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Thanks for the local support

Serve Denton’s victory in the WFAA Project Green “$20K to a Better Way” program will net the nonprofit organization a nice contribution, but the support shown by local residents may be the most satisfying part of the entire effort.

The contest, sponsored by WFAA-TV and Chevrolet, gave an open invitation to nonprofits in WFAA’s viewing area to submit “green” ideas and improvements to help the environment. Serve Denton officials won with their proposal for solar panels and appliances to be installed at their pilot project, the Wheeler Center, which will open in November.

The Wheeler Center will house a nonprofit health clinic, rent-free offices for four nonprofit organizations in need of affordable space and a shelter for women and children.

Serve Denton won the contest by “getting out the vote,” calling on supporters to go online and show their support for the project.

“This is really the success of Denton as a community,” said Pat Smith, secretary for the Serve Denton board of directors. “We had churches, schools, cities from all over Denton County, nonprofits in those communities ... we had people as far off as London, France, Kenya and Japan voting for us. That is very encouraging to get that support.”

Kayce Strader, Serve Denton’s director of development, said the local agency was behind in votes last week, but thanks to a big weekend push, got more votes and ended up winning by a thousand.

“Even though we’re a smaller population area, people really supported us strongly,” Strader told us. “You can really tell our community cares about our nonprofit and cares about people in need. They posted it on Facebook, passed out fliers, sent e-mails — they really got the word out. It is such an honor not only to win but to have so much support from the community to bring that out.”

We agree, and we’d like to thank everyone who took time to vote for the local project. Due to the outpouring of support, Serve Denton will be able to help a lot of people.

Smith said the organization asked for $11,800 but is going to receive $15,000.

“We’re going to look at other green initiatives we can do in terms of recycling, teaching. ... We’re going to deepen the spirit of what the funds were intended, and leverage as much as we can.”

Strader said the solar panels and appliances will allow the four nonprofits in the Wheeler Center to save money because the panels will produce enough electricity to help reduce utility costs.

“That money, instead of paying bills, can go directly to the people they are there to serve,” Strader said.

The appliances will be installed in the center’s shelter for women and children and will help create a great home environment for those mothers and children in the transitional program from homelessness to stability, Strader said.

The plan is to have the projects installed by November.

Serve Denton’s victory is good news, indeed, and the benefits will be felt far into the future.

Thanks again for helping to make it possible.