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The Foundation for the Callier Center and Communication Disorders

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Imagine what your life would be like without the ability to hear or speak, with no way to communicate your feelings or needs to not only the ones you love but with the world. The Foundation for the Callier Center and Communication Disorders’ purpose is dedicated to improve these conditions by increasing recognition and the image of UT Dallas Callier Center in the community and by helping to carry out fundraising activities. The Callier Center for Communication Disorders mission is to transform the lives of those with communication disorders by providing outstanding, leading-edge clinical services, conduction meaningful and innovative basic and applied research into new treatments and technologies, and training the next generation of caring clinical providers.

Around 4,000 children and adults receive more than 48,000 clinical services annually, including evaluation and treatment from the center. Intervention services for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, the cochlear implant program for children who are deaf, and speech and language therapy are just a few of the services offered at the Callier Center. The training offered by the center includes graduate programs in audiology and speech-language pathology which is one of the nation’s largest programs and is ranked in the top 5% of U.S. programs according to a U.S. New & World Report survey. At the center, their faculty, students, and clinicians conduct research into the causes, prevention, assessment, and treatment of communication disorders. Their facilities include state-of-the-art laboratories for research in child language development and disorders, autism spectrum disorders, speech production, hearing disorders, neurogenic speech and language disorders, amplification of hearing aids, cochlear implants and aural habilitation. The Callier Center does not discriminate against patients who cannot afford the services that they desperately need and more than half the children that they serve need financial assistance.

Ruthie’s donation drive collection for the campers!

Ruthie’s donation drive collection for the campers!

The recipient of the Ruthie’s Snacks of Kindness for July was the Callier Center’s Cochlear Implant Summer Listening Camp. The camp is for children ages 4 – 11 who have cochlear implants. A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing. Campers receive listening and speech-language therapy throughout the week and are also able to spend time with other children who have cochlear implants, and family members come together to share information. Ruthie’s also held a donation drive to collect art supplies for the campers.

Watching the campers with big smiles on their faces as they hugged Ruthie and used speech to order their grilled cheese sandwiches is one amazing example of the power of communication!
— Melissa Sweeny

 Director of Speech-Language Pathology Clinical Services Cochlear Implant Program Manager, Melissa Sweeney “began working for the Callier Center at UT Dallas because [she] saw it as a place that provides hope to families of those with communication disorders.” Callier allows speech pathologists and audiologists to partner with families on their journeys in helping their loved one improve their communication skills. For Melissa, “it was [her] love for working with children who are deaf or hard of hearing and Callier’s family-centered care” that drew her to the Callier. She believes that “communication is a basic human need and right. Callier transforms lives by providing treatment to those with communication disorders and improving their ability to interact in the world around them.” Serving the campers some gooey grilled cheese was not only fun for the campers but for the Ruthie’s staff as well! Ruthie’s mascot, Ruthie the pig was in attendance and gave out stickers and hugs to all the campers. “Watching the campers with big smiles on their faces as they hugged Ruthie and used speech to order their grilled cheese sandwiches is one amazing example of the power of communication!” Visit the Callier Center for Communication Disorders website for more information on how you can be a hear-o!

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Just Because, Inc.

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Just Because is an example of a community of willing, kind people being kind and serving-Just Because.  The passion for people is what keeps Just Because “doing”. We will keep loving and we’d love everyone to follow suit-Just Because. Just Because is a non-profit organization that focuses on under-resourced communities in the DFW area. “Our values are pretty simple at Just Because, Inc. Serve-we serve under-resourced People, organizations and causes-wholeheartedly. Kindness-we share it without judgement. Focus-we identify problems and then focus on a solution.” as stated on their website About Just Because. “To see all, as they are. To touch hearts, without an agenda. To share kindness, Just Because.” was the mission for Just-Because and I love it! We chose this organization because their mission was so simple but the purpose and impact they have on communities is major. The company is a smaller company but you just need a few powerful dedicated people and your company is as big as the next major company!

