It’s easy to get caught up in the headlines announcing yet another violent Lake Highlands-area apartment crime. The cry, “What are we doing about this blight on Lake Highlands?”, or versions of it, rings out (verbally or in the comments section) with each new police report.

But a closer look reveals that multiple charities and faith-based groups in our neighborhood are working hard to assist and advocate for those apartment residents who need a boost.  Food, medical care, after-school tutoring, financial education, spiritual guidance and more are available to apartment residents, thanks to volunteers and organizations making a genuine attempt to improve lives— Episcopal Church of the Ascension, The New Room (from Lake Highlands United Methodist), Lake Highlands Improvement District, to name a few, are big players in this effort.

Healthy foods: Danny Fulgencio

Healthy foods: Danny Fulgencio

To this end, the aforementioned groups along with assistant city attorney Patrick Sanders, will host the second annual Community of Hope Healthy Lifestyles event this Saturday, Oct. 12 in the Skillman Crossing shopping center (Whitehurst west of Skillman) from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

The purpose of the event is to raise awareness and to educate people about food — about how to eat healthy, in a way that will prevent obesity and related illnesses, and how to find and utilize social and charity food programs.

We want people to improve their lives, educate themselves, get jobs, be good and involved parents — but, as organizer Dabney Dwyer points out, some of these basic responsible tasks and behaviors are tough to carry out when you are hungry or ill. Food, shelter, safety — these needs must be met first. Then we build on them, she notes.

Many neighborhood businesses and organizations will be involved in this weekend’s event — Watermark Church, YMCA, Kids-U, the DFW Truck Farm, Dallas Fire-Rescue, Salsa Sabor Salude, Cici’s Healthy Pizza, children’s author Carol Brickell, to name a few — and there will be healthy cooking demonstrations, fitness expos, gardening sessions, face painting, music and more. It is shaping up to be an impactful event.

More than just offering services, Dabney says she wants events like this to bridge the gap between apartment dwellers and homeowners. It is free and open to all.