A very special nod to the magical Elves and More of Northeast Ohio, who continue to be such a giant blessing to low-income children in the Akron community.
Here’s a bit of the group’s history as shared by board member Carla Sibley:
“Elves and More Northeast Ohio is made up of a community of volunteers whose sole intent is to bring hope and joy to children living in poverty within our communities during the Christmas holiday season. … What makes us unique is that unlike typical adopt-a-family programs, which only select individual families, our model adopts entire neighborhoods so that every child living within the selected neighborhood(s) receives a Christmas gift; nobody gets left out. In addition, the identity of the selected neighborhood is kept secret until we arrive to hand out the gifts, therefore truly making it a surprise unlike any other and becoming the ‘elves’ in our name. Elves and More is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, in existence these past six years.
“Co-founders are Brian Miner and Tim House — friends and cycling enthusiasts who started Elves and More to give children the opportunity for mobility and a ‘view’ past their front doors and porches to the world of opportunity that helps a positive future!
“It is our hope that later in life, these same children grow up and decide to give back to the community in which they were raised, and that we are hoping to start a cycle of caring and giving that repeats itself, generation after generation,” Sibley continued. “And, of course, the added bonus is the introduction to a healthier lifestyle through cycling. …
“We have many partners in addition to our volunteer community who support both the ‘build and delivery’ efforts, including Akron Public Schools, SafeKids.org/Akron Children’s Hospital, Summa Foundation, city of Akron, Akron first responders — police/fire, ConWay Trucking, Boys & Girls Club, and many, many more.”
Members of the young leaders program developed by the Boys & Girls Club of the Western Reserve will help with putting the bikes together.
Santa needs help
William Dieterle could easily be mistaken for Santa Claus, and with good reason.
Not only does his daughter Jordan — a resident of Middlefield and a senior biology major at the College of Wooster — feel that way, but so do those on his gift list.
Jordan is one of his elves, working in his Santa’s Hide-A-Way Hollow, a nonprofit through which volunteers visit terminally ill children in hospitals and private homes to celebrate what could be their final Christmas.
William Dieterle began the charity more than 30 years ago, writes John Finn, director of public information at the College of Wooster. “His frequent business trips when [Jordan] Dieterle was a child led her to believe that he was actually visiting the North Pole. By the time she was 4 years old, she was helping prepare her dad (a.k.a. Santa) for his visits by wrapping presents for the children he would stop to see. Her parents decided that she was emotionally ready to serve as an ‘elf’ when she was in eighth grade, even though most don’t begin to visit children until they are in high school or college.”
Parents often ask doctors to delay a scheduled surgery until after they have had a chance to spend time with Santa, Jordan Dieterle said. That’s how big a deal this is to them.
Fellow senior and elf volunteer Maggie Roberts is hosting a three-day fundraiser to support Santa’s Hide-A-Way Hollow, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday on the first floor of Lowry Center, 1189 Beall Ave., College of Wooster. The student-run event includes a toy drive, holiday-themed food items, T-shirt sales and an opportunity to write letters to Santa.
Angel Tree program
Victim Assistance Program will host its 18th annual “Angel Tree Ceremony and Homicide Memorial Service” from 6 to 7:15 p.m. Monday in the atrium of the Ocasek Building, 161 S. High St., Akron, with Akron police Chief James Nice as the featured speaker.
The public event honors homicide victims and their loved ones. “Family members want us all to know their loved one is never forgotten,” wrote Leanne Graham, associate director of the program. “Victim Assistance Program supplies the victim angels for family members to place on the Angel Trees. Family members are encouraged to participate in the ceremony by reading their angel’s name, speak in their remembrance, and place their angel on the tree. … Survivors can donate a picture (5x7) for permanent placement on the display by calling Victim Assistance Program at 330-376-0040. The Wall of Remembrance and Angel Trees will be on display throughout the holiday season.”
Dr. Robert Denton, executive director, said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the survivors and the victims of crime during this holiday season, and throughout the year.”
Founded in 1972, the program has provided close to 20,000 comprehensive, confidential and free services to victims of crime every year in Summit County and is the only program on the scene at homicides, suicides, traffic fatalities and death notifications. It also offers a 24/7 crisis line. For more information, please call 330-376-0040.
Party with a purpose
Major kudos to the Polish American Club of Akron for its huge holiday generosity to local military veterans.
Later this month, members will host a second annual Christmas party to benefit the Summit County Veterans Service Commission. “We have asked each of our guests to bring a covered dish to share, but more importantly we have asked them to bring a toy and gift card to donate to the Service Commission,” said party spokeswoman Terri Steele-Austin.
“This party was originally our friends gathering to exchange gifts, but we have all been so richly blessed that we chose to do something for someone else. We chose the Service Commission because they do so much good for those who were willing to give all for us.”
Steele-Austin has a particularly warm place in her heart because her father was a Korean War veteran and ex-POW.
Christmas tree sale
Interested in purchasing a live Christmas tree and you reside in or near Wooster?
Please consider the trees being sold by the Wooster Noon Lions Club. Proceeds support Hospice Hopes, which helps patients and their caregivers, and provide area schoolchildren with vision screening and eyeglasses.
“Trees are locally grown by Twinsberry Farm in Shreve and you can choose from white pine, blue spruce, Frasier fir, concolor and more,” writes event spokesman Kevin McAllister.
Trees are available at the red caboose in front of Buehler’s Milltown store, 3540 Burbank Road, Wooster, from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
A big tip of the holiday hat to Brittany Hatala and her mother, Nancy, who not only braved the holiday shopping crowd at Target on Howe Road in Cuyahoga Falls on the evening of Thanksgiving Day, but also did a great deed in the process.
Bob Lowry, in search of a special gift, said he was overwhelmed by the size of the growing line when he drove up. Still the 89-year-old Tallmadge resident was a man on a mission and there was no turning back.
But much to his surprise, veteran mother-and-daughter shoppers came to his aid, insisting that he stay in the warmth of his car until the store opened. To make that happen, a grateful Lowry said the women — who exchanged cellphone numbers with him — enlisted the help of a store employer and a police officer who called in his order and made sure it was ready and waiting for him at the service desk, allowing him to avoid the long lines.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.