By coming together as a community, we extend our kindness and love into the community. It’s magic really. Having Ruthie’s validate that the work we do matters fuels our hearts.
— Krissy Sarine-Van Brunt
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We spoke with the Creator of Kindness Krissy Sarine-Van Brunt just to get some insights from her. “My ‘enough’ button was pushed one a hot day last August and I decided-enough.  Enough with children going to school without underwear. Enough with our seniors being forgotten. Enough with our military not properly being appreciated. Enough with our homeless community eating out of buckets under bridges in 110 degree heat.  Enough. SO much enough. We all have the option to do nothing, thankfully, we don’t speak ‘do nothing’ at Just Because,” she expressed. “I’d love to ask the 2,000 children in DFW receiving new socks and undies for the 2019-2020 school year how their confidence has increased knowing complete strangers are rooting for them.  Or perhaps the 300 senior citizens how much love they felt during Easter basket delivery in April. I’m sure we impacted the waistlines of the 32 Fire and Police Stations we cookie’d during Thin Mint Season-Just Because. Over 450 homeless in DFW received individual, insulated coolers last month in an effort to keep what little food they have, cool for the summer. Greatest impact? Ask the two teenagers that we took shopping after their family lost everything in the tornado in June.  One told me, ‘people aren’t nice anymore, but you help people.’ It’s true, our organization is 100% run by our Just Because community FOR the community. By coming together as a community, we extend our kindness and love into the community. It’s magic really. Having Ruthie’s validate that the work we do matters fuels our hearts.  Ruthie’s also collected several pairs of socks, shoes and undies for our Just BeKids program.”

Ruthie’s and Just Because are both small companies making big differences in the community. Two strong women that created a business for the greater good of the people. Ruthie’s has shed spread light on Just Because by trying to collect as many donations as possible, and also letting social media know about the great doings of Just Because so that they can give a well deserved contribution to the organization!

We weren’t able to feed the Just Because crew all at once but our Chief of Cheesy Kindness Amber was able to catch up with Tim Stone the Director of Dreams and got to serve him a grilled cheese. “He was so excited about his cheesy encouragement that he paid to enter a Food Truck Palooza at Temple Shalom just to make it happen! We gave him an extra sandwich for his friend as well but unfortunately he was not able to wear his grilled cheese bikini to the Temple!”

Our very own Kelly Bennett gave us some of her own insight on how she felt about Just Because personally and how does working for a company that gives back to the community impact her life,”I love serving the Just Because nonprofit because it is a very small nonprofit run 100% by volunteers making a BIG impact in our community! They serve anyone and everyone in need....whether it's clothing, food, toiletries....they provide it all at no cost, also I think we all need to have and feel a sense of purpose. Working at Ruthie's Rolling Cafe is a blessing and allows all of us who work here the opportunity to serve!”

If you want to help support Just Because you could always log on to Just Because and contribute to their Amazon wish list, make a donation, or just volunteer your time! A special thanks to Just Because for being another angelic organization for our community. Also a special thanks to Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe for making it all happen!

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Reading Partners of North Texas

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The non-profit, Reading Partners, believes that reading is fundamental to a child’s academic success and their future. Their mission is to help children become lifelong readers by empowering communities to offer individualized instruction with significant results. The organization partners with under-resourced and low-income schools in hopes of bridging the immense educational gap that children growing up in poverty have to face. Reading Partners focuses on students who are at least one month behind in reading to give individualized instruction to help them master the reading fundamentals they need to reach grade level requirements. Committed community volunteers are trained to work one-on-one with these students to deliver a simple and proven successful curriculum each week to help the students improve their reading skills.

The organization systematically collects, analyzes, and uses data from annual student assessments, quality monitoring activities, researching the effectiveness of pilot initiatives and contracting for independent studies to improve their programs. Students reading skills are assessed three times during the year and formally surveyed by their teachers twice a year to track each student’s progress. Volunteer tutors write observational notes after each tutoring session and the Reading Partners site staff reviews the notes and uses the information to provide additional instructional support and guidance for the tutors throughout the year. Structured but easy-to-use curriculum provides targeted instruction and the practice of introductory literacy skills to help students gain the skills needed to become independent and successful readers. The non-profit’s one-on-one tutoring model provides each student with a caring coach to deliver support and success while working at the students’ pace and level. Through the Reading Partners program, students who have struggled in many subjects are now empowered to become proud and confident readers excited about learning.

