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Beat The Heat with Community Lifeline Center

Box FanWednesday, May 21, 2014
9:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m.
(while supplies last)

Each year Community Lifeline Center distributes free box fans to people who need assistance during the summer in north Collin County. “Beat the Heat” is open to residents of:  Altoga, Anna, Blue Ridge, Celina, Copeville, Farmersville, Josephine, Lavon, Lowery Crossing, McKinney, Melissa, Nevada, New Hope, Princeton, Prosper, Westminster and Weston.

The fan give-away will be a drive-through event in the CLC parking lot at 1601 N. Waddill Street in McKinney.

We need fans and volunteers!

To donate a fan—go to or contact Groom and Sons (1700 W. Virginia in McKinney, 972-542-5062) and buy a fan (approximate cost $15). Then drop it off at CLC between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 21.

Call CLC at 972-542-0020 to learn more about how to donate fans for the event. Or email [email protected] for more information. Download flyer to share with someone in need.

To volunteer—we need volunteers from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on the day of the event to help with the following:

  • Application Helper—assist the clients in completing the short application;
  • Runner—get the fans and place them in the client’s car;
  • Copier—copy each client’s photo ID and attach it to the application.

You can volunteer for an hour or for the entire event. Call CLC at 972-542-0020 or email [email protected] to volunteer.


Looking Back at 25 Years of Community Lifeline Service


It was 1992. Toronto won the World Series, the Redskins the Super Bowl, and the average gallon of gas, $1.13.  And, the population of McKinney was a bit over 21,000.  And, the McKinney United Way Service Center was making new friends as the search for additional board members continued. Local residents like Joe Cruz, Herbert Walters, Jack Suggs, Pippa Couvillion, and Bob Innes touched the organization as board members and supporters. 

Thanksgiving and Christmas events were both key activities, and while Board amended the by-laws to add “Greater McKinney and Northern Collin County” as service delivery areas, the United Way announced significant budget cuts for 1993. So, as is often the case in the non-profit world, sleeves were rolled up as the organization went in search of fundraising to close the United Way shortfall. 

The history of the organization – at this point only three years old – shows a continuing focus on extending the services of larger organizations, like the United Way, and a heavy reliance on government funding.  Looking back, these early years were setting the stage for a continued, if gradual, evolution of Community Lifeline Center to greater independence.  Which means, given the number in need also grew exponentially, the organization had to be even more aggressive in finding ways to stand on its own financially.

Looking Back at 25 Years of Community Lifeline Service

It’s Community Lifeline Center’s 25th anniversary. Over the coming year we’ll be featuring brief stories about our history. Last issue we talked about the birth of the organization. Here’s a look back at the first few years of CLC’s existence.

It was 1990. Karen Campbell was executive director of what was then known as the McKinney United Way Service Center. The headquarters were in the Wysong Building, 308 North Tennessee Street. And, the big event of the year was a Christmas Toy Drive, which culminated in gifts for 1,400 area children. Stories in the December 1990 issues of the Courier-Gazette and Princeton Herald highlight the work of the Center in collecting and distributing Christmas toys as “…part of its mission in serving families in McKinney and Northeast Collin County in emergency situations.”

True to its launch mission – which continues today – the organization has focused on being there when people from all walks of life need help most: when they get blindsided by the unexpected. Or, even, as in the case of Christmas toys, when the event is expected, but the ability to deal with it is not.

Finances – always an issue for human services agencies – were a part of all the recorded meetings. In 1991, the organization was chosen by the Collin County Commissioners’ Court to be the agency to distribute state monies from TERP and Oil Overcharge, previously a county function. More friends and neighbors expressed their support for Community Lifeline by serving in various capacities – people like Christell Reed, Kathy Blikken, Maria Cantu, and Sherry Carver, and employees Lea Scott and Mark Lowry.

And, the possibility of moving to a new location at 201 South McDonald was discussed. This would turn out to be one of many discussions, and subsequent moves over the years.

