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CitySquare and Friends Provide Thanksgiving Groceries

Thanks to a generous community outpouring, CitySquare’s Food Pantry provided more than 600 families with groceries for Thanksgiving dinner. This Saturday, November 21, CitySquare staff and volunteers spent the morning distributing turkeys and trimmings in drive through and walk-up food distribution at the CitySquare Opportunity Center in South Dallas.

The distribution was made possible by organizations like Highland Park United Methodist Church & North Texas Food Bank, First Unitarian Church of Dallas, Prestoncrest Church of Christ, Young Mens Service League (Lake Highlands), University Park United Methodist Church, The Hockaday School, St. Marks School of Texas, C3 Trinity Dallas, Skillman Church of Christ, Virgin Hotels Dallas, McKinsey & Company, Aga Khan Council, I-CERV, National Charity League (Park Cities), and many individual volunteers.

CitySquare is committed to equality, inclusiveness, and recognition that fighting poverty involves bringing together the entire community in the heart of our city. For information on how you can join CitySquare in its fight against poverty, go to http://www.CitySquare.org .

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Oric Walker, John Siburt and Dale Petroskey

The Leadership Dallas Class of 2020 chose poverty fighting organization CitySquare as the beneficiary of its 2020 class project. Founded in 1975 by the Dallas Regional Chamber, Leadership Dallas annually brings together a diverse group of individuals based on proven leadership potential within their organizations and in the community to help create positive change.

CitySquare requested a total renovation of the Food Pantry located at the CitySquare Opportunity Center with a goal of creating a welcoming space and increased capacity to serve its South Dallas/Fair Park neighbors. The COVID19 pandemic made the request even more urgent and timely.

On Thursday, October 29th, a small group of stakeholders gathered at the CitySquare Opportunity Center to celebrate the completion of the CitySquare Food Pantry renovation with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Gillea Allison, President of D Magazine Partners and member of the 2020 Leadership Dallas class, was emcee for the afternoon. Oric Walker, Atmos Energy vice president of public affairs and Leadership Dallas Class 2020 member, spoke on behalf of Atmos Energy, presenting sponsor of the project. Guests at the socially distanced event also heard from Dale Petroskey, President and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber, and John Siburt, CitySquare President and COO.

“Hunger affects children in every community we serve, and over the past six months more families have found themselves struggling with finances and confronting food insecurity,” said Oric Walker,“No child should go to bed hungry, and we are grateful to CitySquare for helping us ensure that children have regular access to healthy snacks, fresh produce and hearty balanced meals. Through our Fueling Safe and Thriving Communities program, Atmos Energy is proud to be a part of this project that will have such a significant impact on kids and families in the Dallas community.”

“While we can’t reopen the Food Pantry at this time because of COVID19, we will continue the drive-through and walk-up operation until it’s safe for all of our neighbors, staff and volunteers. We look forward to introducing them to the beautiful new space in the near future,” said John Siburt. “The efforts and generosity of our friends at Leadership Dallas, the Dallas Regional Chamber and Atmos Energy far exceeded our hopes for the renovation of the pantry.”                                                                                                

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M.T.O. School of Islamic Sufism® Supports Homeless Youth at CitySquare

On Friday, July 31st,M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi® School of Islamic Sufism® celebrated Eid al-Adha, one of the holiest days on the Islamic calendar known as a time of pilgrimage, charity and community, by supporting unsheltered youth served by CitySquare’s TRAC Program (Transition Resource Action Center). The group delivered 200 backpacks filled with personal hygiene items to the CitySquare TRAC Dallas office

In Dallas alone, approximately 3000 children go to sleep without a home of their own and the number is rising due to the Covid-19 pandemic. During this difficult time, many children have been left with feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. Further still, many children have witnessed their parents lose their livelihood, businesses, or jobs. By supporting CitySquare TRAC, M.T.O.Dallas’ initiative is helping to give homeless youth a sense of empowerment during this otherwise stressful period and to overcome the lasting and traumatic effects of homelessness. 

“We are so appreciative of the volunteers at The M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi® School of Islamic Sufism for their generosity and their time to support homeless youth in need. COVID119 has made an already critical situation even worse for these kids. The sturdy backpacks and their contents will be very quickly put to good use,” said Madeline Reedy, Senior Director CitySquare TRAC .

For more information on CitySquare, please visit www.citysquare.org and for more on the M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi  www.mtocharity.org.

