After 32 years, the Esther Ryan Shoe Fund continues to be a huge blessing to the Barberton community; specifically its schoolchildren.
The recent Shoe Fund benefit spaghetti dinner drew 540 folks at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, prepared by the Barberton firefighters and with a endless list of community volunteers participating and Ryan providing the meat, plates and napkins. It raised more than $10,300, with all proceeds going to the Magic City Kiwanis/Esther Ryan Shoe Fund.
Ryan, now 86, started the fund while working as a school nurse, doing health screenings and immunizations, reporting child abuse and detecting pregnancies. “Shoes were a necessity then as now,” Esther said during a previous interview. “There were children standing outside the gym waiting for their siblings to finish class to trade their shoes … You had to have gym shoes or you failed the class. Children were also wearing their mother’s shoes because they had none of their own …
“So, I started the shoe fund out of the trunk of my car … I found support in all quarters: the service clubs, churches and residents of the area.”
Now, “we spend every summer buying vouchers for Payless Shoes — about $20,000 worth — for distribution to families to buy school shoes for their children,” Ryan said during a recent interview, adding the need is just that great.
“Over 85 percent of our kids are on free lunches. Over 600 pairs of shoes were purchased before school started.”
Ryan said was particularly blown away by the generosity of third-grader Mya Garcia, who attends school in Wadsworth: “She put up a homemade sign and collected more than 140 pairs of shoes for us.” Those shoes will be donated to other nonprofits in the city.
For more information about the Magic City Kiwanis/Esther Ryan Shoe Fund or to make a donation, please write: P.O. Box 561, Barberton, OH 44203.
Big, beautiful bouquets to Northeast Ohio Medical University’s Oncology Interest Group, which is hosting a “Shave-A-Thon” picnic fundraiser noon to 1 p.m. Monday in the courtyard.
“The event is designed to allow the students to show their support for kids with childhood cancer and spend time with the children and their families from the Akron Children’s Hospital’s cancer ward, who will be on campus for the event,” wrote Heather M. (Bing) Griesbach, NEOMED’s public relations/marketing manager.
On the menu? Games, food and more. “But most importantly some of our brave students and even some faculty members plan to shave their heads/cut their hair during the event to raise money for this cause,” Griesbach continued.
All proceeds go to the Cancer Buddies Program and Akron Children’s Hospital. NEOMED is located at 4209 state Route 44, Rootstown.
A benefit spaghetti dinner is planned for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 4 at the Cuyahoga Falls Moose Family Center No. 918 to assist Terri Hess in her time of need.
Terri — who has been a member of Women of the Moose for 12 years — was recently diagnosed with cancer, and due to radiation and chemotherapy, has been unable to work. Prior to the diagnosis, the 62-year-old worked three jobs. Now bills are mounting.
Planners are seeking gift cards for a “Gift Card Tree” to raffle off. Door prizes (gift certificates or vouchers, oil changes, haircuts, pizzas, manicures and pedicures, a round of golf) welcome too.
Raffle prizes already collected include Bridgestone Invitational tickets, a handmade quilt, Step 2 items, Cleveland Browns football, Coach purse, child’s rocking motorcycle, a smoker, golf packages, LeBron James bobblehead, University of Akron football club seats and more.
Cost of the dinner is $8. The family center is located 4444 State Road, Peninsula.
For more information, please contact Gerri Kapitanovich at 330-983-8915 or email@example.com.
Cherry Blossom Ball
Dream Days — a nonprofit that creates and provides events for children, teens and adults with developmental and physical disabilities and other chronic conditions — is sponsoring “The Cherry Blossom Ball” at 7 p.m. May 8 at the Akron Civic Theatre, downtown Akron.
On the menu? Performances by Opera Per Tutti and Dancing Wheels, a DJ, silent auction, a gourmet catered meal and more. Tickets are $50. For more information or a reservation, please visit www.DreamDaysOhio.org.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or firstname.lastname@example.org