ENNIS – The Champions Club at the Texas Motorplex was turned into a swing fling Saturday night. The occasion was a gala sponsored by Meals-on-Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties for its annual fundraiser.
Entering the club, guests were greeted to the music of a swing big band playing the music of the 1940s and 1950s. As the band played the old favorites, a troupe of swing dancers recreated the steps and swings of dances that were common more than 50 years ago.
Many of the guests were dressed in costume typical of the era. Men in striped suits, suspenders and a favorite fedora hat were with their dates, who wore hats, print dresses and shoes of the period.
Amy Johnson, agency director of development, said this is the sixth year for the benefit and the second for the 1940s style theme.
“Last year, we had a lot of fun and many of the members and guests enjoyed dressing up and going back in time,” she said.
During the program, there were several presentations where re-enactors told the history of current Ellis County residents now served by Meals-On-Wheels. One gentleman, remembering his days as a farmer in rural Ellis County, talked about the crops he raised and feeding the guests at his farm.
“One of those was Bonnie and Clyde Barrow. They seemed like real nice folks. I’m now 94 and Meals-on-Wheels allows me to live an independent lifestyle. I welcome their knock on the door,” the re-enactor said.
Telling about the life of Meals-on-Wheels recipient Lucifer Mosley, another re-enactor went through her life on a cotton farm in rural Ellis County, describing how she raised her family and her life trials.
“It’s been a struggle but it’s not as hard now since Meals-on-Wheels has become a major part of my life,” the re-enactor said, telling about the help received from the service.
Johnson said the organization’s goal was to raise $55,000 through the event’s donations and sponsorships to feed the needy of Ellis County.
“We currently serve 324 meals a day, delivered Monday through Friday plus weekends,” she said.
Among the more than 200 guests was Congressman Joe Barton, R-Arlington/Ennis, who was joined by several members of his family. The Joe Barton Family Foundation was among several sponsors.
“While I’m normally busy out of town, I get down here to help deliver meals at least a couple times a year,” he said, noting his foundation is trying to raise $500,000 to help build a new kitchen for the organization.
Numerous other county and city officials also attended the fundraiser.
Paula Baucum, board chairman, thanked the different sponsors, going through the cost of feeding a person for a week, a month, a year.
“We not only need money donations, we need your help delivering to those we serve,” she said.
The Corsicana Swing Orchestra provided the evening’s music. Providing the dance entertainment was the Fort Worth Jitterbugs and Inspiration Inc. Arts in the Community. The dinner was catered by Eddie Dean’s.