Big, beautiful bouquets to everyone from Goodyear and the Marine Reserves involved in the recent “Toys for Tots/Santa Express” at the Wingfoot Lake hangar.
Edward E. Ogden, public relations manager for the Spirit of Goodyear blimp, trumpeted the campaign — now in its third year — as a huge success: “One of the most gratifying parts of this effort is seeing the thrilled looks on the faces of the thousands of people who came through our facility to drop off their gift(s) to the Marines. We are certainly blessed to live in an area of such generosity.”
Here are the stats: 2,336 vehicles participating in the drive-through holiday pageantry; 7,025 toys collected; $10,246 in cash. Over three years, that’s 7,278 vehicles; 19,559 toys; and $26,589 in cash.
New home for holidays
Home for the holidays. That’s where an Akron family, Delicia James and her two sons, will be thanks to Summit County Habitat for Humanity. James has been an employee at Akron Children’s Hospital for 17 years.
The York Street home was dedicated Sunday, with building volunteers, family and sponsors looking on, in a public presentation of the keys and a Bible to the homeowner and a special blessing of the home.
The two-story, three-bedroom James home — supported by the City of Akron Neighborhood Stabilization Program, Wells Fargo Housing Foundation, Summa Health System, Women Build and Zeta Theta Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority — is the last home dedication of the year. Rochelle D. Fisher, president/CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, said there have been nine homes built this year.
“Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry, works in partnership with people in need to improve the condition in which they live,” said Andrea Ehasz, communications manager for the local chapter. “Habitat challenges people of compassion to provide the initial capital, through gifts and no-interest loans, to build simple, decent homes with the inadequately sheltered.” Potential homeowners are required, alongside volunteer builders, to put in scores of “sweat equity” hours on the project.
For more information, please call 330-745-7734 or visit www.hfhsummitcounty.org. Also, please consider shopping at or donating to Habitat’s ReStore, 2301 Romig Road, Akron, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Buy or donate furniture, appliances or other items and help serve more families in Summit County.
Charter One Christmas
I can’t say enough thank yous to all of the volunteers from Charter One bank branches who escorted more than 53 children from ACCESS (an Akron emergency homeless shelter serving women and their children) and J.R. Coleman Family Services (a Canton agency supporting low-income families) on a holiday shopping spree, providing each with a $100 Target gift card.
“Many of us are fortunate enough to experience the excitement and anticipation that comes every year as the holiday season approaches,” said Lynn Budnick, executive director of ACCESS. “Unfortunately, there are thousands of local children who never know that feeling. We are grateful for Charter One’s generosity in helping us provide our youngsters with a magical holiday they will always remember.”
According to Brittany O’Connor, vice president and public affairs manager at Charter One, this is the fifth year Charter One has underwritten the shopping spree. “More than 283 children have participated in the program since 2008,” O’Connor noted.
Ken Marblestone, president of Charter One and RBS Citizens in Ohio, was eager to help: “While many families are facing financial challenges, we hope this opportunity will brighten their holiday.”
Youth team supports kids
Major kudos to the sixth-grade boys travel basketball team at Stow’s Lakeview Intermediate School, which raised $500 to support needy families for Christmas.
The team adopted two families from Summit County Children Services and purchased toys for three boys and one girl.
Funds for this project came from players collecting spare change from family and friends. In addition to purchasing the toys, including extras for the agency’s Holiday Toy Room, the players also wrapped the gifts themselves. “They were very excited to be able to do so much for other children who are less fortunate,” Coach Michael Graham said, adding, “A team is not only one that plays together but also works together to help others and volunteer within the community.”
Pledges sought for gifts
Here’s a message from Rebecca and Steve Boreczky of Medina:
“Steve and I are [going to be elves] for 22 children through the Children’s Center of Medina. There are 10 girls and 12 boys between the ages of 11 and 17. They are sisters and brothers of children who were adopted through the program. Due to triple the requests for help, the agency cut the giving off for the older children and are providing Christmas to the younger children … We can only imagine how difficult that would be on Christmas morning.”
Interested in pledging $5 or $10 to this cause, as soon as possible? Please contact the Boreczkys at email@example.com or 330-725-7590.
Children receive gifts
Big, beautiful bouquets to the Akron/Canton Senior Independence Office, which purchased gifts for 23 children whose parents are clients of the Humility of Mary Life Opportunity Services, as well as soap, detergent, paper towels and other items the families need.
“Humility of Mary Life Opportunity Services serves families trapped in the cycle of homelessness,” Senior Independence spokeswoman Daphne Massaro wrote. “The cycle is broken through transitional housing programs by helping families set goals to gain independence, stability and to reconnect with the community for supportive services, housing and employment … Christmas allows each of us to look at the blessings that we have received throughout the year, and take an opportunity to help those less fortunate. The Akron/Canton Senior Independence staff was proud to have an opportunity to reflect upon the joy of Christmas, and help to fulfill the dreams of others.”
Sonny Sonnhalter, commissary manager with Meals on Wheels of Stark & Wayne Counties, will travel this month to Los Angeles to tape a segment of television’s Good Food, Good Deeds, with actress Fran Drescher. Air time is to be announced. The program airs on RLTV, a cable network geared to people 50 and older and produced in association with Meals on Wheels Association of America, and is hosted by Florence Henderson.
RLTV airs in Stark County on Massillon Cable TV and in Wayne County on Clear Picture Cable.
Message worth delivering
Tallmadge’s Dan Campbell happened upon an interesting find on a recent deer hunting trip in southern Ohio’s Belmont County on McCoy Road: “I was walking through the woods and I found a balloon — red, white and blue — with three messages on it. One of the messages read: ‘Dear Daddy, I miss you so much. I wish you didn’t die because you would be so proud of me for balancing my bike. Happy Father’s Day.’
“The next message read: ‘Daddy, I miss you. So does Mom. I wanted you to see me riding my bike without training wheels. Leah.”
“The final message: ‘Dear Steve, Happy Father’s Day. I love and miss you. I love the sign you sent me. Your wife. Angie.’ ”
Campbell has no idea how far the balloon drifted to land there in the woods, and wonders about the circumstances of Steve’s death. He still has the balloon, hoping he’ll be able to reunite it with its senders.
Eager to donate
Avid column reader Cheryl Barber might just be the holiday elf for someone near:
“I am in the process of cleaning out my parents’ home and found my dad’s hearing aids. Can they repurposed? If so, I would like to donate them.” Interested parties should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or email@example.com.