The Ruthie’s crew nominated Reading Partners of North Texas for the Ruthie’s Snacks of Kindness (RSK) for the month of February because of the crew’s interest in throwing a book drive at Klyde Warren Park. The non-profit encourages students to build their own libraries at home by offering them gently used donated books from book drives and donations through their Take Reading Home program. The crew Reading Partners selected as the RSK recipient not only because of their Take Home Reading program but also because of their deep focus on educational equality through engaging communities to support students through trusted and proven literacy solutions. Ruthie’s held the book drive in front of the food tuck at Klyde Warren Park during the month of February and highlighted the organization on our website, social media, and food trucks. Grilled cheese sandwiches filled with cheesy encouragement were delivered to the AmeriCorps member of Reading Partners who are critical to the success of the organization. Some of the Ruthie’s crew also volunteered for Reading Partners as part of the Team Tutor Day at Kramer Elementary School in Dallas. External Relations Manager of Reading Partners North Texas, Amber Martin, mentioned how grateful she was for the help Ruthie’s contributed to the non-profit, “Thank you again for the grilled cheese and your willingness to help children learn to read. You all help our children make up critical sessions needed to achieve success of getting back on grade level reading.”

Ruthie’s is thankful for the impact Reading Partners is making to improve literacy outcomes for each student and the community. The organization cannot thrive without the support of the community. Volunteering to become a reading partners is a fun and effective way to change a life through mentorship. Visit the Reading Partners of North Texas website for more information.

Grilled cheese sandwiches delivered to the AmeriCorps members of Reading Partners North Texas February 2019.

Grilled cheese sandwiches delivered to the AmeriCorps members of Reading Partners North Texas February 2019.

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New Friends New Life

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New Friends New Life (NFNL) restores and empowers formerly trafficked teen girls and sexually exploited women, including their children, by providing access to education, job training, interim financial assistance, mental health, and spiritual support. Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to exploit human beings for labor or commercial sex. Currently, Texas ranks 2nd in the country for the most human trafficking with $99 million spent each year on sex trade in North Texas alone. NFNL focuses on the issue of domestic sex trafficking which by law means the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion or any of these acts performed by someone under 18. There are an estimated 400 trafficked teens on the streets each night in Dallas, contributing to the 100,000 children that are trafficked each year in the United States. The majority of those being trafficked are poor and have already suffered violence and abuse throughout life. Many victims of trafficking have learned not to feel in order to survive the exploitation and abuse they have endured and do not immediately seek help but through continued trust-building and patient interviewing to get the whole story, these women can begin developing their new lives.

The services and resources offered by the non-profit include counseling, support groups, the Children’s Academic Program, financial assistance, budget coaching, life-skills and parenting training, education programs, second chance jobs, and spiritual support, all are geared toward rehabilitation. A soul healing and faith-based program is dedicated to mentoring and affirming members of their inner strength and courage by developing the skill of self-compassion. The comprehensive program is offered to more than 1,200 formerly trafficked teens, women, and their children each year including women and teens that are currently incarcerated.

Ruthie’s food is so delicious and it’s a luxury our members don’t often get to have, so for them to be able to order from the truck and get some truly mouthwatering food is really awesome to watch.
— Melany Vargas

During the month of January, the NFNL organization was highlighted on the Ruthie’s food trucks and social media. The Ruthie’s crew delivered delicious grilled cheese sandwiches to the kindhearted and dedicated staff of the non-profit. Volunteer Manager, Melany Vargas mentioned how the staff works “day in and day out to handle all sorts of hurdles that come up for the members who are working hard to overcome their past trauma, survive in their present situation and plan for a better future.” Some of the program members were served grilled cheese sandwiches from the food truck during one of their educational training classes as well. Melany expresses how “Ruthie’s food is so delicious and it’s a luxury our members don’t often get to have, so for them to be able to order from the truck and get some truly mouthwatering food is really awesome to watch.” The members or clients of the program are truly committed to changing their lifestyle by living within a budget, remaining drug and alcohol free, and attending training to gain the education and skills needed for a future job. After graduating, clients still have access to support services and leadership opportunities for life. None of this would be possible without the devotion of the supportive staff and advocates of NFNL who provide a careful and empathetic approach to restore and empower the lives of their members.

