The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX


June 10, 2014

Establishing the heart of Hunt County

GREENVILLE — Every two years, the Greenville Follies holds a huge stage production to help raise funds for a local community nonprofit.

While the group has donated thousands of dollars to community service groups with its shows, the 2015 Follies production looks to benefit what will possibly be one of the most impactful community service projects the group has helped fund since its inception: a fully-operational commercial kitchen serving residents from several counties across North Texas.

After hearing presentations from three different nonprofits at a recent board meeting, the Follies decided to partner with Community Seeds to help fund its “incubator kitchen,” which it hopes will incubate business for food entrepreneurs not only in Hunt County, but other communities in the North Texas region.

The kitchen will be located off of U.S. Highway 69 in Lone Oak, and will also feature a store in the front of the building where people can sell the food products they make within the kitchen.

“We’re hoping it will generate a lot of traffic, especially on the weekends when people drive through Lone Oak to go to Canton,” Greenville Follies Board President Mandy Stewart said.

Community Seeds, a 501(c)(3) organization based in Lone Oak, offers programs addressing the multiple factors affecting low income, working poor and underserved families, helping them to live more stable, secure and prosperous lives.

According to Stewart, the project is something totally different from any the group has helped to fund before, mainly due to the fact that the commercial kitchen will be located outside of Greenville.

“This will give us the chance to reach outside of the Greenville community,” Stewart said. “Community Seeds serves a large number of Greenville residents, so it’s a win-win situation.”

Stewart said on average the Greenville Follies has been able to donate around $50,000 from each production to nonprofit organizations within the community.

The kitchen will offer classes and training for residents wishing to learn the culinary arts, and will serve as a place for residents to make canned and packaged food products without having to worry about meeting certain health standards and food regulations.

“This will actually be a commercial kitchen, meeting all the standards of local health authorities, so that people can produce whatever kind of product that they are interested in selling,” said Mary Sue Cole, an Extension agent for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service of Hunt County. The project has been in the works for nearly 10 years, and has attracted the interest of multiple groups, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which funded a $99,000 grant for the cause.

Even with that grant, Cole said she knew they would need more money in order to get the kitchen up and running, and she was very grateful for the Follies’ generous offer to donate.

“Getting the Follies grant was a wonderful thing,” Cole said. “Not only will their support go toward benefiting the whole county, but it will give us more visibility and the opportunity to market the idea to the community.”

Shannon Foltz, a member of Community Seeds and owner of the future Just Pie shop in Greenville, said the kitchen will help generate income for those trying to make food products at home, as well as providing guidance on the ins and outs of the food industry.

“It’s amazing what you can do in a kitchen,” Foltz said. “A kitchen is the heart of every home, and so for us this project will be the heart of Hunt County.”

Foltz, who helped design the layout of the kitchen, said it will be large enough to accommodate multiple stations for people to work on making their food products while also leaving enough space for the packaging and production processes.

Foltz added that with the commercial kitchen would come “endless possibilities” of ways to serve communities in the region, including the idea that the kitchen could be used to provide food during disasters or other types of emergency situations.

Community Seeds will also tag some of the more popular products with the Follies logo, and a percentage of the sales of those products will go toward a Greenville Follies scholarship fund for students wishing to pursue careers in culinary, theater and other types of arts.

“That was very exciting for the Follies because no one has ever offered them that before,” Foltz said.

The kitchen will be the first USDA-funded commercial kitchen in Texas.

The Greenville Follies held its first fundraising production in 1987, and has since helped raise well over $600,000 for local nonprofits.

Last year’s production benefited the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Texas to build an outdoor learning center at the Reecy Davis Center on Lee Street.

Its next production will be directed by Jaime Donegan, and feature comedy, dancing, singing and a few other special acts.

For more info about the Follies, visit its website at

Those wishing to make a donation to Community Seeds for its commercial kitchen project can visit its website at


Text Only
  • Beekeepers.jpg Using combs for their curly hair

    Two little 7-year-old Hunt County twins are the sweetest girls around, and they have the honey to prove it.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Children’s Hope coming to county

    Emma Casselton worked for the state of Texas as a foster adoption specialist for 16 years, facilitating more than 1,000 adoptions of local children.

    July 11, 2014

  • IMG_0178.jpg Pastor reflects on 30 years serving Commerce church

    A congregation tends to reflect the views of its pastor.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Father's_Day_1.jpg A short history of Father's Day

    There are more than 70 million fathers in the United States today. 

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7 Sunday Follies_Brunch_story.jpg Establishing the heart of Hunt County

    Every two years, the Greenville Follies holds a huge stage production to help raise funds for a local community nonprofit.

    June 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Preston_Tarrant.jpg Parents hope Greenville can help give Preston a lift

    Before the parents of 11-year-old Preston Tarrant received the news that their son had a form of muscular dystrophy, they weren’t even aware that any such disease existed.

    May 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • CM_Angela_Franklin_2-1.jpg Making a career out of volunteerism

    Angela Franklin is a wife, a mother and a grandmother, but she could also be considered a cheerleader for volunteerism in the Greenville area.

    May 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Birthing_Center_sign.jpg At local birthing center, it is Mother’s Day every day

    The structure sits in the middle of a quiet residential neighborhood not far from downtown Greenville.
    If not for the sign in front advertising the home as “The Baby Place Birthing Center”, anyone passing by would likely have no idea that it is a facility where mothers come to deliver their children.

    May 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pastor_Ratliff_feature.1.jpg A promise fulfilled

    A little more than 30 years ago, as he was crossing the bridge over Lake Ray Hubbard, Senior Pastor Roger Ratliff of Vansickle Baptist Church received a calling from God, reminding him to fulfill a promise he had made years earlier to join the ministry.

    April 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scott_Stegall.jpg Army veteran opens medical facility in Cooper

    When Physician Assistant Scott Stegall first relocated to the Cooper Community Health Center from his practice in Commerce, he knew setting up a family medical clinic in the small, rural community with limited resources would present a challenge.

    April 25, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads

Does Dallas head coach Jason Garrett need for the Cowboys to make the playoffs during the 2014 football season to keep his job?

Who knows with Jerry Jones as owner?
     View Results
Must Read

See more photos and purchase prints here.

AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide