Public Invited to Zumba® Dance Fundraiser on April 12 in McKinney to Benefit the Community of West, Texas

By Holly Becka, HorsePower Communications

McKinney, Texas – When Tammy Elliott of McKinney visits her hometown of West, Texas, she is saddened that so much work remains to help the community recover from the devastating fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people and destroyed hundreds of homes nearly one year ago.

“West has definitely made great efforts in the ongoing recovery, but it’s hard to see the damage and know there are still West residents who are missing loved ones and aren’t back in their homes,” Elliott says.

That’s why Elliott, a Zumba® dance fitness instructor, organized a Zumba® dance fundraiser April 12 in McKinney that will benefit The First Baptist Church of West Disaster Relief Fund. The public is welcome.

“RISE UP, Dance for West” begins at 5:30 p.m. this Saturday at The Beach at Craig Ranch in McKinney. All event proceeds and T-shirt sales as well as 15 percent of food and drink sales until midnight will benefit the West disaster fund.zumba_zumba_logo_color

“My favorite thing about being part of the Zumba® community is that I can dance while helping people in need,” Elliott says. “This event to benefit my hometown of West means the world to me, and I feel so blessed to be able to let the residents there know that North Texans are still thinking about them and helping their recovery.”

When a fire initially broke out at the West Fertilizer Company, emergency personnel rushed to the scene. A dozen first responders were among the 15 people killed and 300 people injured during the ensuring explosion of ammonium nitrate stored at the plant. About 350 homes and three schools were devastated as well.

The opening ceremonies at “RISE UP, Dance for West” will include a tribute to fallen West first responders and a performance of the national anthem by country singer Donna Beckham, a West native. Beckham will also sing a song she wrote about West, titled “Home.” The song is available for download on iTunes, and CDs of her album, titled “Charm,” will be on sale during the event. A percentage of album sales and downloads of the song “Home” have gone and will continue to go to West, Beckham says.

The public is invited to join the two-hour event, during which more than 40 Zumba® instructors – including some who are visiting from West and the Waco area – will lead a dance workout that will feature Latin, hip hop and pop songs, spun live by DJ Sneaky of Frisco.

Elliott says she could not have organized the event without a great team, including Sylvia Bernal, Danny Rojas, Kerry Oldham, Connie Elledge, Liza Engh, Alicia Trimble, Sweta Rajesh, and Sara Torres. Elliott gives special thanks to Brenda Lang, who is donating her professional photography services during the event, and Greg Richey, who designed the “RISE UP, Dance for West” T-shirts, which will be sold for $15 each to benefit West.

Key sponsors of the event include The Beach at Craig Ranch; Texas Family Fitness; Luke Elliott, President of Consumers for Specialized Coverage; Intersect Church of McKinney; Italian Garden on North Custer Road in McKinney; North Texas Orthodontic Associates of McKinney, featuring Drs. Donald J. Copenhaver, Robert J. Lugo, Carlos Nurko, and Jerome S. Schechter; Frederick Moreno’s Allstate Insurance Agency in McKinney; and Realtor Jeanne Elliott of Williams Davis Realty.

How to Participate or Donate:

  • What: RISE UP, Dance for West Zumba® Fundraiser
  • When: 5:30 p.m. April 12 (two hours of Zumba® dancing starts at 6 p.m.)
  • Where: The Beach at Craig Ranch, 6145 Alma, McKinney
  • Cost: $20 ($15 for first 50 entrants)
  • Registration website: RiseUpDanceForWest.Eventbrite.com
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“RISE UP, Dance for West” poster by Alicia Trimble.


McKinney Ladies Association to Present $10,000 to Meals on Wheels; Funds Were Raised during MLA’s Spring Fashion Show in Early March

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By Holly Becka, HorsePower Communications

The McKinney Ladies Association (MLA) will present $10,000 to Meals on Wheels and Senior Services in Collin County on April 14, after a highly successful Spring Fashion Show fundraiser in early March.

“We are so happy to be able to present this money to Meals on Wheels, which does an incredible amount of good in our community,” said Tammy de Wet, a McKinney business owner who served as fashion show chairwoman. “Meals on Wheels not only provides freshly prepared meals for the elderly in our community, but their volunteers form important relationships with the people to whom they deliver food. MLA is proud to support this outstanding agency.”

