Food Bank Friends

Preston Hollow resident Joanne Teichman credits a letter from friends with bringing to her attention the needs of school children with nothing to eat on weekends.
“We just took out our check book and wrote a check, a big check,” Teichman said. “We thought this can’t be happening in Dallas.”
Pam Beckert, Diane Buchanan, and Patsy Fagadau started the Food 4 Kids Letter Writing Campaign in 2006. According to the North Texas Food Bank, $5 provides a child with a backpack of nutritious, ready-to-eat food to take home for the weekend.
Teichman, who with her husband, Charles, owns jewelry retailer Ylang 23, wasn’t satisfied with only writing a check. Wanting to share her marketing and fundraising skills, she volunteered as campaign chairperson in 2007, then added Joyce Goss as co-chair for 2008, 2014, and 2015.

Teichman said she introduced the use of Super Backpackers, donors who commit to giving $10,000 even before the letters go out. The campaign now also includes Backpack Angels, who donate $25,000.
“I don’t care whether you are Republican or Democrat,” Teichman said. “I don’t care what religion you are; you can relate to hungry kids.”
NTFB honored Teichman and Goss as its Golden Fork Volunteers of the Year, crediting their leadership with providing more than 721,548 weekend backpacks.
For this year’s campaign, chairpersons Margee Hocking and Nils Senvalds, along with Meg and Dave Graves, whose son supports NTFB through mistletoe sales, set a goal of $600,000. Learn more at
Mistletoe Meals
Former Lamplighter School classmates Stella Wrubel and Quinn Graves, both 11, have a knack for turning mistletoe into meals.

Quinn Graves (red hat) and Stella Wrubel count mistletoe stand sales. (Photo courtesy Steve Wrubel)
Quinn Graves (red hat) and Stella Wrubel count mistletoe stand sales. (Photo courtesy Steve Wrubel)

Wrubel, now at The Hockaday School, and Graves, now at Greenhill School, mobilize family, friends, and other volunteers to run their Quinn + Stella’s Jingle Bell Mistletoe stand each year near Royal Blue Grocery in Highland Park Village.
Their fathers and Wrubel’s grandfather harvest mistletoe from the Perini Ranch near Buffalo Gap. Their moms and Wrubel’s grandmother trim it and add bows. Volunteers, including high school students seeking community service hours, help with sales. Prices vary by size – $5, $10, $20, or more. Visit
“It’s become what we look forward to every Christmas,” Wrubel said.
She came up with the idea five years ago while looking to help after Hurricane Sandy.
Not wanting to sell lemonade in December, she sold mistletoe in front of her house, raising $2,000 for the National Red Cross.
Three years ago she switched to supporting the NTFB.
NTFB recognized Stella and Quinn in 2016 as its Youth Leaders of The Year for providing more
than 168,000 meals by raising $56,000 in donations in two years.
Canned Construction
Themes may vary from Thanksgiving turkeys to election year donkeys and elephants, but the concept remains constant at Highland Park ISD’s University Park and Bradford Elementary Schools: collect food donations, build sculptures, give to the food bank.
Food donations serve as building blocks for an election year-inspired sculpture at UP Elementary. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Torres)
Food donations serve as building blocks for an election year-inspired
sculpture at UP Elementary. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Torres)

The elementary school contests mimic a State Fair of Texas program where design firms compete to build the best sculptures using only cans of food, said Brett Gray, chief marketing officer for NTFB.
For Junior Canstruction, fourth-grade art students submit designs and build a campus sculpture, UP Elementary art teacher Jennifer Torres explained. “We select the winning design based on balance, creativity, and quality of meal; [e.g.], will it require a variety of foods that could make up a good meal.”

William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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