There are many ways to join the mission of helping women and teens escape the degradation of sexually oriented businesses to build new lives for themselves and their children. NFNL depends on volunteers, their Circle of Friends, local businesses and partners, advocacy groups, and interns to achieve the purpose of the organization. The non-profit is always looking for opportunities to bring awareness to the issue of commercial sexual exploitation and the real-world struggles of sex trafficking in the United States through speaking engagements. Visit the NFNL website for more information about how to help women and children overcome backgrounds of abuse, addiction, poverty, and limited opportunities.

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The 12 Days of Ruthie's Snacks of Kindness: Part 2

The seventh organization chosen by the Ruthie’s crew, is not a non-profit but an institution that wholly impacts the Dallas community. The Dallas Police Department (DPD) is dedicated to serving the people of Dallas and strives to reduce crime and provide a safe city. Helping people at every opportunity by offering preventive, investigative, and enforcement services is the DPD’s goal. By respecting and protecting the rights of citizens as determined by the law, being an example of honesty and integrity, and performing their duties with the knowledge that protection of the lives and property of all citizens is their primary responsibility, the men and women of the DPD accomplish this mission. The Police Department realizes that they alone cannot control crime and must act in harmony with the community and the rest of the Criminal Justice System. The importance of involving the community to help combat crime and increase the quality of police service is acknowledged by the DPD through the Community Engagement Unit (CEU). The CEU assists citizens with developing crime watch groups and other programs that assist the community including iWatch Dallas, Amber Alert, and youth programs. A couple employees of Ruthie’s delivered some tasty gourmet grilled cheese for the officers of the Jack Evans Headquarters for their dedication to the citizens of Dallas. Visit the Dallas Police website for more information.

Vogel Alcove was selected by Ruthie’s team member, Amber, for the 12 Days of Ruthie’s Snacks of Kindness (RSK). Their mission is to help young children overcome the lasting and traumatic effects of homelessness. The vision of the non-profit is that every child in the Dallas community has a home, a self-sufficient family, and a foundation for success in school and life. As of 2016, 30% of Dallas children are growing up in poverty, the number one reason for family homelessness. Children suffering from homelessness are four times more likely than their peers to display delayed development and 33% of homeless children over the age of 8 will have a mental disorder. The organization intervenes with children at this crucial time in brain development and provides trauma-informed care that helps to counteract the effects of homelessness. Through therapeutic early childhood programming and school-age services, mental health integration, health services, and the family support program, Vogel Alcove has tailored their approach to meet the needs of homeless children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old. By providing a place free from hunger and trauma, where children are allowed to learn, grow, and thrive, the non-profit gives homeless families a chance to overcome their circumstances. Ruthie’s served lunch to compassionate staff as a thank you for their dedication to the children of Dallas experiencing homelessness. Greg Brinkley, Chief Development Officer for Vogel Alcove, conveyed how grateful the staff was for the comforting lunch. “Our teachers and case workers have very, very difficult jobs. The children we serve are in trauma, and it takes special people to help them heal and grow. In addition, our teachers absorb the pain our children and families experience. The fact that you chose to support our staff made them feel special. We need more people like you and companies like Ruthie’s to support our team! Plus, the sandwiches were awesome!” In order to continue offering services for homeless children and their families at no cost, the organization relies on the support of the community. To learn more about donating or volunteering for Vogel Alcove, visit their website for more information.

