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Q & A with Helping Hands Volunteers Kendra Jones and Christi Foster

Festival of Trees Gala set for Nov. 23

(ROCKWALL, TX – Oct. 6, 2019) The fall season may be in full swing, but Helping Hands of Rockwall is already gearing up for its biggest fundraiser and one of the most exciting holiday events of the year – the Festival of Trees! The 10th annual event spans two days (Nov. 22-23) and will see the Hilton at The Harbor come to life with a dazzling display of Christmas trees decorated by local businesses and organizations.

The holiday festival also includes a live auction, raffle, and lots of holiday entertainment. The Festival of Trees Gala, presented this year by Rockwall Dermatology, takes place on Saturday, Nov. 23. Making a return this year is the 4th Annual Lunch & Style Show on Friday, Nov. 22. Introduced in the 2016 Festival of Trees, this ladies luncheon and fashion show has seen a tremendous growth in attendance every year and has become a signature event of the holiday fundraiser for Helping Hands.

Kendra Jones, Melody Hail, Christi Foster

Blue Ribbon News is pleased to shine the spotlight on two ladies who have dedicated countless hours of their time and expertise to make the Festival of Trees and fashion show such a success each year – Kendra Jones and Christi Foster.

Tell us about your professional background.

Kendra: Before moving to the area, I was a florist in a family owned flower shop.  For the last 18 years, I have been a stay at home mom to three children, but have continued to take on event planning and design projects both big and small within the school district and with various local non-profit agencies.

Christi: I was previously in real estate development for many years prior to running a gift store with my husband Robert in Forney. Around 18 months into that, we went into women’s clothing and later opened up Groovy’s here in Rockwall 13 years ago.

How did you first become involved with volunteering for Helping Hands?

Kendra: I have volunteered with Helping Hands for approximately nine years.  Knowledge of Helping Hands came from my time as a member of Rockwall Women’s League – part of our fundraising responsibility as members is to raise money for a long-standing grant to the Health Clinic of Helping Hands.

Christi: We’ve always donated remaining inventory items and things like that to Helping Hands, but I would say I became more heavily involved with them about five years ago.

What all do you do as a volunteer for Helping Hands? Are you involved in any other local organizations?

Kendra: I serve on the Board of Directors at Helping Hands and have had the honor of chairing the Festival of Trees event for the past five years.  My volunteer duties include planning and executing decor and audio-visual details with an overall task of creating a festive atmosphere to honor our donors.  I am also an associate member of Rockwall Women’s League and a past member of National Charity League.

Christi: I style all of the models for the Lunch & Style Show from the Helping Hands Boutique and Groovy’s. I also help put together the fashion show, the runways and the script for the fashion show. Kendra and I work alongside each other getting it all set up, usually the night before. I do a lot of the decorating of the showcase trees for the festival with Kendra as well. I’m also the vice president of the Rockwall Downtown Merchants Association.

What do you love about volunteering for Helping Hands?

Kendra: I love having the opportunity to volunteer with Helping Hands because the agency as a whole reminds me of all that is important in life – compassion, care and kindness. Each employee and each volunteer display these traits on a daily basis.

Christi: When I was first approached by my friend Melody Hail with Helping Hands about doing the fashion show for the Festival of Trees Luncheon, my first reaction was, absolutely yes, anything for Helping Hands! And it’s also my passion, because that’s what I do for a living. I find it the most challenging thing, but it’s also the most rewarding when you finally see the show come together.

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