Six-Pack • Stories of Giving from Those Who Inspire

Residents of Georgetown have a history of aid to and largesse within our community. Women’s groups, in particular, have been especially active for many decades. In the 1970s, Ms. Mary Bailey recognized a need for good foster care and set the stage for the first local Head Start program. In the 1980s, a group of women began collecting and handing out clothing and food, which became The Caring Place. In the 1990s, a group of women recognized there were many residents who did not have health care, and they developed the Lone Star Circle of Care. Then…

SEEDS OF STRENGTH

In 2009, 13 friends agreed to work together to make a personal and significant impact on the community. By the Spring of 2010, they had combined the resources of 55 ladies who each donated $1,000, and collectively awarded $55,000 in grants to five Georgetown nonprofit organizations. This group later became known as the Seeds of Strength giving circle. 

Today, Seeds of Strength has nearly 300 members, and over the past ten years, has given more than $1.3 million to dozens of nonprofit organizations helping more than 43,000 Georgetown neighbors. It is a glowing testament to the impact individuals can make when they team up to help. 

Today, aspiring philanthropists can be a part of Seeds of Strength for $300 or more. No invitation is required; any woman may join their ranks. As well, any nonprofit organization that meets the eligibility requirements may submit a Letter of Intent; this year’s deadline is November 14 by 5pm. Detailed information can be found under the Grants tab on the Seeds of Strength website. 

The Seeds of Strength Grants Committee reviews and researches each grant application to arrive at a group of finalists. Those organizations are invited to make a presentation to the full membership, which takes place at Voting Night in the Spring; a gathering where members vote to determine which finalists will receive grants.    

Learn more at SeedsofStrength.org.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR WILLIAMSON & BURNET COUNTIES

Opportunities for Williamson & Burnet Counties (OWBC) is an umbrella agency serving myriad needs of the Georgetown area since 1965. As the area’s official Community Action Agency, they provide senior nutrition as Meals on Wheels. 

But, their real contribution is demonstrated by the roughly 900 volunteers who support neighbors of all ages throughout the year. Without those volunteers, —because OWBC must raise nearly 100 percent of their operating costs—the program would not be possible. 

The Meals on Wheels program at OWBC is unique to many programs in Central Texas. They manage kitchens at four senior activity centers in Williamson County, which are part of a system that provides more than 200,000 hot lunches annually, plus activities and health screenings on a regular basis. In Georgetown, the Madella Hilliard Center (8th St) also has Halloween parties, Valentine dances and more for seniors who come from as far as Florence and Granger for a little social activity. 

By cooking and delivering freshly-cooked and nutritionally-balanced meals, our senior neighbors, many of whom are homebound, are able to have at least one hot meal a day. Those friendly volunteer drivers also provide well-checks; a quick visit to make sure homes are safe, medicine bottles are not empty, and clients are doing well. Allowing our seniors to stay in their own homes not only contributes to their emotional well-being but also their physical health. 

Volunteer drivers logged 86,343 miles last year and put in 17,845 hours. Without this level of support and assistance, the money OWBC raises through grants and events would never be enough to provide the nutrition so desperately needed around the county. 

Visit OWBC-TX.org for more…

WOMEN HELPING OTHERS

Meals on Wheels Director Clarence Shepard, Mayor Dale Ross, Nina Stancil at a Meals on Wheels fundraiser

Known affectionately as “the WHO ladies”, Women Helping Others was founded in 2010 by Sun City friends Nina Stancil and Mollie Hoff. WHO is a group of dedicated women helping many different charitable groups. To do this, they participate in other groups’ fundraisers, donate monthly to support various causes, and team up on myriad campaigns to augment volunteer teams and bring awareness to local needs. 

Mollie explained to the assembled group at their first meeting that she and her friends all go out to lunch frequently and normally spend around $10, “The idea was instead of going out to eat, we meet for lunch, bring a salad to share, and donate the $10.” 

They adopted Women Helping Others and the owl as their symbol of strength. WHO became a chartered Sun City club in 2014 and has a membership of over 130 members.

WHO regularly teams with Meals-on-Wheels, The Caring Place, The Georgetown Nest, and Brookwood in Georgetown (BiG) to support  their missions. 