We need more people like you and companies like Ruthie’s to support our team! Plus, the sandwiches were awesome!
— Greg Brinkley, Chief Development Officer for Vogel Alcove

One of our community partners, Café Momentum, was chosen by the Ruthie’s crew as the ninth non-profit of the 12 Days of RSK’s. The Dallas-based restaurant and culinary training facility transforms young lives by equipping our community’s most at-risk youth with life skills, education and employment opportunities to help them achieve their full potential. By providing a positive environment in which youth who have spent time in juvenile facilities receive intensive culinary, job, and life-skill training, as well as continuous mentorship and support, the organization empowers the at-risk youths to transform their lives and achieve their full potential. Participators of the pre-release program alternate through every aspect of the restaurant from waiting tables to washing dishes, while working side-by-side with reputable chefs. Café Momentum collaborates with the Dallas County Juvenile Justice Department to teach young adolescent men and women that it is possible to break the cycle of violence and crime that many of them have endured. To ensure a more successful future for their interns the organization concentrates on creating environments where they can attain self-confidence and learn marketable skills. The 12-month paid post-release internship program begins with a 13-week orientation at which time interns are connected with case managers to address basic crucial needs, build a baseline of stability in their lives and set personal goals. Working their way through all areas of the restaurant, the interns learn about legal employment, social and life skills. Case managers provide financial literacy training, parenting classes, educational assistance, and career exploration as well as help working through issues such as anger management, trauma recovery, fatherlessness, and abandonment. Successful interns are placed in a job with one of the non-profit’s community partners after graduation and become contributing members of society. Ruthie’s served gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches to the interns and amiable staff of Café Momentum before their Thursday night dinner service. Toiletries that were collected at the Ruthie’s food trucks during public events were delivered to the interns of non-profit. The restaurant is opened for dinner Thursday through Sunday for reservations and walk-in guests. The Sunday Supper Concert Series is an intimate acoustic evening with a new artist every week and family-style dinner and drinks. Visit the Café Momentum website or restaurant to eat, drink and change lives.

The tenth non-profit, Equest, was nominated by Ruthie’s employee, Kelly. Enhancing the quality of life for children and adults with diverse needs by partnering them with horses to bring hope and healing through equine assisted activities and therapies is the mission of the organization. The non-profit offers a variety of programs tailored to each individual client including Therapeutic Horsemanship where instructors teach equestrian skills to participants with a variety of special needs. Participants experience a freedom of motion and ability they don’t or can’t enjoy in other aspects of their lives. Therapeutic Carriage Driving provides the same experience for those with special needs who cannot or do not wish to be mounted on a horse. Physical, occupational, and speech therapy is available to clients while mounted on the horse through the Hippotherapy program. The equine-assisted therapy may also positively affect psychological, cognitive, behavioral, and communication outcomes. Equine Facilitated Counseling at Equest addresses metal health issues for clients with a team of licensed professionals and the horse. The Hooves for Heroes program is offered to military veterans and family members at no cost and empowers participants to take charge of their civilian transitions and assume new roles as civic leaders. Benefits that veterans receive from the therapeutic horsemanship include improved self-awareness and self-confidence, healthier relationships, enhanced emotional regulation, and opportunities to serve the community. The non-profit also hosts the Dallas Police Department and their Police Activities League (PAL) program through a comprehensive horsemanship program that moves children from their first introduction to horses to advanced riding skills. Individuals wanting to gain firsthand experience through sensory immersion can participate in the Equine Assisted Learning program or the Mini Ambassador Program to learn about the unique healing bond between humans and horses. Ruthie’s delivered grilled cheese sandwiches to the empathetic staff of the organization as a thank you for their dedication to improving the quality of life for children and adults with diverse needs. Equest offers over 30,000 volunteer hours each year for individuals and groups with no prior horse experience needed. The organization will teach you everything you need to know and offer an opportunity to partake in riding lessons. Visit the Equest website for more information about volunteering, donating, and upcoming events supporting the non-profit’s mission.

The Veterans Resource Center was selected by the Ruthie’s crew in honor of the homeless veterans of Dallas. The center is managed by Homeless Veterans Services of Dallas, Inc. (HVSD), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of homeless or at-risk veterans and their families. By providing the first point of contact for veterans needing to connect with non-profits, employment and educational opportunities, and resources offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs the organization offers a path towards self-sufficiency. Alleviating the problem of homelessness among veterans and their families by assisting with transitional and permanent housing if the main goal of the Veterans Resource Center. Since opening the center’s doors, over 45,000 veterans have received assistance from the organization. The Ruthie’s crew served 150 grilled cheese sandwiches in addition to chips and drinks to the courageous veterans receiving aid from the center. During the lunch service, the generous non-profit organizations Operation Once in a Lifetime and Boot Campaign delivered blankets and boots to the veterans as well. Operation Once in a Lifetime’s mission is to make the dreams of U.S. Soldiers and their families come true by providing free financial and morale support to all U.S. Service members, their families, and veterans regardless of rank, deployment, physical condition, branch, or service. Boot Campaign is dedicated to providing life-improving programs to help veterans and military families nationwide and helping to bridge the military-civilian divide. The veterans received new boots and blankets along with a warm and comforting grilled cheese sandwich in recognition of their sacrifices and for their dedication to our country. For more information about the Veterans Resource Center and how to support their mission, visit their website.

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All of the employees of Ruthie’s loves animals so the last non-profit nominated for the 12 Days of RSK’s was Paws in the City. The animal rescue group is committed to ending the overpopulation, abuse, and neglect of Dallas area dogs and cats by finding every adoptable dog and cat a loving home. As an all-volunteer non-profit organization, Paws in the City shares resources with like-minded groups, assists in emergencies, and work harder to find homes for hard-to-place pets. By taking dogs and cats that are overlooked due to illnesses, old age or breed, the charitable non-profit is reducing the euthanizing of animals at local city shelters. A training program to help solve behavior issues and rehabilitate dogs with issues due to human neglect and abuse is offered to all of the adoptable dogs that Paws in the City home, giving them a second chance. Through community outreach and financial support of vaccine and sterilization clinics, the program Fixin’ to Save helps diminish the numbers of unwanted litters in Dallas. Pet owners may attend to have their animals vaccinated or sterilized for free at the various clinic that organization support. The Guest Dog/Cat Program helps citizens who have found a stray or need to re-home an animal by posting the pet on social media, inviting them to attend adoption events, and connecting them with a discounted vet. As a thank you to the magnanimous volunteers of Paws in the City, Ruthie’s delivered some delicious grilled cheese sandwiches to the Pawliday Pawty, one of their exciting and unique fundraisers. Being one of the largest and most respected animal rescue groups in North Texas, the organization depends on their volunteers and the donations from the community. To learn more about the non-profit and how to get involved, visit their website.

The organizations selected for the 12 Days of RSK’s are just a few of the organizations that are creating a positive change in our community. All of the affectionate, generous, and supportive volunteers and team members of the organizations have dedicated more than just their time to making Dallas and the surrounding neighborhoods a better place. Serving grilled cheese was just a simple thank you that has hopefully warmed and brought comfort to every recipient of the Snacks of Kindness. A total of 535 sandwiches were served in December to impact our community in the cheesiest way. Ruthie’s was honored to be able to recognize and acknowledge the dozen non-profits and organizations represented in the 12 Days of RSK’s.

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The 12 Days of Ruthie's Snacks of Kindness: Part 1

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The Ruthie’s mission, “to provide exceptional service and quality comfort food in order to impact our local community and non-profit organizations”, has never been more exemplified than during the second annual 12 Days of Ruthie’s Snacks of Kindness (RSK). Before December, the Ruthie’s crew came together to select twelve different non-profits to thank for their generous work within the community. The twelve diverse organizations have missions that are close to the teams’ hearts, individually and as a whole. During the month of December Ruthie’s delivered delectable grilled cheese sandwiches to some of the members and employees of the selected non-profits. Donation drives for tangible items needed by some of the organizations were held in front of the food trucks during public events for the month of December. Ruthie’s also highlighted the non-profits of the 12 Days of RSK’s on the food trucks and social media to inform Ruthie’s customers of the organizations and their benevolent missions.

Smoked sliced turkey, crispy bacon, house made slob sauce, and melted sharp cheddar cheese on grilled sourdough bread topped with Santa! The Turkey Trot was one of the grilled cheese sandwiches delivered during the 12 Days of RSK’s.

Smoked sliced turkey, crispy bacon, house made slob sauce, and melted sharp cheddar cheese on grilled sourdough bread topped with Santa! The Turkey Trot was one of the grilled cheese sandwiches delivered during the 12 Days of RSK’s.

Richardson Area Young Life (RAYL), nominated by Ruthie’s employee, Ben, was the first non-profit of the 12 Days of RSK’s. Young Life is a Christian ministry that reaches out to middle school, high school, and college-age kids in more than 90 countries around the world, as well as groups for military kids, teen moms, and special need kids. The Young Life mission is to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and to help them grow in their faith. They accomplish their mission by inviting kids to personally respond to the Good News and by walking in friendship with them regardless of their response, as well as providing fun, adventurous, life-changing, and skill-building experiences. RAYL provides a weekly club night, described as “a party with a purpose” to share a simple message about God’s love for them and a weekly meeting called Campaigners, for kids who wish to learn more or grow in their faith through study and service. Young Life also hosts a camping trip for kids to get away from the pressures of everyday life, have fun with friends and their Young Life leaders, as well as hear the message of God’s love in terms they can understand. The Ruthie’s crew made some delicious grilled cheeses for the staff of a local high school Young Life as a thank you for their commitment to the community. Visit the RAYL website for volunteer opportunities or if you would like to make a financial contribution.

Ruthie’s team member, Marie, chose The Concilio as the second recipient of the 12 Days of RSK’s. The non-profit’s mission is to build stronger communities by empowering parents to improve the lives of their families. Since 1981, they have fulfilled this mission by focusing on two areas; health and education. The organization offers programs that advance educational attainment by bridging the gap between parents and the educational system. Parents Advocating for Student Excellence (PASE), is a program that teaches parents how to positively influence their child’s education by being actively engaged. The Concilio helps families overcome unfavorable conditions that interfere with their health and access to equitable healthcare. The Healthy Kids, Healthy Families (HKHF) accelerates healthy lifestyle changes in communities and creates a lasting change by focusing on preventative health, nutrition and wellness, and physical activity. By promoting parental involvement in their children’s lives, The Concilio has been able to serve thousands of families each year, and help unlock students potentials. A donation drive of school supplies and care package items was held at the Ruthie’s office before December. The donations and grilled cheese sandwiches for the enthusiastic staff were delivered during the first week of the 12 Days of RSK’s. Visit The Concilio’s website for more information about volunteering or donating to the wonderful cause.

Ruthie’s employee, Cully, delivering grilled cheese sandwiches to the staff of the Greater Dallas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Ruthie’s employee, Cully, delivering grilled cheese sandwiches to the staff of the Greater Dallas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

The Greater Dallas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association was selected by Ruthie’s employee, Lori, in honor of her mother. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia with symptoms that develop slowly, get worse over time, and cause difficulties with memory, thinking, and behavior. There is no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues today. The Association’s mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, provide enhanced care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. The Greater Dallas Chapter provides connections to local resources, care consultations, caregiver seminars, educational programs, and support groups for those who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s. A national 24/7 Helpline connects people living with the disease, caregivers, families, and the public to specialists and master-level clinicians to offer confidential support and information. As a thank you for the chapter’s strenuous work with those affected by Alzheimer’s, Ruthie’s delivered comforting grilled cheeses to the thoughtful staff. The Greater Dallas Chapter staff member, Megan, wrote to Ruthie’s about the delivery, to say, “These sandwiches brought happiness to our office!” To help in the fight to end Alzheimer’s, visit their website to learn how to donate, advocate, or participate in the fundraising activity, The Longest Day!