MLA President Becky Smeltzer thanked everyone who attended the fashion show, donated silent auction items, provided in-kind donations, and served as models and business partners.

“We were thrilled to partner with some wonderful McKinney businesses during our fashion show, and I think that extra bit of generosity and excitement helped make this event one of the most successful ever,” Smeltzer said. “On behalf of the MLA Board of Directors, I would like to publicly thank our title sponsor, Warthan Dermatology Center, as well as our key partners, Cynthia Elliot Boutique, Shear Image Salon, and Upstage Dancewear.”

MLA models showed off the latest fashions during MLA's Spring Fashion Show, which raised $10,000 for Meals on Wheels.

MLA models showed off the latest fashions during MLA’s Spring Fashion Show, which raised $10,000 for Meals on Wheels. Photo courtesy of Joe Ownbey of OwnbeyPhotography.com.

MLA holds its popular Spring Fashion Show fundraiser every year to raise money for a different nonprofit in McKinney.

This year, MLA selected Meals on Wheels as the beneficiary to support the fact that this nonprofit prepares and delivers more than 700 meals to home-bound elderly residents every day. The funds MLA raised through its fashion show came from ticket sales, silent auction sales, and sponsorships.

MLA Board members will present the $10,000 check to Meals on Wheels during MLA’s next meeting, set for 7 p.m. April 14 at Griffin Jewelry, 2811 Craig Drive in McKinney. The public is invited.

Smeltzer noted that Griffin Jewelry had donated items for the fashion show’s silent auction, and she thanked the business for playing host to the women’s group’s next meeting and check presentation.

“We in MLA like to say that we all can do so much for our community when we work together. We are truly blessed to have so many wonderful, giving people who unite with us in our efforts,” Smeltzer said. “We are so inspired by the giving nature of McKinney residents and businesses.”

The next fundraiser on MLA’s calendar is the community-wide Spring Yard Sale from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 26 in the parking lot of Stonebridge United Methodist Church. All proceeds will go to college scholarships for the children of McKinney’s first responders. For details and to register as a vendor, please visit www.McKinneyLadies.org.  

About MLA:

The McKinney Ladies Association (MLA) is dedicated to supporting the children and families of our community through special events and fundraising efforts organized by MLA.  Connect with MLA by visiting the group’s website, www.mckinneyladies.org, where you can sign up for the monthly MLA e-newsletter. Look for MLA on Facebook at “McKinney LadiesAssociation” and on Twitter at @McKinneyLadies.


McKinney Ladies Association Thanks Warthan Dermatology for being Title Sponsor of Spring Fashion Show on March 3

By Holly Becka, HorsePower Communications

The McKinney Ladies Association (MLA) is pleased to announce that Warthan Dermatology Center of McKinney will serve as title sponsor of MLA’s Spring Fashion Show fundraiser on March 3.Warthan-lo-res logo for online use

“We are absolutely thrilled that Warthan Dermatology is supporting MLA’s fundraising efforts by becoming our event title sponsor,” says Tammy DeWet, chairwoman of MLA’s Spring Fashion Show.

“Drs. Mandy and Molly Warthan are known for providing great medical care in our community, and we truly appreciate the fact that they have such big hearts and are contributing in such a big way to MLA’s fundraiser, which this year is benefiting Meals on Wheels,” DeWet says.

Every year, MLA holds its popular Spring Fashion Show fundraiser to raise money for a different nonprofit in McKinney. This year, MLA has selected Meals on Wheels/Senior Services of Collin County as the beneficiary to recognize and support the incredible fact that Meals on Wheels prepares and delivers more than 700 meals to homebound elderly residents every day. MoWMeals on Wheels/Senior Services of Collin County also provides hope and socialization for its clients, because its volunteers connect with and form friendships with otherwise isolated seniors.

Public Invited

You are invited to join MLA for its Spring Fashion Show on March 3 at Eldorado Country Club, where you will enjoy a delectable three-course meal, preview the freshest fashions and bid on fantastic silent auction items. Tickets are $50 per person. Go online here to purchase tickets through PayPal.

MLA raises money during its fashion show through ticket sales to attend the fashion show, through a silent auction of unique items contributed by both individuals and businesses, and through sponsorship opportunities.