Case in point, in 2012, Meals on Wheels was in financial crisis and was obligated to create a waiting list for potential clients. More than 20 families from Sun City wound up on the list. WHO rallied and had a fund raiser that brought in approximately $25,000 to keep the deliveries coming. This event got WHO on the Georgetown map and began their upward climb to becoming a chartered club. Their Meals on Wheels campaign for Sun City is now an annual event.

GEORGETOWN BEARD CLUB

These are the distinguished gentlemen in Georgetown who, in 2015, turned an appreciation for facial hair and a desire to help into an opportunity to give back to the community. 

Led by President Rob Kiddie, the club is open to everyone, regardless of beard status; including women and children who would like to support their causes. “We just hope people appreciate facial hair. Really, you have eyebrows, don’t you? That’s facial hair.” 

The Beard Club is dedicated to providing financial and volunteer support to many area organizations. Rob says, “We are an eclectic group of men and women including small business owners, attorneys, culinary artisans, teachers, and even Santa himself.  All are welcome; there is a place for everyone to help the community and share the good times.”

Membership is as easy as attending a meeting or volunteering at one of their events. There are no dues, but they provide opportunities at meetings to donate regularly to support the club and their favorites. They have received official 501(c)3 non-profit status as well. 

The bearded ones regularly support Boys & Girls Clubs, Special Olympics, and the Lupus Foundation of America. They are always looking for new ways to help out, as well as new sponsors to assist them in making the community a better place for everyone. 

Meetings are second Fridays; schedules and events are on their website (GeorgetownBeardClub.com) and Facebook. They accept donations on their site and can be found frequently visiting the Square. Coming up, you can see them at the Christmas Stroll parade; “Look for the guys with Christmas trees on their face, and if you need boots on the ground for your needs, let us know!” 

HELPING HANDS OF GEORGETOWN

In 2016, Bob Weimer took a look at one of the lesser known and underserved populations in Georgetown—the homeless—and began making sandwiches that he delivered himself. Fast forward to 2019 and his simple idea has grown into many volunteers, fundraising events—even a mobile food pantry—and the vision to provide basic services; clothing, job support, and connections to services. 

Helping Hands serves nearly 1,400 brown bag meals a month, and a freshly prepared meal on Sunday nights in the parking lot of the Georgetown public library. They also hand out clothing and toiletries for up to 600 people over the course of a week to help them get back on their feet. 

Helping them is as easy as stopping by the library parking lot at 3:30pm Mon-Thurs or 4:30pm on Sundays to donate clothing, toiletries or money. 

Program Director Kelly Kluberg says, “Our homeless population has grown so much. We added our Sunday dinner, and now Bob and I do the ‘street work’ which is basically case managing people who need help.” 

Kelly explains the priorities begin with purchase of a phone, so people living in a car or on the street can be reached, or call a potential employer. They provide assistance with documentation for those who have lost IDs necessary for services. Perhaps a membership at the rec center so a person can get a shower for an interview. “We are really here to help people who want to help themselves; it’s a hand up.” 

Helping Hands steps in wherever there is a need, so they are brimming with opportunities for donations and volunteer time. If you like to cook, you can sign up to prepare a Sunday dinner or help make the lunches. If you have blankets and sleeping bags, they are helpful when no shelter is available in extreme weather. They accept bicycles to help people get to a job site, books for children, or gift cards for laundromats. 

You can donate financially on HelpingHandsGTX.org.

GEORGETOWN JUNIOR FORUM

This organization of women is committed to volunteerism, fundraising, and improving the community through the action and volunteering with a focus on education. Georgetown Area Junior Forum was chartered in 2006, Like its sister chapters, Georgetown Area Junior Forum is a non-profit 501(c)(3).

Members of GAJF share the common goal of improving the lives of others in the community through service and philanthropy while developing friendships. Their most prominent event is the annual “Fill the Bus”.  Over the past ten years they have supported GISD students by buying, collecting and distributing school supplies to help every child start the new school year with the tools to be successful. In 2018, we provided supplies to 650 students at an estimated value of $42,250.

They are also a fixture at the annual Blue Santa party, preparing thousands of gifts for Georgetown children and families for the holidays. 

Visit or donate at GAJF.org.

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