A fun time, bragging rights, prizes and an opportunity to help provide hot meals to our homeless community await you when Akron’s Gennesaret Inc. hosts its 21st annual “Home Run for the Homeless” on Thanksgiving Day.
It’s all happening in West Akron, starting and finishing in front of the Gennesaret’s Family Nutritional Center, 419 W. Exchange St. Akron.
As in the past, Akron’s own Olympic track gold medalist and former world-record holder, Butch Reynolds, will do the one-mile fun run/walk and start the four-mile race. The latter winds through historic Glendale Cemetery.
The race gets under way at 9 a.m., the fun run/walk at 8:30 a.m. Registration is between 7 and 8:45 a.m. Fun run is $2, race is $14 online through Monday or $20 race day. Online registration, with family discounts, is available at www.gennesaret.net.
“After the race, many free door prizes, including gift certificates from popular retailers and restaurants, will be given away to runners,” said Pat Kunklier, spokesman for the event. “Raffle tickets will be sold for unique prizes, such as a Kindle Fire HD ($200 value), Crossfit Readiness Program and more.”
And there’s this added incentive. “The top three male and female finishers in 12 age divisions will win awards,” Kunklier continued. “These first-, second- and third-place finishers also receive a turkey, pumpkin pie and jam, respectively.
First-place male and female finishers in the master (40-49) and grandmaster (50+) age divisions will win awards, too.”
Sponsors include Vertical Runner; Suburban Maintenance and Construction, Summa Health System, Main Street Gourmet, Pepsi, North Akron Savings Bank, Target, Giant Eagle, Pearle Vision, Mustard Seed Market, Papa Joe’s Iacomini’s and the Cheesecake Factory.
Fruit, baked goods and refreshments will be served.
The first 1,200 runners receive a gift. You can bring like-new toys, gently used running shoes and blankets for needy families.
Gennesaret Inc., led by Bob and Mary Dirgo, is an all-volunteer nonprofit that “provides transitional housing to mothers, fathers and their children, and serves hot meals to an average of 600 individuals weekly,” Kunklier said. “Gennesaret is funded entirely from grants and individual contributions and accepts no government financial support. More than 300 volunteers support Gennesaret, from preparing and serving meals, distributing clothing, and picking up donated food items, to developing a Job Skills Training Center and a tutoring program. All race proceeds go directly to serving those in dire financial straits through the Family Nutritional Center and family housing apartments.”
Last year’s event drew nearly 3,800 runners and walkers.
Relief for Sandy
A huge and never-ending round of applause to scores of volunteers who recently loaded up trucks and personal vehicles and traveled in a caravan, with everything from food to clothing to toys, to New Jersey to help those whose lives have been upended by Hurricane Sandy.
The group was led by an interesting group of friends who call themselves “Super Heroes to Kids in Ohio.” They regularly dress up in superhero costumes to visit hospitalized children and those in special needs centers, to put smiles on their faces.
Super Heroes to Kids in Ohio is headed by Brian Chulik of North Ridgeville and friends Scott Smith; Jimmy Myers; Hector Cirilo; Joe Galipolli; Adrienne Costanzo; Kelley and Michael Platt and their son, Tyler; Ricky Gutierrez/Ryan Goimarac; Jeanne Januzzi and her son, Zach Sroka; Brandy Bright; Gene Gothard; Jarrod Hamilton; and Michelle Dean, to name a few.
Benefits for mom of five
“Hope for Heather” is what the benefit for Heather Galioto is being called. But prayers for healing are at the top of everyone’s wish list for this 36-year-old Stow wife and mother of five children, ages 2 to 18.
Heather was diagnosed in October with Stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme, an extremely aggressive form of brain cancer. She has long been dedicated to the Stow community, church functions, the Stow-Munroe Falls High School band and Relay for Life.
The benefit is 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at McDonald’s restaurant, 5020 Darrow Road, Stow, where Heather and Kevin’s oldest son, Michael, is employed and where Heather organized band fundraisers.
Twenty-five percent of sales during those hours will go to the Galioto family. Raffle baskets and a donation box are planned. A Heather Galioto Benevolent Fund has been set up at FirstMerit Bank (any branch).
A second benefit for Heather — “No One Fights Alone" — is planned for Sunday, Dec. 9, at Stow Kent Family Entertainment Center, 3870 Fishcreek Road, Stow.
Kim Christy, one of the event’s planners, calls it a 3-7:30 p.m. open house “with tons of raffle items including bounce houses, kids convertible car, thousands of dollars worth of toys, hotel stays, a large number of gift cards, a 50/50 cash raffle, unlimited bowling, food, soft drinks, baked goods and more.” Cost is $25. Tickets can be purchased at the door or by emailing TeamHeatherG@yahoo.com.
For more information please call 216-346-4243.
‘Carving Out Hunger’
Major kudos to Charter One Bank employees, who through the “Carving Out Hunger” initiative, volunteered Tuesday at Akron Canton Regional Foodbank unloading 932 turkeys they donated in time for Thanksgiving.
“This year, Charter One’s Carving Out Hunger initiative provided $10,000 to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, which will provide 7,886 meals,” said Dan Flowers, president/CEO of the food bank. “Grants to five food banks in Ohio will provide more than 137,000 holiday meals statewide.”
That translated to 150 volunteer hours and $105,000 in grants statewide. To date, Charter One has donated more than $800,000 to the food bank’s mission of fighting hunger.
Customers help kids
A belated hats-off to McDonald’s restaurants across the country, which last week kicked off the annual “Give A Hand” fundraiser to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities and other children’s causes around the world.
Customers purchased paper hands for $1, $3 or $5, and proceeds from the sale of Happy Meals and Mighty Kids Meals went to the charity.
Rosie Perez, RMHC-Northeast Ohio, board chair and McDonald’s owner/operator in Akron, is ever grateful for the customer and employee support, saying that effort has helped tens of thousands of families in Northeast Ohio with seriously ill children.
Winter gift swap
Big beautiful bouquets to the Inner-City Hope Youth Crisis Mission which is hosting its inaugural “2-for-1 Children’s Winter Swap” 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 1, at the City of Akron Fitness Center (Balch Street Gym), 22 S. Balch St., Akron. “Don’t buy it! Don’t sell it! Bring it and swap it!” is the mantra.
Gail Marsh, founder/director of the mission, explains the rules of the day: “For every two winter items you bring, Inner-City Hope Youth Crisis Mission will give you one ticket to swap it for something equal your child may need and give the other ticket to a family with children in need … Your clothes will be inspected and must be gently used and clean; no stain or tears; working zippers; all buttons.”
Clothing is needed in infant, toddler, children’s 7-18, and young adult sizes.
This mission was started by five Akron women known as the Christian Women Affiliates (nonprofit) whose hearts’ desire was to find a way to help children within the city who have experienced a crisis situation with clothing needs.
“Our mission is to become a rescue service and have families referred to us,” Marsh wrote. “The American Red Cross has done that this year by connecting families with us and we have brought them in and loaded them up with items they need per child. We also keep some men’s and women’s clothes handy. We serve families who have experienced a crisis situation such as fire, flood, natural disaster, deprivation or children who have been removed from their homes and placed in a shelter/foster care who need an immediate clothing assistance …
“There is never a fee of any sort. We also provide them with toothbrushes and toothpaste, combs and brushes, shampoo and conditioner, lotion and deodorant,” all provided by donations.
The Dec. 1 event also is an invitation for mothers with children who have outgrown their clothes, shoes, boots, coats and school uniforms to swap for larger sizes.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.