Irving—Each spring, Irving Cares holds a golf tournament to kickoff the Cares Cup tournament. However, this year’s golf tournament was rescheduled as wet conditions on the course were not ideal. Instead, the Irving Cares Karaoke Kickoff at Midori Sushi will serve as the start of festivities until the tournament can be played in October.
The event featured an open bar, food stations and karaoke, attracting a crowd to the small Japanese-themed spot. Guests could bid on several silent action items with the proceeds going to Irving Cares.
Irving Cares’ first in-person event in over a year brought people together on Thursday, June 10.
“After over a year of people being away from each other, people who love each other and enjoy each other’s company who can’t be around each other, to finally have that open up and see these people that you haven’t seen in over a year and to go up and actually give them a hug [is great],” Joyce Ejtminowicz, community event coordinator for Irving Cares, said. “It’s one thing being on Zoom, it’s a very different thing being able to see somebody in person and enjoy being there with them physically and personally.”
Guests were treated to food from Midori Sushi and received entertainment as several brave souls sang karaoke.
Kyle Taylor, CEO of Irving Cares, was among the first to step forward, singing “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks with another guest.
“We had challenges having events,” Taylor said. “We’ve always had a lot of in-person events. A lot of golf tournaments have a kickoff party, and Steve and Midori [the owners of Midori Sushi] have been good friends to Irving Cares for a long time.
“[The owner] is struggling a little bit. We know a lot of restaurants in town have,” Taylor said.
“Irving Cares during this time has come to find there’s a lot more we can do for our community,” Ejtminowicz said. “That means creating programs for job training. We can do that online, and we can do that in person. We also have case managers who can help people if they’re trying to find a job.”
However, as Taylor puts it, the biggest way Irving Cares has been positively impacting the community has been through providing financial assistance to residents for rent and utilities.
“We’re a three-legged stool,” Taylor said. “We do a food pantry, financial assistance, and education/employment. A lot of the non-profits have done a really good job providing meals and food.
“Where we saw the biggest jump in need for Irving Cares services was in financial assistance with rent and utilities. Being able to provide that and have some good conversations with other NPOs [non-profit organizations] in the city, we were able to make sure we got families taken care of that needed taking care of. We’re still seeing families impacted by COVID. We had some rental assistance we’ve provided. We know it’s going to be a marathon, coming out of this.”