The Portage Lakes Polar Bear Club wants “warm-hearted people willing to freeze their bodies to help kids fight cancer, and keep families together when it matters most” for its Feb. 22 benefit jump at Portage Lakes State Park, 5031 Manchester Road (state Route 93), New Franklin.
Registration will be at noon followed by the 2 p.m. jump. You must raise $25 minimum to register and $100 to receive a T-shirt. You can also register through Feb. 18 at www.PortageLakesPolarBearClub.com.
Donors can also make direct contributions to Camp Quality Ohio (which provides a weeklong free summer camp for children battling cancer and their siblings) or to Ronald McDonald House of Akron (which provides a low-cost residence for out-of-town families with children being treated at Akron Children’s Hospital).
Police donate time
Big, beautiful bouquets to three all-in-the-family police officers who regularly volunteer at Akron’s Helen Arnold Community Learning Center.
To call what they do “over and above” is an understatement, as none of them is an officer in this community.
Meet the Klopfensteins: Sgt. Steve Klopfenstein of Brunswick Hills Police Department, and his sons, Officer Kevin Klopfenstein of Creston police and Officer Brandon Klopfenstein of Marshallville police.
When the funding for police-in-the-schools programs was cut, the Klopfensteins refused to let that deter them from educating students about DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), school safety, anti-bullying techniques and other important programs. They have even brought treats and toys. Two of them recently took two children from the school on the holiday “Shop with a Cop” event.
Given that Brandon has three little ones of his own, including one born 12/12/13, he already has his hands full. Yet he, his father and brother are still willing to make a positive impact on the students at Helen Arnold.
Help for homeless kids
Major kudos to all of the great folks who stepped up to the plate to bring Christmas to homeless children in Akron.
Project RISE (Realizing Individual Strength through Education) staff members “delivered presents, hams and cookies to Akron’s homeless shelters. While they were there, they sang Christmas carols and helped spread holiday cheer around the shelters,” wrote Project RISE child and development specialist Rachel Breece.
Sons of Italy donated 250 presents, Akron Public Schools employees collected 50 gifts and BJ’s Wholesale Club donated 100 Smithfield hams. “Additionally, a local company, which asked to remain anonymous, sponsored five homeless families and also collected gift cards for several more,” Breece noted.
Debra Manteghi, program manager and Akron Public Schools homeless education liaison, said: “Several ‘doubled-up’ families [multiple families living under one roof] also received hams in addition to 50 low-income families in the Findley Community Learning Center area. The hams, weighing nearly 1,000 pounds, were worth about $2,000.”
Also, nearly 950 backpacks with school supplies were donated to Project RISE from Feed the Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness, which were distributed to families living in Akron’s homeless shelters and to doubled-up families.
Help for wounded troops
Hats off to the managers and employees at Akron-based juice processor Country Pure Foods, who donated $30,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project, a national group whose mission is raising awareness and enlisting the public’s help for injured military service members.
CEO Raymond Lee said, “Our military personnel and their families make the greatest personal sacrifice to protect our country so we are able to enjoy the freedoms that we so often take for granted. We wanted our company and our employees to focus on helping real heroes, during the time of their greatest need and to show our appreciation for their service.”
“Through various corporate donations and voluntary drives, the company’s Akron, Ellington (Conn.), DeLand (Fla.), and Houston plants, Country Pure Foods generated nearly $30,000 in contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project,” a Country Pure Foods news release read. “This is in addition to more than $100,000 Country Pure Foods has raised in previous years for the Intrepid Fund, which also focuses on helping wounded military servicemen and women and their families. More than 200 employees or about 54 percent of the company’s workforce contributed to the donation.”
Ganley brightens holidays
Belated thanks to Tom and Ken Ganley and Ganley Auto, which annually adopts families at Christmas. “With the continued support from Ganley dealerships, we were able to adopt 18 families which consisted of 55 children and 21 adults. This was our biggest year,” wrote Lori Gawry, Ganley controller. “All the families had gifts purchased, wrapped and delivered by Ganley employees along with personalized stockings for everyone and a gift card for food to their local supermarket. … These families were all from communities in which the dealerships are located. We received families from local churches, job and family services and the Adopt A Family Association in Parma.
“We had many heartfelt stories this year from grandparents stepping up and taking care of the children, a terminally ill mommy, parents who have lost their jobs, a mom whose husband left her and the children.”
Help the ‘Lunch Lady’
An acquaintance of Peggy Cradlebaugh — a nutrition specialist/“Lunch Lady” for many years at Akron Public Schools — is rallying to get her gas cards for her almost daily travels from Akron to the Cleveland Clinic for chemotherapy.
“I was active in Windemere [Community Learning Center’s] PTA at that time, and everybody knows the lunch ladies, custodians and secretaries run the school. Just kidding, but they are very important,” Jamie Messenger wrote. “Peg is a very quiet person, who I have never seen complain. … She is very attentive, kind and patient with the children. She didn’t ask me to collect donations for her. I just felt like I needed to do something for her.”
Jamie has known Peg since her oldest son, now 20, was in kindergarten.
Encouragement, gas cards and other donations can be sent to: Peggy Cradlebaugh, c/o Jamie Messenger at “Count Your Blessings,” P.O. Box 6634, Akron, OH 44312.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or email@example.com.