Sponsorships Available

Additional sponsorships are available, as is the opportunity to contribute items to the Spring Fashion Show’s silent auction. The sponsorship deadline is Monday, Jan. 27. The deadline to contribute silent auction items is Friday, Feb. 21. If you would like to participate, please contact Tammy DeWet by email at mlafashionshow@yahoo.com.MLA image

 

About MLA:

The McKinney Ladies Association (MLA) is dedicated to supporting the children and families of our community through special events and fundraising efforts organized by MLA. For more information about MLA or to find out how to become a member of this exciting women’s organization, please visit our newly redesigned website at www.mckinneyladies.org and sign up for the monthly MLA e-newsletter. Look for us on Facebook at McKinney LadiesAssociation and on Twitter at @McKinneyLadies.

 

About HorsePower Communications:

HorsePower Communications is a full-service consulting firm specializing in public relations, public outreach/public involvement, marketing, business writing, and editing for businesses of all sizes. Find us online at www.HorsePowerCommunications.com.


Thankful for Great Publicity for a Great Cause

By Holly Becka, HorsePower Communications

When people who work for a good cause receive terrific publicity, it makes my heart sing.

I could not have asked for more lovely coverage than the beautiful photo essay presented today by The Dallas Morning News about Gingerbread for Humanity. This annual Christmastime fundraiser at Trinity Presbyterian Church in McKinney lets participants decorate gingerbread houses and enjoy frivolities while doing something sweet for the community. All proceeds benefit North Collin County Habitat for Humanity.

The coverage reflects the hard work and inspiring motives of the volunteers’ efforts, not to mention the good family fun that the event breeds. To read the DMN story and look at all the great photos, please go to this link.

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Photos by Dallas Morning News Special Contributor Brandon Wade

Starting late last spring, HorsePower Communications was honored to serve on the organizing committee for the eighth annual Gingerbread for Humanity fundraiser. HorsePower developed a marketing plan and put it into action — the first time the event has had a comprehensive, coordinated marketing strategy. Our goal was to raise general public awareness about this incredibly fun event to attract new participants and increase fundraising profits.

HorsePower Communications’ pro bono efforts included writing and distributing news releases and media alerts, ad coordination and placement, social media campaigns, and taking advantage of low-cost and free marketing outlets.GBH_logo color

Thank you to chief Gingerbread for Humanity organizers Pam Hatch and Dawn Serr for allowing us to be a part of such a wonderful event! Next year’s Gingerbread for Humanity date is already set. Mark your calendars for Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014!

HorsePower Communications believes in giving back to the community and in sharing our gifts to promote others. We offer special rates for nonprofits. Call us at 214-208-3524 to discuss your project and receive a quote.


Look for Gingerbread Storefronts in Historic Downtown McKinney & Register Now to Decorate Your Gingerbread House on Dec. 14

By Holly Becka, HorsePower Communications

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The gingerbread storefront created to resemble Orisons Boutique is on display now at the business in historic downtown McKinney. The Gingerbread for Humanity fundraiser to benefit North Collin County Habitat for Humanity is on Saturday, Dec. 14. Photo by Jim Davis of Go Life Imaging in McKinney.

When you visit historic downtown McKinney this holiday season, be sure to stop by Snug on the Square, Orisons Boutique and Goodies Texas to see creative miniature gingerbread storefronts that look just like the actual businesses.

These gingerbread masterpieces are part of an ongoing publicity campaign to raise awareness about the upcoming eighth annual Gingerbread for Humanity fundraiser at Trinity Presbyterian Church.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 14, the public is invited to unleash their creativity and decorate a gingerbread house to take home while benefiting North Collin County Habitat for Humanity. Pre-registration is highly advised. To obtain a registration form, please go online to www.TPCMcKinney.org and click on the gingerbread icon.

“We love to see what the participants come up with each year,” explains Pam Hatch, one of the event organizers. “We have tons of candy that decorators can choose in our candy buffet – and because of all the choices, we’ve had really cool gingerbread houses decorated by theme, by color and even one that was created to look just like Trinity Presbyterian Church.”

This creativity inspired event organizers to seek volunteers from the congregation to make and decorate gingerbread storefronts that could be displayed in downtown McKinney with the hope of increasing awareness about the Gingerbread for Humanity fundraiser.

