Hilco Real Estate 6-2024

Amazing Grace is growing

by | Jul 10, 2024 | Latest, news

Amazing Grace Food Pantry now has a new parking lot with lights and 73 parking spaces, more than doubling the number of spaces. A produce pavilion is a future dream.

Amazing Grace Food Pantry in North Wylie recently celebrated the culmination of an ambitious five-year goal: the completion of a long-awaited parking lot project. 

And although the nonprofit is busier than ever, CEO Karen Ellis said they are already looking at another big project.

The all-volunteer food pantry is known for offering hope and sustenance to countless area families in need, including fresh produce and unique services like food delivery to 75 homebound seniors in Plano. 

But for six years, AGFP was also known for its unlit deteriorating parking lot with only 28 parking spaces, countless potholes and an entrance so narrow that some semi-trucks had to be turned away.

“Every time a truck turned into the driveway, which was very narrow, there were big dips,” Ellis said. “I don’t know how many times I watched a truck almost lose its load.”

Construction on a new parking lot started in April, which required the food pantry to close for three weeks. Clients were given two months’ notice and AGFP donated 20,000 pounds of food to 5 Loaves Food Pantry in Sachse while its doors were closed, said Ellis.

The much-needed new parking lot cost over $400,000 and North Texas Food Bank paid for a portion of it said Ellis. The project has been in the works for five years and was finished last week. Now it is perfectly flat, built to last with concrete and has plenty of lighting to make evening services safer. The new parking lot also has 73 parking spaces, which should greatly reduce, if not eradicate, the frequent line of cars down the street. 

“Our clients are so thrilled with the parking lot because the potholes would wreak havoc on their cars,” Ellis said. The first day it opened, Ellis said a client confessed that she “used to dread coming here.”

The nonprofit also has a new entrance that is wide enough for any delivery. A year was spent convincing TxDOT to put a turn lane in front of building, Ellis added, but there is currently no timeline for when it will be installed

“Five years ago, they said it was going to be in two years,” she said.

The food pantry provides an average of 100 pounds of food to 600-700 unique families per week. In the first quarter of this year, AGFP served 41% more clients than it did in the first quarter of 2023, Ellis said. 

“It’s kind of scary,” she said. “But God provides. It will be alright. He’s brought us this far.”

In Collin County, AGFP ranks third in the amount of food distributed to families in need.

“It’s all ages and races,” Ellis said. “From newlyweds who are 20-year-olds to people who are 80-years-old. We are serving 50 new clients every week.”

There are more people who need to come to the food pantry, Ellis said, and the numbers are rising because many are getting desperate enough to put away their pride.

“They cry,” Ellis said. “Nine out of ten will cry the first time they come in when they see all that food. But they can save at least $500 a month if they come here twice a month.”

With one long term goal realized, Ellis is already talking about another. A photo of a pavilion hangs in the breakroom with the words “The Dream” written on it.

“Our next goal is to do the produce pavilion,” Ellis said. “That’s a biggie.”

Clients mainly like the fresh produce, she said, and the pantry currently puts three to six pallets of it on the front porch. Doing this, said Ellis, overwhelms the front of the building with foot traffic.

Ellis expects the produce pavilion to cost over $200,000. It will have lights, misting fans and an area large enough to accommodate a dozen pallets of produce. She also wants it to include monitors with instructions on how to properly cut different types of produce. 

“There will be no traffic on the front porch except people coming in to register or us going out to take food to their car,” Ellis said. “It gets pretty crazy out there right now.”

But first AGFP needs to replace the volunteer parking lot to allow for at least 40 cars before the pavilion is started. Volunteers currently park three deep but still only have about 25 parking spaces, she said.

“We’re getting more groups and I have to tell them to carpool because we just don’t have enough spaces,” Ellis said.  

And the timeline for the new volunteer parking lot and the produce pavilion?

“When we have the money,” Ellis said. “We don’t do anything on credit.”

As for right now, the food pantry needs to replace a freezer. Donations can be made at amazinggracepantry.org. Cereal, chicken noodle soup and baked beans are the most needed food items.

To support your local community newspaper, subscribe to The Wylie News today!

Hilco Real Estate 6-2024

0 Comments

NTMWD Plant Smart 2024

Related News

Swatting suspect identified

Swatting suspect identified

A juvenile suspect in East Texas is believed responsible for numerous bomb threats and “swatting” hoaxes across multiple states, the Collin County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) said. The investigation began in May when the suspect initiated a swatting incident at a...

read more
More input needed for downtown plans

More input needed for downtown plans

City Engineer Tim Porter and council members discussed plans for downtown at length during a recent workshop.  Chad Engbrock Council hit a bump in the road with plans to reconfigure the historic downtown area.  City Engineer Tim Porter led a work session on phase...

read more
New home being built for veteran

New home being built for veteran

Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Semeli Toilolo. Courtesy photo Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Semeli Toilolo and his family will receive a new home being built for them in Lavon. They were surprised with the presentation during a Tuesday, June 18, groundbreaking ceremony. Operation...

read more
Proposed budget updates presented by city manager

Proposed budget updates presented by city manager

Boards and commission members are jointly sworn in at the Tuesday, June 25 city council meeting. Before discussing the continuing budget building process, Wylie council took time for recognitions and proclamations at their last regular meeting. Representatives from...

read more
Car show at Bluegrass on Ballard this weekend

Car show at Bluegrass on Ballard this weekend

Robert Vaughan from East Fork Masonic Lodge 650 has been the organizer of the Bluegrass on Ballard Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show since 2017. Courtesy of Robert Vaughan Bluegrass on Ballard, one of the city’s most anticipated annual events, is set to feature more than...

read more
Junior Police Academy is no joke

Junior Police Academy is no joke

On the last day of Junior Police Academy, Friday, June 21, cadets squared off with Wylie police posing as attackers. Wylie police have developed a world class Junior Police Academy program. Started in 2009, many other regional police departments have observed Wylie’s...

read more
West Nile Virus found in mosquito

West Nile Virus found in mosquito

Ground spraying is planned along Lonesome Dove Trail following the discovery of a mosquito carrying the West Nike Virus. The city of Murphy confirmed last Friday, June 21, that West Nile was confirmed in a mosquito trapped the previous week in the creek bed northeast...

read more
WISD trustees approve 2024-25 budget

WISD trustees approve 2024-25 budget

The Wylie ISD proposed general fund budget as presented.  Courtesy Wylie ISD The Wylie ISD board of trustees approved the budget for the 2024-25 school year. Scott Roderick, Wylie ISD assistant superintendent for finance and operations, emphasized in his final...

read more
Order photos