring live music, a message and free hot dogs — at Wade Park from 7-8 p.m.

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend the event, so bring your friends and family to give praise to our Lord.

The free hot dogs will be served for as long as the supplies last. Live worship music will be performed by the Craig Vance Band.

The idea of ‘Outside the Walls’ — coined by the Paris Biker Church — is an outreach ministry to reach as many as possible, especially those that may not think they ‘fit in’ at a traditional church. It is an attempt to go outside the walls of the norm and inform more people of the Good News of the Lord.

The Paris Biker Church is nondenominational and is located at 3900 Southeast Loop 286. Stop by for more information, and mark your calendars for the ‘Outside the Walls’ service on Saturday, July 26.

Help is Needed at the Downtown Food Pantry

FoodPantry03-300x207Back in 2009 a small group of people started feeding the needy and hungry out the basement of the First United Methodist Church. After a short time at the old Co-Ministry building on Clarksville street, which they quickly outgrew, the Downtown Food Pantry (DFP) moved into its current space at 124 W. Cherry Street.

Twice a week a line wraps around the 8700 sq. ft. building, as people patiently wait to go inside, be quickly processed and then “shop” for their food.  The DFP is surprisingly efficient.  John Kirkman, Executive Director, says “We can process 150 families an hour. That includes checking in, letting them select their food, checking out and putting the food in their cars. It is really quite amazing.”

But in order to remain efficient they need more and more volunteers.   Individuals or groups interested in volunteering at the Food Pantry are encouraged to contact Chuck Burton 903-737-8870 or email chuck@downtownfoodpantry.org.

Volunteers are needed to help process patrons not only on the two days that the Pantry is open:  Tuesdays: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Thursdays: 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.  But volunteers are also needed on days when deliveries arrive and they need to stock the pantry: Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Monetary donations are also needed to keep the Downtown Food Pantry operational. The Pantry serves over 400 families each Tuesday and Thursday. That’s a lot of food. The best way to help the DFP to continue is through a cash donation – no matter how small. Donations can be mailed to:  124 W. Cherry Street, Paris, TX 75460.  Donations are completely tax-deductible.

For those who don’t have the time to volunteer or the discretionary income to donate, another great, easy way to help the Downtown Food Pantry is the donations of plastic bags, preferably used, clean Walmart bags.  Those who come to the DFP, have a true shopping experience. Complete with shopping carts, check-out and of course bagging their groceries.

A few dedicated, compassionate people made a decision to feed the hungry in Lamar County. Over a few short years, their vision has grown and their mission is making a huge impact.  Take the time to volunteer, send in a donation or collect bags for the Downtown Food Pantry.