The three husbands (the late Richard “Moose” Paskert, Jack Urchek and Larry Sisson) who started the “Thanksgiving Brunch Bunch” in 1968 did so because they couldn’t stand the heat in their own kitchens on the holiday morning.
The club has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 45 years and it’s now the place to be on Thanksgiving morning, not just for gents but ladies too. It’s a good time, punctuated with lots of socializing and nonstop, no-calorie laughter. But most importantly it does a world of good, raising more than $375,000 since its inception for various charities.
Members of the planning committee happily brought me up to speed:
“Products, gifts and services donated by local merchants, organizations and community members are auctioned off to the highest bidder to raise money for community charities within Portage County …
“We are pleased to announced that the Brunch Bunch is moving back downtown this year where it all began in 1968. This year’s event will be held at the new Kent State University Hotel & Conference Center, 215 S. Depeyster St., in downtown Kent. We are also excited to welcome our newest partner, the Ben Curtis Family Foundation, which is joining efforts with us to fight hunger for local families in our community.”
Proceeds from the auction will benefit:
• Kent Social Services and Center of Hope Hot Meals & Pantry Programs: Provides meals and pantry items for low-income people in Portage County. Free hot meals offered five days a week, typically serving 50 to 100 individuals per day.
• Coleman Professional Services Adult Day Food Programs: Offers adult health care serving the frail, elderly and other adults who face limited or diminishing physical or cognitive capabilities.
• The Ben Curtis Family Foundation: Provides Ben’s Birdie Bags, backpacks filled with enough food to last a child through a long weekend or other time when school is out and the child may not receive nourishing meals. Ben Curtis is a golfer on the PGA tour who is a Kent State University graduate and area resident.
Admission is $3. So, come and enjoy an endless supply of coffee, apple cider and doughnuts from 8 a.m. to noon, and bid, bid, bid!
Please consider donating a gift basket, gift certificates for products or services, artwork or other items. Monetary donations welcome too. Drop off at the Hall-Green Agency, 146 N. DePeyster St., Kent; or Portage Community Bank, 1311 E. Main St., Ravenna, and 1532 S. Water St., Kent. Call Michelle Hartman at 330-815-4315 to arrange pickup or for questions.
Hats off to this year’s planners: Dick and Jeanne Kotis, Dennis Missimi, Michelle Hartman, Mark Frisone, Nelson Burns, Rick Coe, Kevin Lewis, Connie Bennett, Tom Biltz, Ben and Candace Curtis, Diana Beatty, Sara Beatty, Jackie Parson, Mike Tontimonia, Morgan Goldthwaite, T.N. and Christine Bhargava, Jeff Bentley, Janet Phelps, Victoria Hale, Jennifer Jones, Anne Marie Mann-Noble and Lori Wemhoff.
Cajun Dave’s at the Water Street Tavern is offering 12-pound average, fully cooked smoked turkeys for your Thanksgiving dinner for only $40 with proceeds benefiting the Brunch Bunch. For more information or to place an order (while supplies last), please call Jeanne Kotis at 330-673-5873.
Polar Express ride
The deadline has been extended for parents of seriously or chronically ill children, especially those in palliative care, to get their letters (no emails) to me requesting free tickets for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Polar Express train ride Dec. 14. The trip also is for children of soldiers currently deployed or recently returned from Afghanistan and clients at Hattie Larlham, a residential care center for persons with developmental disabilities. Guardians should honor the new deadline of Nov. 20.
To be considered for the holiday train ride, please send letters profiling your child (9 years or younger) and his or her medical history, or information about the child’s military parent. Include the child’s age, city of residence, a return mailing address, phone number and physician’s name. Mail to: Polar Express, Jewell Cardwell, Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309. This is for first-time riders only.
Walsh University’s Hospitality Program is seeking local host families to help introduce its international students to American life and culture.
The college is not seeking live-in situations for its students, “but rather a way to provide support to an international student through sharing in a range of activities,” wrote Kelly Campbell, director of university relations at Walsh in North Canton. “Host families can include their student in holiday celebrations, provide transportation for shopping and entertainment, attend community events together, or any other activity of interest to both the host and the student. The time commitment, activities and interaction are decided entirely by each individual host/student group.”
The school has more than 65 international students from 31 different countries, Campbell continued. The Office of International Student Services will pair host families with students using criteria in their program applications.
Walsh graduates Ed and Louise Mahoney hosted a student from Afghanistan, Sal Ibrahimy, and Louise Mahoney said, “Sal opened our eyes and our hearts to what experiences he had living and working in Afghanistan. We wanted to offer as many learning and fun experiences as possible, knowing that he would not be able to do many of these on his own.”
Please consider the International Hospitality Program’s invitation to offer these students a real American holiday experience and a glimpse into family life. To apply or for more information, please contact Kristi Campbell at email@example.com.
Programs for women
Yvette McMillan, women’s division director at Akron’s Haven of Rest Ministries, is overjoyed by the response to my column about the homeless shelter for women’s Future Story and Lydia’s Purse programs, where they’re given tools to rebuild their lives:
“We received tons of donated fabric and sewing machines because of the article. They [the clients] were invited to participate in several craft shows. I think five before Christmas … We gained a wonderful volunteer and three additional participants.”
For more information on these programs or others by Harvest Home, the women’s and children’s division of Haven of Rest, please call 330-434-1149.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.