A dedicated team agreed to take on the challenge of building what Hatch calls “the extra-tough structural gingerbread storefronts” and decorating them to resemble the actual businesses. The volunteers’ work began this summer and was perfected through trial and error.

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Trinity member Myrt Bunje crafted the back of the Orisons gingerbread storefront to look like an old plaster wall. Photo by Jim Davis of Go Life Imaging.

Tim and Amy Sherman baked the gingerbread storefront pieces using a secret recipe to ensure the gingerbread structures would stand the test of time. Pablo Ruiz and Andrew Bender served as the architects; Bender also served as the structural engineer and one-man construction crew, donating dozens of hours to build the structures. Myrt Bunje decorated the Orisons gingerbread storefront; Debra Guillemaud decorated the Snug on the Square storefront; and Bender decorated the Goodies storefront.

“The results have been amazing – they were shown at church and they were a huge hit,” Hatch says. “Everyone who sees them cannot stop looking at all the intricate details. We truly appreciate the volunteers’ hard work, and we cannot thank Snug, Orisons and Goodies enough for partnering with us on this project.”

Creativity with Gingerbread, Candy and Icing

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This gingerbread storefront is on display at Snug on the Square in historic downtown McKinney. Photo by Jim Davis of Go Life Imaging in McKinney.

Guillemaud loved the creativity involved with the project and was determined to make the Snug storefront as edible as possible (except for its florist foam supports and foam board base). She made the bricks with sugar cookies and the paving stones with crackers, and she applied tubs of frosting to cement everything in place.

“I have decorated houses at the Gingerbread for Humanity event with my children where their goal seemed to be to use as much candy as possible, have a colorful and festive outcome, and to be able to surreptitiously remove candy over the coming days,” Guillemaud says. “Creating the Snug storefront was fun because it was an adventure into something new. I quickly developed expertise into ‘rework’ procedures!”

The biggest challenge, she says, was ensuring the candy windows would hold their shape and reliably remain on the gingerbread storefront.

“I used melted candy but early versions seemed to just melt away on humid days,” Guillemaud says. “To create the shape, I used cookie dough as the outline, crushed candy within the shape, and baked this on parchment paper. Then I cut away all but the thinnest strip of cookie, which resulted in a window with a frame.”

For the Orisons storefront, Myrt Bunje went above and beyond adding fun details, including a display window showing off western apparel, street lamps and Christmas lights that actually light up, a horse and carriage, snow and evergreens.

Bricks on the Orisons storefront were fashioned from “sour power belt” candy and then hand-painted with food coloring. The windows were piped with black licorice laces. Bunje then finished the structure’s exterior walls with frosting that she created to look like vintage signs and old cracked plaster.

The Gingerbread for Humanity Fundraiser

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Photo by Jim Davis of Go Life Imaging.

The gingerbread storefronts will be on display downtown through Saturday, Dec. 14, the day of the Gingerbread for Humanity event at Trinity Presbyterian. Anyone who cannot attend the event may still participate by registering for a take-home gingerbread kit, which comes complete with a pre-made gingerbread house, icing and lots of candy to decorate with. Please go online to www.TPCMcKinney.org and click on the gingerbread icon for details and the registration form.

For many McKinney residents, enjoying Gingerbread for Humanity is part of their family’s Christmas traditions.

“My family and I have participated in Gingerbread for Humanity for many years starting when my children were, well, little children,” Guillemaud says. “Now that they are teenagers, I thought their interest might wane. However, I was surprised to hear from them that this is our ‘tradition’ and a must-do holiday event! We love it because not only is it fun, but it also funds Habitat for Humanity!”

Do something sweet for your community!

Gingerbread for Humanity Event Details:

  • Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14
  • Location: Trinity Presbyterian Church, 5871 W. Virginia Parkway, McKinney
  • Cost: $32 when you pre-register; $38 at the door (spaces limited)
  • Registration details: Go online to www.TPCMcKinney.org and click on the Gingerbread icon to download the registration form.
  • Send any questions to gingerbread@tpcmckinney.org

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Join McKinney Smiles at the Crape Myrtle Trails Races on Nov. 23 in McKinney

By Holly Becka, HorsePower Communications

Dr. Paul Lawrence of McKinney Smiles Family and Cosmetic Dentistry advocates a complete approach to wellness, from a healthy smile to eating healthful foods and getting regular exercise.

