Saturday was a huge step in the efforts to fight domestic violence. East Texas Crisis Center and Family Peace Project both held events to raise funds for Henderson County women and children in need. Around 400 people came to show their support between the two events.

Family Peace Project Designer Purse Bingo

It was a packed house at the Common Area Market as ladies came out to play bingo and win a nice hand bag donated by area boutiques. By the end of the event around 150 people came to support the cause and play bingo.

“We anticipated at least 75 people due to us only selling 35 to 40 pre-sale tickets, but God showed up!” Cynthia Robles, director of shelter services stated.

The event took place Saturday afternoon with live music provided by Bart Cannon and Michael Hannigan acting as emcee and calling bingo.

“We appreciate everyone,” Robles stated. “We only had four weeks to prepare, KLVQ aired us weeks prior to the event and it was a huge success!”

Robles said there were so many sponsors to thank, some including Salty Llama Boutique, Jana’s Boutique, Cedar Lake Nursing Home, Cedar Lake Home health and Hospice, Bella Leer Designs, Athens Farmers Market and the Common Area Market.

The numbers are not in yet, but Robles said they feel as if it went extremely well.

FPP is the counties only emergency temporary shelter. They have helped nine new families in 2020 with shelter, transportation to school and work, and to reestablish apart from their abuser. The program is six months and offers shelter and a routine to rebuild their lives.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, please call the Family Peace Project shelter hotline 903-677-9177.

FPP is currently looking for monthly sponsors to aid in operating costs of the two shelters. If you are interested in helping FPP or donating, please visit The Family Peace Project, Inc. on Facebook or mail it to PO Box 1723, Athens, TX 75751.

ETCC Wine and Cheese a huge success

The Wine and Cheese Gala, ETCC’s largest fundraiser of the year was a huge success. Della Cooper, Outreach Coordinator, was unable to attend the event due to a family emergency, but her staff went above and beyond to ensure success of the event. The planning committee included Carolyn Welch, Judy Seaton, Kelly Ornelas, Lindsey Little, Lisa Pryor, Lourdes “Maria” Guevara, Peggy Rhodes, Ruby Smith and Traci Klink

Many hours of hard work were put into the event leading up to it, with local businesses generosity evident by the incredibly diverse selection of silent and live auction items. Equally generous were the people attending who bid on the items.

Local wineries and breweries were the stars making a collaborative effort to create an assortment of wine. 3P’s in a Vine, Castle Oaks Winery, Cedar Creek Brewery, Cannon Creek, Green Goat, and White Fox.

Each winery was able to speak at the event and donated wine for the attendees to enjoy. Roger Littleton of Castle Oaks Winery, Athens, said it was important for the community to understand the local wineries work together and support one another.

“The wineries are not in competition, we encourage people that come to ours to go visit others in the area,” Littleton said.

Rae Priestly of 3P’s in a Vine spoke on ETCC serving such a vital need in the community. Each winery and brewery in attendance held a passion for the cause.

Big Red School House and Event Center is the largest event host in the area and held all of the attendees comfortably. Bad 2 da Bone Barbecue catered and Jon Kessler of Two Danes Productions emceed. Kessler, after hearing of Coopers situation, went above and beyond to help ensure the event flowed efficiently and held a positive vibe. Treehouse cupcakes provided dessert. Peggy Rhodes contributed wine and cheese.

“I am overwhelmed by the compassion I see. I am so in awe.” Cooper stated. “The Wine and Cheese Gala is what it is due to the hard work and dedication of both staff and sponsors,”

Cooper went on to say that she was very moved by the extreme support.

Several awards were given including:

Philanthropist of the year: Summer Derrick of Door Controls USA Inc.

Business of the year: Mike Mayo of REI Utility and Charlie Tidmore of Tidmore’s Storage.

Hope Awards: Co. Judge Wade McKinney and Shelli Parker

Five Years of Service: Valerie Williams, Athens Army Navy & Pawn, 3 P’s in a Vine, White Fox Vineyards, Castle Oaks Vineyards and Cedar Creek Brewery.

ETCC wished to give a special thanks to numerous sponsors, donors and others that made the event a success. They will be posted online at

“Thank you to everyone that sponsored, and continue to support this organization and event,” Cooper said.

ETCC has helped over 300 victims in 2020 so far with all aspects of assistance from exit preparation, fleeing the situation and helps follow through with resources throughout the legal process.

If you are in need of help, or want to volunteer or donate to this organization, please contact them at 903-675-2137 or go to

Special Thanks for Purse Bingo:

Common Area Market

Athens Farmers Market

Michael Hannigan

Bart Cannon


Salty Llama, Cedar Lake Nursing Home and Home Health and Hospice

Balla Leer Designs, and Jana's Boutique.

Roxy's photo booth

Special Thanks for Wine And Cheese Gala:

Planning Committee:

-Carolyn Welch

-Judy Seaton

-Kelly Ornelas

-Lindsey Little

-Lisa Pryor

-Lourdes “Maria” Guevara

-Peggy Rhodes 

-Ruby Smith 

-Traci Klink

Special Thanks:

Kayla Glidewell

Mark Justice

Samantha Mayer

Shelly Robertson

Sam Mayer

Two Danes Productions (Della said they needed a bit higher recognition and text you about that)

Sheriff Botie Hillhouse

Billy Buford

Bad 2 Da Bone BBQ

Big Red Schoolhouse & Community Center

Henderson County Sherriff Department

Athens Police Department

Treehouse Cupcakes & Frozen Treats

Two Danes Productions

Cappie McBeth

Kim Horton

Quality Suites Near Cedar Creek Lake—Nina Watkins

Platinum Cottages—Mick Maldonado

Madison Brooke Photography

Erin Powell Photography

Peggy Rhodes

Judy Seaton

Lourdes “Maria” Guevara 

Ruby Smith 

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