Ten Years in the Community

By Rebecca S. Jones

Celebrating Ten Years with Acres of Angels

HOUSTON – Over a decade ago, native Houstonian, Edna Griggs, was divinely-inspired to establish an initiative which would bring awareness to youth regarding the effects of diabetes. Being a victim of the disease, Edna strongly believed if she could build a network which educated children on good eating habits and other preventive measures, it would greatly decrease the chance of diabetes developing in the youth. From a genuine desire to create a health-conscious perspective, her non-profit organization, Acres of Angels has emerged into a charity dedicated to, organizing community events, enrichment activities and informative seminars which empowers the Greater Houston area and surrounding communities.

Acres of Angels: A Decade of Service to the Community

Mardi Gras Party

In the inception of Acres of Angels, Edna began hosting Mardi Gras parties at the Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local Union Hall. At the time, she was a veteran employee of AT&T and member of the CWA Local Union 6222. McKinney Management, the financial advisors for CWA Local Union 6222 and local electoral candidates were sponsors for the first several years of the event. A great portion of the proceeds from this annual function was donated to Texas Children’s Hospital.

Annual Diabetes Walk

After dedicating 42-years of service to AT&T, Edna retired and immediately began expanding the reach of Acres of Angels. She organized a Diabetes Walk at Lincoln City Park located at 979 Grenshaw, 77088, which takes place every March. For six years, residents, leaders and elected officials from various communities and vendors, health professionals and a host of other participants have gathered in its support.

Over the years, the Walk has grown to include: Zumba, line dancing and free blood pressure and diabetes screenings. The primary objective of the Diabetes Walk is to convey that, “diabetes can be prevented or maintained through proper diet and exercise.” Aside from hosting the Walk, Acres of Angels remains passionate and committed to visiting the elderly and youth populations to ensure they have the proper resources available to live a comfortable, healthy and productive life.

Women’s Empowerment Summit

In traveling to various sites and communicating with residents, Edna found there was a disconnect between the community and political arena. Due to her track record of being involved with the political climate of Houston since she was 16; Edna was determined to create a forum to bridge the gap. Therefore, she organized the Women’s Empowerment Summit. For the last five years, Acres of Angels has hosted the Summit which occurs in January. The event is held at Lone Star College – Victory.

Senior Gala

Within the last few years, Acres of Angels has incorporated a Senior Gala into its calendar of events. The gala is a collective banquet which is free for elderly residents who reside at the six locations Edna frequents including: Pepper Tree Manor, Chelsea Senior Community, Palisades of Inwood, Historical Oaks of Allen Parkway, Independence Heights and Primrose. The gala is held at Astonishing Hall by Dre.

During our interview, Edna explained the significance of hosting these types of functions for seniors in the community by offering the following. “Once I retired, I decided to start going to see what the seniors were doing. I started visiting different senior living facilities and socialized and played Bingo with them. In the process, I found out many of them have no help and are suffering from depression in a different way. A lot of them don’t know how to pay their bills and eat all at the same time. They would tell me how their rent was going up and no one was giving them any answers as to why… Some of them were being evicted because they couldn’t afford rent… There are also those who have no one and don’t get out and feel like they are prisoners in their own homes. So, I felt like if I could have something for them to mix and mingle and get out and have a good time, it would help them feel better. We go all out, and we try to make them feel like kings and queens. They have a photo booth, good food, dancing and socializing and they really love it.”

In addition to hosting the Senior Gala, Edna is constantly seeking out different projects and sponsoring trips for seniors to participate in. Just last month, she took a group to visit the state Capital with State Representative Jarvis Johnson. She also gathered a crowd of seniors to accompany her to the Acres Home Chamber for Business & Economic Development’s April Monthly Networking Luncheon. The chamber had Mr. Mark Thiele, the Senior Vice President of the Housing Authority as the keynote speaker and Edna wanted to give the seniors the opportunity to meet and direct their concerns to the Housing Authority’s VP. To that regard, Edna also often brings candidates for public office to meet with the seniors and the community to give them the opportunity to engage with one another. Tentatively, Acres of Angels has planned an outing for the seniors at the Houston Zoo.

Edna is appreciative for the many sponsors who have supported the Acres of Angels cause over the years. She expressed a special word of gratitude to: Acres of Angels, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Mayor Sylvester Turner, State Rep. Jarvis Johnson, Council Members Amanda Edwards, Jerry Davis and David Robinson, Judges Stephen Kirkmon and Maria Jackson and the 17 Black female judges that was just recently elected into office.

Ten Year Appreciation

On June 2, the Acres of Angels will be celebrating their 10th Anniversary through Gospel. The celebration will be held at He Heard My Cry Christian Fellowship under the leadership of Pastor Claude Cummings, II. For more information about the event contact or to donate to the Acres of Angels cause contact Edna Griggs at, Ednagriggs@sbcglobal.net.

About the Founder

Edna Griggs hails from Acreage Homes. She is a community and political activist for youth, women, the elderly and minorities. Activism runs deep in her blood, as her mother and grandmother taught her by example to embrace the “Golden Rule” (Do unto others as you would have them do to you). Her mother was a nurse and political activist, who found job placement for men in Harris County years ago. Her grandmother was an entrepreneur who operated a business in the community. Edna declares, “My grandmother and mother was feeding, housing and taking care of people before homeless was ever a word…”

In addition to being the Founder of Acres of Angels, Edna is also CEO of Edna’s Social and Charity Club (The Rebirth). This was an organization originally birthed by her grandmother in the 50’s. It was designed to help people build self-esteem and for those living in poverty. Since retirement, Edna has remained committed to working in and for the community through Acres of Angels. She acknowledges her role is a calling and is dedicated to fulfilling her commitment. Furthermore, she has been blessed with twin daughters, Shauna Jones and Shaunte Walton; a son, Milton Jones all of whom are shadowing her footsteps in community activism.

Edna has been a member and held several positions at various organizations and associations. She is a Chief Steward, Legislative Committee Member and Executive Board Member with Communication Workers of America; and a member of: HBAD, Texas Democratic Women, Metro Coalition of Labor Women and the Acres Home Chamber for Business & Economic Development. She is also involved with AT&T Community Net, AT&T Women Group, AT&T Pioneers, City of Houston Commission Board and is very much involved with the American Heart Association and Project Power, a committee created by American Diabetes Association to educate African-Americans about the danger of diabetes.

To date, Edna has received numerous distinguished awards from: Council Members Jarvis Johnson, Jerry Davis and Mayors Lee P. Brown, Bill White, Annise Parker and Sylvester Turner and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee just to list a few.

Photo credit: Edna Griggs