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Poverty fighting organization CitySquare and Cerulean Gallery are calling on art lovers to join them for Inside Out, a fun event that will benefit budding young artists in underserved communities. Well-known artists Lizzie Bailey (Mixed Media),Robin Hazard (Pastel on Suede), Amy Thoennes (Alcohol Ink & Fire on Glass) and Liana Yarkin (Watercolor on Paper) will be demonstrating their work in real time on Saturday, June 13th from 11 am until 4 pm at Cerulean Gallery in Snider Plaza. Viewers will have the opportunity to peek inside the artists’ world and visually engage in the creative process.

It’s also an opportunity for visitors to make summer a little better for kids. CitySquare is making take home Activity Kits to be provided along with meals served in CitySquare’s summer foods distribution program. CitySquare’s summer mobile meal program delivers meals to kids in non-traditional sites such as apartment complexes, reaching children whose families face transportation, economic, and other barriers to access traditional food programs. Partnering with CitySquare AmeriCorps to give the children positive role models, they serve and supervise the meal service while engaging the children in activities and games.Guests attending Inside Out are encouraged to bring notes created by their own children and Items like colored paper, stickers, crayons, and markers for a new program at CitySquare called Pen Pals designed to foster friendships through creativity. CitySquare kids will be encouraged to create their own notes to write back.  Representatives from CitySquare will be on-hand at Inside Out to collect donations of items such as markers, crayons, watercolor paints, drawing pads, journals, notebooks, coloring books, activity sheets or books, chalk, small balls, and small outdoor/indoor games.

“We are looking forward to providing an unusual experience and opportunity for people to meet and visit with the artists, and to help CitySquare gather art supplies for the young people that they serve,” said Cerulean Gallery owner Caroline Kneese.

For more information on how to get involved with Pen Pals, email volunteer@citysquare.org.

Cerulean Gallery is located in Snider Plaza at 6609 Hillcrest. This will be a come-and-go, hands free, social distancing experience. Artwork will be available for purchase.  For more information about Inside Out, go to http://www.theceruleangallery.com.

 

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All My Sons Moving & Storage recently donated moving services to transport much needed furnishings for CitySquare, North Texas’ largest nonprofit provider of affordable housing.

“We are happy to do what we can to help our neighbors and support the remarkable work of organizations such as CitySquare,” said Jameson Olsen, director of marketing and business development for All My Sons Moving & Storage.

The furnishings, donated by the Belmont Hotel, will help to create home environments for the formerly homeless in CitySquare’s housing programs.  Even in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, CitySquare continues to actively house women, men, families and youth to ensure a safe place to shelter-in-place and to call home.

"In the midst of the Covid19 crisis CitySquare continues to move our unsheltered neighbors into housing. We are grateful to the Belmont Hotel for furnishings and to All My Sons Moving and Storage for transporting the items for distribution to CitySquare housing programs. Businesses like these pulling together to help our neighbors make such a difference in the lives of those in need!" said John Siburt, CitySquare President and COO.

 For more information about CitySquare, go to CitySquare.org    

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CitySquare President and COO John Siburt with Pizza Patron representatives Michael Herndon, Dallas Franchisees Ismael Leal and Adam Nevarez

Pizza Patrón’s $20,000 donation will help CitySquare Food Pantry purchase additional food and pay operational expenses while continuing to feed the hungry through the Covid-19 pandemic. The donation will also assist in providing protective gear for CitySquare Food Pantry employees and volunteers.

 

“The CitySquare team is providing critical services of hope, healing and nourishment during these unprecedented times,” said Ismael Leal, Pizza Patrón Dallas Franchisee. “Pizza Patrón is honored to be part of this community and to help our neighbors who are facing the many repercussions of the Covid-19 crisis. Who we are when times are tough and how we unite to take care of one another matters—it’s what will get us all through to the other side.”

 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, CitySquare has experienced a 30% increase in needs from their Dallas neighbors, most of whom are visiting CitySquare for the first time. The food pantry has adapted to meet the challenges of the crisis, shifting from a grocery store setup to a drive-thru model that incorporates social distancing practices. During the week, hundreds of cars line up for staff and volunteers to provide much-needed food, while the organization also operates a walk-up program for neighbors without automobiles.

 

“The CitySquare Food Pantry is experiencing unprecedented demand because of the Covid-19 crisis,” said CitySquare President and COO John Siburt. “Thanks to the generous support of Pizza Patron we can continue to meet the increased needs in our community.”

