The holidays are all about giving, and what better way to give than by volunteering or joining organizations whose efforts impact your own neighborhood and communities? We recently had the pleasure of shining the spotlight on Altrusa’s red bag food drive, which will take place this month right here in Trophy Club. We asked Debby Gallagher to share with our readers more about this important organization and opportunity to give back.
TWCL: What is the Altrusa International Foundation and when was it founded?
Debby: Altrusa International is a civic women’s club that was founded in 1917 in Nashville, Tennessee, as a service organization for women, similar to the Rotary Club for men. Today, both organizations invite men and women to join as members. Some of the projects and organizations that Altrusa supports are Catholic Charities, The Stepping Stones Foundation, Community Storehouse, The Center for Transforming Lives, Christ’s Haven for Children, The Community Enrichment Center, Christmas is for Children, various Independent School Districts, several food banks, and the Malaik Orphanage in Uganda where we have funded the installation of solar panels and assisted with tuition. The local club, Altrusa DFW, was established in 2002 as a 501(c)(3) community service organization. It is a small but mighty group of about 25 members that impact over 8,000 lives each year. We are a diverse group of highly-skilled individuals united with a strong commitment to service and bettering the community by promoting personal growth, professional leadership, and supportive friendships, through hands-on community service. Several of Altrusa DFW’s projects specifically mentor developing local youth and their understanding of serving the community.
TWCL: Can you tell our readers about the red bag project and how it started?
Debby: The red bag food drive is in its 22nd year in DFW. A little over 10 years ago, a small group of middle school boys in the Turnberry and Highlands subdivisions here in Trophy Club took part in a service project collecting bags of food for those less fortunate. They handed out about 200 bags and captained the streets where they lived. This year, we plan to pass out over 2,000 bags with the assistance of multiple groups, including the Byron Nelson High School National Honor Society, Tidwell Middle School, Grapevine Faith, and Smart Initiatives, a student run, nonprofit organization. The participating students earn volunteer hours by meeting to sort and prep bags of food, by the delivery of bags and signs, and by collecting and delivering food to Southlake Carroll High School. This year, everyone will meet at a centralized drop off point where several food banks and agencies will have trucks to pick up food to be delivered to their food banks. This will allow us to not overload one food bank while another is still in need.
The bags will be distributed on December 2-3, with collection by the students between 1:30-2:00 pm on December 10. Unfortunately, we don’t have the ability at this time to make it to all of the beautiful communities of Trophy Club, but everyone is welcome to meet at the Byron Nelson High School parking lot by the baseball fields on December 10 at 2 PM with your contribution. Here’s a list of things we will be collecting: beans (dried or canned), dry pasta and rice, pasta sauces, macaroni and cheese, instant potatoes, stuffing mix, canned fruit and vegetables, peanut butter, jelly, pancake mix, juice, canned soup, canned tuna or meat, cereal and oatmeal, granola bars, deodorant, laundry soap and supplies, sealed toothbrushes, toothpaste, and toilet paper. We do keep track of our collections from the bags every year, and our goal is a 20% return from the previous year. Altrusa contributes over 20,000 pounds of food collected across Tarrant County and thanks to our part, Denton County as well.
TWCL: How can our readers get involved?
Debby: What a blessing it is to live in Trophy Club! We have such a great community that pulls together when a need arises which demonstrates to the kids in our village about giving back and the power of people working together to make a better community. Some of Altrusa DFW’s signature service projects include a backpack drive, a school supply drive, the red bag food drive, creating holiday baskets for the local ISD support staff, filling the gap - which provides household and personal necessities to local families in need, Astra student service clubs, Young DFW, and the Malaik orphanage in Uganda, to name a few. Altrusa is always welcoming new members to join in helping with any of our projects. If you would like to help by using your talents toward improving our community with a hands-on approach, please feel free to reach out to me, Debby Gallagher, at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Renee Sorgel at 214–298–8370.