Jewell Cardwell

Members of Walsh University Residence Life are rallying around Dan Peters, the University of Akron’s director of basketball operations and former coach of Walsh men’s basketball team (1983-88). They are coordinating a benefit fish fry 4 to 7:30 p.m. March 14 at the Barrette Business and Community Center, Walsh University, 2020 E. Maple St., North Canton.

The 59-year-old Peters, diagnosed in December with pancreatic cancer, is undergoing several months of intensive chemotherapy.

The benefit also will include raffles for gift certificates and themed baskets. Tickets are $10 adults; $5 children. Please contact Bob Flukas at 330-244-4550 or rflukas@walsh.edu.

Furnishings needed

CORE (Community Outreach Resources Exchange) is in need of the following items for low-income or no-income folks trying to get on their feet: beds and mattresses (clean and free of stains or tears, box springs must be intact); dressers, dining room tables, chairs; and clean bed linens, pillows, blankets and towels (in plastic bags).

“We also take kitchen appliances that are in good working order, and we also take refrigerators, washers/dryers, electric stoves and microwaves that are clean and in good working order,” said Christine Mohr, donation coordinator for CORE’s furniture bank, which is led and operated by volunteers.

To donate, call 330-379-3188, option 2 (leave a message), or email core.donations@gmail.com.

Food bank helpers

Major kudos to St. Sebastian Parish School’s sixth-grade classes who recently spent an eye-opening morning at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.

“They weren’t there just for a tour. They were there to work and make a difference in people’s lives,” school spokeswoman Michelle Huber wrote.

“The students learned that 38,000 people in our area will go hungry this month. Half of those people will be children just like our sixth grade students … During their visit, the students sorted 8,554 pounds of food that equaled 38,482 individual servings. These servings will be distributed to food pantries, hot meal sites and shelters in the eight Northeast Ohio counties that the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank serves. The students learned a very valuable lesson that never would have been covered in one of their textbooks.”

Spelling gene

Three generations of one Akron family has a triple reason to celebrate, as each one won her school’s spelling bee.

Proud grandma Angie Papatonis of Akron, now 77, was the first to earn the crown, in 1949 at Goodrich Grade School as a seventh-grader.

The torch was passed to her daughter Teresa Kozma, who took top honors at Preston Elementary School in Cuyahoga Falls in 1972 as a sixth-grader.

Now comes Elena Kozma — Mrs. Papatonis’ granddaughter and Mrs. Kozma’s daughter — who recently bested both by winning as a fifth-grader at her school, Akron’s St. Matthew’s Catholic School.

“As we were prepping her, we both told her that ‘Mom and I were both spelling champs of our schools. Wouldn’t it be nice if you won, too?’?” Mrs. Papatonis said, adding that Elena also is an honor student and an artist.

Black Male Summit

The University of Akron has an impressive lineup of speakers, conferences and workshops for its Black Male Summit, April 11-12, including:

• Steve Harvey — comedian, talk-show and game-show host and author.

• Terrell Strayhorn — associate professor of higher education in the School of Educational Policy and Leadership at the Ohio State University, motivational speaker and author.

• Russ Mitchell — formerly of CBS News, now managing editor of evening news and lead anchor at Cleveland’s WKYC.

• Touré — co-host of The Cycle on MSNBC, motivational speaker and author of Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? What It Means to Be Black Now.

• Janks Morton — teacher, lecturer, commentator, motivational speaker at colleges, churches and prisons.

A community dialogue also is planned for 9:30 to 11 a.m. April 11 at the Akron-Summit County Main Library, 60 S. High St.

For more information and to register, please go to www.uakron.edu/ie/bms.

Toys make the day

Christine “Chris” Zalar — one of three centenarians or centenarians in training, all residing at Barberton’s Pleasant View Health Care Center and the subject of a recent column — was gifted by a reader with a collection of small toys from her distant past.

The reader from Ellet, who wished to remain anonymous, after reading that Mrs. Zalar had worked on the assembly line at the former Sun Rubber Toy Co., presented her with seven Sun vehicles and three airplanes: “I believe they were from my stepfather’s estates. Not sure how he came by the toys … they may have been his. I really don’t have the specific details and no one to ask. I just remembered no one wanted them, so I took them and have had them in a closet since 1995.”

The reader made arrangements with Pleasant View’s social services director Elizabeth Shaffer to drop off the toys and meet Mrs. Zalar: “She is a very pleasant person and greatly appreciated the toys. Elizabeth asked her if she wanted to put them [the toys] up, but Mrs. Zalar wanted to look at them a little longer. She had the biggest smile on her face and invited me to come back again to see her sometime.

“It’s a pleasure to make someone’s day … She certainly made mine!”

Piano finds new home

Big, beautiful bouquets to faithful column reader Ann Wintrow who donated her family’s piano to Diana Anderson, a hostess at McDonald’s restaurant at 2021 E. Market St., Akron, who sings for customers there. The 71-year-old Akron woman, who is classically trained, is a member of Wedgewood United Methodist Church’s choir.

Wintrow wrote: “I was amazed to see the front page story about Diana Anderson’s ‘service with a song.’ You see, I have a piano I am trying to find a home for. I felt drawn to Wedgewood United Methodist Church to check and see if that particular church had a need for a piano or if they knew of an individual who needed or wanted a piano. I heard the choir singing the previous week as I was leaving a Weight Watchers meeting downstairs.

“When I left the meeting last week, the choir had not yet started singing so I poked my head into the choir room to speak with someone about my piano … Diana waved her hand at me and told me she had been praying that somehow she would be able to get a piano to help her when she practices her singing.”

Both women were excited. Unfortunately, Diana didn’t have the money it would take to move the piano. “She explained she donates to her church and that she is also baking pies and selling them to raise money to send to the Philippines,” Ann volunteered. “When I was discussing this with my sister she said ‘if it is meant to be, somehow it will work out.’ ”

And work out it did. Diana was able to find someone to move the piano.

Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or jcardwell@thebeaconjournal.com.