Looking Back at 25 Years of Community Lifeline Service


It’s Community Lifeline Center’s 25th anniversary. Over the coming year we’ll be featuring brief stories about our history. Let’s start at the beginning:

The first recorded meeting of Community Lifeline Center was for a meeting on July 13, 1989. At that time, CLC was actually known as McKinney United Way Service Center. It was born as a logical solution for area churches who concluded those in need could be more effectively served through a central resource rather than duplicated, decentralized services.

Records of the early meeting show how Community Lifeline Center – like so many human services non-profits – was trying to navigate the mountain of forms and regulations. A 501 [c] [3] application was filed in July of that year, and there was the need to get basic necessities like letterhead and bank accounts organized.

At that time – and a lot has changed since then – CLC was on the receiving end of funding from national non-profits like United Way, Salvation Army, and FEMA. The United Way relationship opened doors to funding and other sources of support.

Over the first 18 months of its life, Community Lifeline Center, aka McKinney United Way Service Center was served by community members who have continued to be an important part of the fabric of our community. People like Debra Nye, Gerry Ruschhaupt, Cindy Juchems, and Percy Parrish. The initial board was made up of David Bird, President, Lew Connor, Vice President, Marsha White, Treasurer, and Father Esteban Saucedo, Secretary.

Surely they would have felt the need for the organization, and the importance of the mission on the McKinney community. But, would they have envisioned the growth in North Collin County, and the changes in size, demographics, and makeup of McKinney? Would they have imagined that in all this prosperity there are still so many of our friends and neighbors in need? Could they – or any of us – imagined that in 2014 – 25 years after their organization was launched – that nearly 400 people a month, the majority of whom are the working poor, would be in need?

Community Lifeline Center has come a long way. You’ll be reading more about our history. But, you need only look around you to see the importance of our future.

Empty Bowls 2014 Follow Up

Empty Bowls - largeOn cold, icy Thursday, February 6, McKinney neighbors gathered at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church to enjoy dinner and entertainment at the annual Empty Bowls event.  Over 250 diners chose a handcrafted donated bowl which they got to keep.  Local craftsmen, students and professional artisans provided the supply of bowls.  Local restaurants provided the soups, breads, desserts and beverages. 

Before the event, an on-line auction enabled interested parties to purchase bowls, and this raised over $3,200.  Overall, the event raised $10,000 which will benefit hunger initiatives at Community Lifeline Center and provide Easter meal baskets for many of our clients.  To help our neighbors remain independent and get back on their feet, the CLC’s mission is to assist residents of NorthCollinCounty who are experiencing crises. 

To learn about other ways the CLC assists your neighbors – and ways that you can contribute to this effort — go to www.communitylifeline.org or call 972.542.0020. And to view many of the bowls that were auctioned during the event visit www.EmptyBowlsMcKinney.com.

Out in the Cold: Children, Seniors suffering in Brutal Weather

CBS News meteorologist Larry Mowry reported recently that the Metroplex has had 44 freezes so far this winter – a 30% increase over the normal amount for the whole season. People are struggling to keep up with staggering electric bills. More than ever, folks are turning to Community Lifeline Center for assistance. Some emergency assistance agencies are reporting a 100% increase in requests. While CLC hasn’t quite reached that monumental level, we are seeing more and more need for aid.

“On top of the sustained cold and recurring freezes, the last 2 months have had 31 days, adding to the billing cycle” said Christine Hockin-Boyd, CLC Executive Director. “Those extra days add to the burden when a family is already struggling, and paychecks don’t always coincide with the longer billing periods.”

“Additionally, when kids are home from school, or parents can’t get to work due to inclement weather, the budget shortfall becomes even greater.”

Good news: help is on the way.

CLC utility partners CoServ and TXU Energy are prepared to assist families with their bills. Residents from Altoga, Anna, Blue Ridge, Celina, Copeville, Farmersville, Josephine, Lavon, Lowery Crossing, McKinney, Melissa, Nevada, New Hope, Princeton, Prosper, Westminster, and Weston may apply for aid.

Wednesday Feb. 19, is for TXU Energy customers. Wednesday, Feb. 26, is for CoServ customers. Low or fixed income residents may qualify for assistance. Families experiencing a short-term crisis (unemployment, medical, or other family crisis) may also qualify.

Hours and eligibility may differ, so please call 972-542-0020 for more information.