The forth non-profit chosen for the 12 Days of RSK’s was Foundation 45 and was nominated by Ruthie’s team member, Sara. The mission of Foundation 45 is to start a difficult but necessary conversation about suicide and support people struggling with suicidal thoughts and mental illness as well as those struggling with the collateral damage of losing a loved one by suicide. The Foundation recognizes that musicians, artists, and creative types are often at a higher risk of mental health issues and addiction but suicide affects more than just a neighborhood or community, it affects us all. On average, one Texan dies by suicide every three hours. The organization provides help for anyone suffering from mental illness, depression and addiction; many of whom do not have access to mental health resources. Their goal is to stand up against suicide and bring an end to these needless deaths by breaking the stigma, promoting living, and fostering creativity. The Interlude 45 Support Group is offered three times a week for adults to share their battles and successes with mental health issues and suicide. All sessions are led by dedicated licensed professional counselors that are committed to helping those struggling in the Dallas community find answers. Sara delivered a lunch of cheesy encouragement to the some of the counselors and staff of Foundation 45 before one of their board meetings as an appreciation for their tireless efforts with those whose lives have been impacted by suicide. Join the mission to break the silence and support solutions for real people by donating, volunteering, or throwing a benefit on the Foundation 45 website.

The staff of DCAC enjoying lunch from Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe!

The staff of DCAC enjoying lunch from Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe!

The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC) was nominated by Ruthie’s crew collectively because of the organizations mission to improve the lives of abused children in Dallas county and to provide national leadership on child abuse cases. The DCAC manages the investigation, prosecution and healing services for the most severe cases of child abuse in Dallas county. They aid over 6,500 children (and their non-offending family members) who have been sexually abused, severely physically abused, or have witnessed a violent crime. The DCAC’s average client is a 9-year-old girl who has been sexually abused by someone she knows and trusts. The non-profit provides victims of abuse with a forensic interview, support for their family through advocacy and financial assistance, and therapy. Children who have been victimized and receive therapy are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, grow up to become victims of domestic violence, become involved in some sort of criminal activity, suffer from a mental disorder, or develop suicidal thoughts and self-harm. The organization believes education is one of the best defenses against those who seek to harm children and offers training programs for the community. The DCAC’s Crimes Against Children Conference and Research Institute provides leadership on evidence-based practices and has become a promoter for a nationwide and transformative change. To thank the organization for providing justice and restoring hope in the young victims lives of Dallas County, Ruthie’s served some delectable grilled cheese sandwiches to the compassionate staff of DCAC. The non-profit relies on the help of the community to achieve its life-changing mission. Visit the DCAC website for more information about advocating, volunteering, donating, or attending an event.

Bonton Farms was selected as the sixth non-profit by Ruthie’s staff member, Sherri. Bonton is a South Dallas community located in an “urban food desert”, an area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food. 63% of residents do not have personal transportation and the closest grocery store is a 3-hour round-trip bus ride away, leaving beer & wine stores as the only option with over-priced, outdated, and processed foods. In Bonton, 85% of men have been to prison, poverty is rampant, and jobs are scarce. The influence of these circumstances on the neighborhood’s health are detrimental and impacts the community’s ability to work and be productive. Cardio-vascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer rates are all 45% to 61% higher than that of the city of Dallas. Bonton Farms is on a mission to change the community from within by restoring lives, creating jobs, and igniting hope in the most forgotten and neglected neighborhoods for the most marginalized and vulnerable people. The now 40 plus acres farm is one of the largest urban farms in the United States. Adhering to organic standards, Bonton Farms is determined to grow the best tasting, healthiest, and freshest food. The farms free-range chickens, goats, turkeys, rabbits, and beehives provide plenty of fresh eggs, milk, and honey that can be purchased at the Market. The Market also offers a variety of enrichment classes on healthy cooking, financial management, parenting, and much more. The Ruthie’s crew provided some savory grilled cheese sandwiches for the dedicated and passionate team of Bonton Farms. Toiletries items collected during the one of donation drives were given to the non-profit for people of the community of Bonton. For more information about visiting the farm or Market, visit the Bonton Farms website.

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