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October 7, 2013

More than expected

Fundraising event for Grace House of Cedar Creek Lake

Athens — The Grace House of Cedar Creek Lake held it's first fundraising banquet Saturday night. According to organizers, the event was more than they expected.

“It's a great success,” said table sponsor April Anderson.

The Grace House is a faith-based transition home for women.

The facility for women operates from private donations and is a 6,000-square-foot structure on 13 acres in Tool. Grace House includes a kitchen and classrooms equipped with computers for training and practice. 

The women who are accepted at Grace House go through a complete interview process. According to Director Penny Sims, the service is free.

“We don't charge anyone, we operate off donations only,” she said.

The mission statement for the facility is, “To give women at-risk the opportunity to overcome destructive lifestyles of addiction, incarceration and poverty.  To provide a protected environment, both physically and spiritually, so that women may grow and mature in their faith and be transformed by the power of God.”

The evening started with Jeff Reynolds, Executive Director of Grace House, welcoming the large, enthusiastic crowd to the Lone Star Ranch in Eustace. Reynolds thanked everyone who helped organize the banquet and who made it successful.

Guest speakers Lori Newton and Carie Goodrich gave their testimony about where they had come from and how a faith-based recovery helped the two women continue with their sober living.  The two women told the crowd of their struggles with drugs and alcohol.

Sims, who has been in recovery for almost six years, gives all the credit to God. Sims said the fundraiser “Was absolutely fabulous.”

“God came through for Grace House,” she said.

The crowd was entertained by country-western artist Jon Rutherford. Kenny Odom auctioned off the live-auction items. The event also hosted a silent auction.

“It was all great,” Sims said.

She said she didn't know the exact figures, but was sure the banquet did well. 

Reynolds, during his welcoming remarks, said, “We reflect on how blessed our organization is to have your generous support. Table sponsors included Tucker Electric, Liberty baptistry, Spencer and April Anderson and family, Brenda Hogue and Shackelford, Hawkins and Searcy, P.C.

Grace House will benefit from Mabank Independent School District hosting a Mabank High School Celebrates Women banquet on Oct. 21 at Cedar Creek Country Club. For ticket information, contact Cris Cary at 903-880-1600, ext. 2131 or e-mail

For information on Grace House, find them on Facebook at

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