He’s also a staunch supporter of local nonprofits, including the Crape Myrtle Trails of McKinney, which works to increase McKinney’s natural beauty while promoting the community as America’s crape myrtle city.

Dr. Lawrence is combining these interests by supporting the Crape Myrtle Trails of McKinney as a main sponsor for the “Run the Trails” 5K and 1-mile event on Saturday, Nov. 23. For details or to participate, please click here.

To help increase participation in this family-friendly event among patients, McKinney Smiles paid the race entry fees for 10 patients and friends of the dental office who were notified via email about the opportunity. To sign up for future emails from McKinney Smiles, please call the office at 972-542-8400.MS_logo_200x200

Dr. Lawrence encourages area residents to attend the event and cheer on the runners if they don’t plan to participate in the races.

“This will be an awesome event for families, regardless of whether they run in any of the races,” Dr. Lawrence says. “The organizers are setting up ‘Myrtle Village,’ which is a festival area. I understand that there will be a petting zoo, face painting, a bounce house, a kiss-the-pig contest, an inflated obstacle course, and dancing.”

Dr. Lawrence is an avid runner and encourages his friends and patients to do those things that will improve their health.

“There are many studies about the benefits of exercise, including combating disease, reducing stress, improving your mood and promoting better sleep, to name just a few,” Dr. Lawrence says. “At McKinney Smiles, we are committed to promoting the overall health and well-being of our patients.”

For nearly eight years, Dr. Lawrence has offered top-quality, comprehensive dental care for children and adults at McKinney Smiles, conveniently located at 2780 Virginia Parkway, Suite 201, in McKinney. A full screening of each patient’s oral health is among the first orders of business at McKinney Smiles.

McKinney Smiles’ services include:

  • comprehensive dental care for adults and children;
  • preventive care;
  • orthodontics, including clear aligner orthodontics;
  • cosmetic dentistry;
  • whitening;
  • sedation dentistry;
  • restorative care;
  • one-visit root canals;
  • dentures;
  • and much more!

For more information, please visit McKinney Smiles online at www.McKinneySmiles.com and connect with us on Facebook.

Call McKinney Smiles at 972-542-8400 today to book your appointment, and be sure to ask about our ongoing new patient specials.


Gingerbread For Humanity Fundraiser On Saturday, Dec. 14 Benefits North Collin County Habitat Chapter

Reserve Your Tickets Now Before This Popular Event Sells Out

By Holly Becka, HorsePower Communications

You’re invited to take part in an ongoing tradition that combines family fun and the heavenly scent of gingerbread with the opportunity to make a positive difference in your community.

Registration is ongoing for the eighth annual Gingerbread for Humanity event at Trinity Presbyterian Church in McKinney, Texas.

On Saturday, Dec. 14, you can decorate and take home a fully assembled gingerbread house while supporting North Collin County Habitat for Humanity. The candy buffet — described as “awesome” by children who flock to the event each year — will delight any gingerbread house decorator. Be sure to stop by the photo booth to get a free picture of your family, your gingerbread creation and Mrs. Claus before you leave.

Gingerbread slide-TPC holiday bazaarThis popular holiday event always sells out, so pre-registration is highly recommended. To register, please go online to www.tpcmckinney.org and click on the gingerbread icon to download the registration form. Paid registrations are due by Dec. 8 to secure reservations to the event.

Anyone unable to attend the Dec. 14 event may still participate by ordering Gingerbread for Humanity kits from Trinity. Kits contain fully assembled gingerbread houses and plenty of frosting and candy for decorating at a later time. They’re great for holiday parties and children’s activities. Look for the link on Trinity’s website to order your kit.

Gingerbread for Humanity Details:

  • Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14
  • Location: Trinity Presbyterian Church, 5871 W. Virginia Parkway, McKinney
  • Cost: $32 when you pre-register; $38 at the door (spaces limited)
  • Registration details: Go online to www.tpcmckinney.org and click on the Gingerbread icon to download the registration form.

It’s a great time for a greater good. All proceeds benefit homes to be constructed as part of North Collin County Habitat for Humanity’s mission “to put God’s love into action by building homes and communities.”

NCC Habitat is part of a global non-profit housing organization operated on Christian principles. The organization encourages positive relationships throughout the community by advocating for fair housing policies and by providing training to help families improve their shelter conditions.