If you would like to help your neighbors in need, your generous gifts will assist CLC with costs for extra staff, office supplies and other related expenses necessary to service those struggling to heat their homes. Donate now.

Don’t Miss Empty Bowls Event

Empty Bowls is this Thursday from 5:30 – 7:30pm at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.  Proceeds benefit hunger initiatives at Community Lifeline Center.  The silent auction is online (www.EmptyBowlsMcKinney.com) and will conclude Thursday night.  The pictures don’t do the artwork justice, so you need to come Thursday to see them in person.

  Empty Bowls

Remember When?

25th Anniversary

Remember when the average cost of a new house was $120,000, average income was $27,450 a year, and gas cost 97 cents a gallon?  Remember when average rent was $420 a month, and the Dow Jones average was 2753?

It was 1989.  Stamps cost a quarter, ham and cheese pizza, $2.59.  And, Community Lifeline Center was born.  McKinney area churches believed the most effective way to help those facing unexpected and temporary crisis was to band together to form a centralized resource.  They believed, and history has proven them right, that by referring those in need to one location, it is easier to verify and address the needs of those in crisis.

25 years ago this year.  Yes, it’s Community Lifeline Center’s 25th anniversary.

You’ll be reading more about what that history has meant over the coming year.  It’s fun to discover and report the artifacts from Community Lifeline Center’s history  —   the names of many well-known McKinney residents who have helped guide and grow the organization; the numerous support programs Community Lifeline Center has launched. And, even the many different addresses Community Lifeline has had.

It’s gratifying to report that over the past 25 years, Community Lifeline Center has grown as a resource for the NorthCollinCounty communities it serves.  Today, about 400 families and individuals are helped each month in some way through CLC services.

It’s disappointing to report that the need for CLC assistance endures.  Amidst so much good news around us, there are still so many families who are one paycheck away from a financial crisis .  These are good people, hardworking people, people we know:  our neighbors.

So, join us as we celebrate Community Lifeline Center’s 25th anniversary.  And, if that milestone, alone, moves you to donate to the CLC mission, so much the better.  Because, let’s remember what author Robert Penn Warren said about history:

“History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future.”

Christmas is “In the House”!

200 clients of Community Lifeline Center enjoyed Christmas shopping, refreshments and entertainment at the recent party held in their honor. Hosted by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church for the 2nd year in a row, CLC board member and Outreach Minister at St Peter’s Jamie St. Clair spearheaded the effort. 30 volunteers from both St. Peter’s and Trinity Presbyterian Church made the event a great success!

New this year was a room full of items from which children could shop for a gift for their parents. Volunteers assisted the children, and then wrapped the gifts with them. St. Clair had heard about other churches doing this, and wanted it for CLC. And, while the children were being entertained, parents had the privilege of choosing a toy for each child from a private “Toy Room” and taking them to the car in secret! It is CLC’s mission to create a Christmas scenario as “real” as possible for struggling families.

Hundreds of toys were donated by the residents of Tucker Hill. All of the CLC families were adopted by parishioners at St. Peter’s, members of Trinity Presbyterian, or other community members, including the Morning Pride Lions Club and the CLC board of directors.

Oh What Fun!

What: Pizza Crawl, Downtown McKinneyPizza Slice

Hosted by: McKinney Wine Merchant, Andy Doyle, 120 W. Virginia

When: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 7 pm

Benefits: Community Lifeline Center

How it works: 100 people are going to split into five groups and rotate and taste their way through all five downtown pizza restaurants with scorecards in hand to rate the best, and not so best. Want in? Come by McKinney Wine Merchant with $25 cash per person to sign up and get your ticket.

What to do: Visit Andy to purchase your $25 tickets, cash only please, payment requested ahead of time so we can have an accurate count.


Q: Can I reserve a spot by commenting on this post or mssg?
A: No

Q: Can I pay with a credit card?
A: No

Q: How much will there be to eat and drink?
A: Each restaurant will serve each crawler a slice of pie and morsel of appetizer – you’ll be stuffed. Two BYO restaurants will offer comp red wine donated by Andy and water. Otherwise the bar is open everywhere but not hosted.

Round up your friends and join the fun! Our goal is 100 “crawlers” – can we do it?