 

CitySquare has also resumed its summer feeding and after-school programs that deliver meals to low-income apartment complexes throughout Dallas. This is a critical community service as schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.

 

For more information about CitySquare, go to http://www.CitySquare.org

 

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Soledad O'Brien

Just Announced: Soledad O'Brien will be the keynote speaker at the Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas 30th Annual Dallas Awards Luncheon. The spring luncheon will take place at noon on March 6th at The Hilton Amatole. The Annual Awards Luncheon is the signature benefit for Planned Parenthood in Dallas, helping to raise funds to provide essential healthcare and health education services to women, men, and young people who rely on Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. Co-chairs for the event are Kara Goss and Jennifer Karol.

 

As the host of the Sunday morning syndicated political show, Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, Soledad O'Brien has established herself as one of the most recognized names in broadcasting by telling the stories behind important issues, people and events of the day. A champion of diversity, she gives voice to the under-served and disenfranchised through her Emmy-winning reporting and acclaimed documentary series, Black in America and Latino in America. A prominent philanthropist, O'Brien is the founder of PowHERful, a foundation that mentors and funds college tuition and expenses for young women.

 

For sponsorship and reservation information, go to http://www.ppgreatertx.org/dallasluncheon  or call 214-302-8382.

 

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CitySquare CEO Larry James and ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Darren Woods

Darren Woods, ExxonMobil chairman and chief executive officer, on Friday presented the company's annual holiday gift of $50,000 to CitySquare to help advance the organization's efforts to fight poverty in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The contribution marks the 14th annual ExxonMobil Chairman's Holiday Gift, which benefits and highlights a deserving nonprofit organization in the North Texas region.

“ExxonMobil is committed to investing in the communities around the world where we live and work,” Woods said. “We chose to support CitySquare this year because of its dedication to combatting the causes and effects of poverty through programs that address focus areas such as hunger, housing, health and hope.”

Since its creation in 1988, CitySquare has grown into a broad community development organization that today provides 22 social service programs, including health care and housing assistance, workforce readiness, legal aid, a food pantry, crisis intervention and financial coaching. Its social service programs reach more than 50,000 individuals annually.

"On behalf of all of us at CitySquare and our neighbors who will benefit from this generosity, I want to thank Chairman Woods and ExxonMobil,” said Larry James, chief executive officer of CitySquare. “ExxonMobil’s support will make a meaningful difference in the lives of those struggling to lift themselves out of poverty every day."

ExxonMobil established the Chairman’s Holiday Gift in 2006 to help fund the work of nonprofit organizations in North Texas, home to the company’s corporate headquarters. Recent recipients have included Family Compass, Promise House, The Gatehouse and Jonathan’s Place.
 
 For more information on CitySquare and its poverty fighting programs, go to Citysquare.org.
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Poverty fighting organization CitySquare has received a $20, 000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation in support of CitySquare Legal Action Works (LAW). LAW provides legal services to low-income families who cannot otherwise afford legal representation to handle family crises.

 

CitySquare's LAW program fights poverty by helping low-income families in Dallas resolve legal issues and disputes. During the past year, CitySquare LAW lawyers secured nearly $2 million in child support for families in Dallas. Resolving legal issues increases the level of safety, security and stability for individuals and their families as they work toward lifting themselves out of poverty. The protective orders, custody agreements, and child support payments won by CitySquare LAW keep low-income families from being financially devastated by divorce and other family law situations. Fees are based on a sliding scale for those who do not make enough to pay for traditional legal services.

 

“We are honored that the Texas Bar Foundation recognizes the value of the work we do and has joined us in helping ensure that low income Texans get the representation they need in such important matters,” says Attorney Ken Koonce, Director of Legal Action Works at CitySquare.

 

Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar foundation. Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $20 million in grants to law-related programs.

 

For more information on CitySquare and its mission to fight poverty, go to http://www.CitySquare.org

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In order to shine light on the critical issue of summer hunger affecting Dallas, GoDo Discovery Co. hosted a lunch fundraiser last month at their headquarters in the Trinity Industrial District benefiting CitySquare, the poverty fighting organization that feeds thousands of children and youths annually. Guests enjoyed Fletcher’s Corny Dogs and other goodies like Baldo’s Ice Cream in a fun lunchtime atmosphere.

Seventy-three percent of students in Dallas County qualify for either free or reduced-priced lunches, but once school is out, those same students are in danger of going hungry. CitySquare and GoDo Discovery Co. are doing something about it.