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GraceWorks Celebrates Record-Breaking Contributions and Attendance at Annual Neighboor Serving Neighboor Dinner

GraceWorks Celebrates Record-Breaking Contributions and Attendance at Annual Neighboor Serving Neighboor Dinner

A record-breaking crowd contributing more than $400,000 enjoyed the 2023 annual GraceWorks’ Neighbor serving Neighbor dinner.

GraceWorks received a record-breaking $400,000 at its annual Neighbor serving Neighbor dinner presented by Gresham Smith and Atmos Energy last week.

A total of 570 guests answered the call to help GraceWorks plant seeds of hope in the lives of struggling families by contributing the largest sum in GraceWorks’ 28-year history.

“GraceWorks has always been blessed by the support of our community, but this generosity is overwhelming,” said GraceWorks CEO Valencia A. Breckenridge. “We currently are experiencing unprecedented requests for help from our Food, Shelter and Support programs, and we are grateful our community has responded to this urgent need. A true example of our Neighbor serving Neighbor mission in action!”

Guests walked through art displays showing the impact of GraceWorks Food, Shelter and Support programs, enjoyed a silent auction, and cocktails from Company Distilling and Jack Daniel’s during the cocktail hour. The inaugural Young Professional’s Balcony sponsored by Oversite and Elliot Davis welcomed 45 local young professionals into a more casual balcony experience to enjoy the program with the 550 guests seated on the main floor.

GraceWorks CEO Valencia A. Breckenridge greets guests at the annual Neighbor serving Neighbor dinner.

Bill Reeves, former CEO of Educational Media Foundation and K-LOVE Radio, served as emcee at the event as an expression of personal endorsement for the work of GraceWorks. After sharing the stage with Rodney Chester, CEO of Gresham Smith, and Christiana Christiansen, Manager of Public Affairs for Atmos Energy Corporation, Bill Reeves introduced GraceWorks’ CEO Valencia A. Breckenridge by summarizing the growth of GraceWorks during her 6-year tenure.

During Breckenridge’s first year, GraceWorks served 9,700 Neighbors. Last year, GraceWorks served 13,000 Neighbors.  With more financial needs of Neighbors on the line, she successfully led efforts to increase revenues from 4.7 million to 8.6 million, along with growing staff from 35 to 51 positions, all while decreasing overhead from 18.6% to 11%.

Breckenridge shared a summary of GraceWorks and stories of impact before guests watched a video of Stephanie, who had only a couple of cans of beans and noodles in her pantry when she came to GraceWorks in 2010. Volunteers packed her trunk and back seat full of food. Her business took off shortly after that visit. She never had to come back, but she’s never forgotten the love she found there.

“I remember nights when I put my children to bed, praying, ‘God, do you see me?’ … I don’t think I have ever been so impacted by something in my life the way GraceWorks impacted me,” Stephanie said in the video. “I was in desperate need, desperate need. I’m so thankful for GraceWorks.”

The event also included the first Neighbor serving Neighbor Award given to Darrell Waltrip for his 11 years of leading the Drive Away Hunger Challenge. The annual event partnering with schools in Williamson County has provided more than 1.4 million pounds of food for local nonprofits, including GraceWorks.

While Waltrip has received awards, national and otherwise, a local award is the most memorable, he said.

“You don’t forget about an award like this,” he said. “It’s our local community. It serves all people. It’s what tonight is all about. It’s about coming together, being teammates and helping those who need it.”

“While you can get a lot of awards – national and otherwise – it is the local awards you remember the most. I am going to remember this one,” Waltrip said while accepting the award.

GraceWorks is a Christ-centered nonprofit community resource center. Founded in 1995, the organization has provided Food, Shelter and Support for Neighbors in need.

Last fiscal year, GraceWorks fulfilled the needs of an unduplicated 13,517 neighbors. Each received an average of six resources. Year to date, GraceWorks has served 610 more families than last year, a 19% increase.

At the event, guests learned how a gift of $4,000 would provide access to everything a family of four can receive at GraceWorks for one year, including: 12 carts of food, 84 weekend Fuel Bags for children, 1 rent/mortgage assistance payment, 3 utility bill payments, 1 car repair payment, essential supplies for a newborn, clothing and furniture vouchers, 8 counseling sessions, Christmas gifts for the children, gas gift cards, and more.

More information about GraceWorks’ services is available at

To watch the video of Stephanie, go to

To give today, go to