Jewell Cardwell: Kent’s Thanksgiving Brunch Bunch helps those in need

By Jewell Cardwell
Beacon Journal columnist

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The 44-year-old “Thanksgiving Brunch Bunch,” with its Turkey Day good deed, continues to show that charity really does begin at home.

Michelle Hartman, event chairwoman, happily and proudly brought me up to speed about the fundraiser/fun-raiser held each Thanksgiving morning in Kent.

Started by three husbands (the late Richard “Moose” Paskert, Jack Urchek and Larry Sisson) who couldn’t stand the heat in their own kitchens Thanksgiving morning, the event raises money for charities in Portage County. “Local merchants, organizations and community members donate products, gifts and services to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Total proceeds from the auction and raffle will benefit Kent Social Services’ Hot Meals, Center of Hope, the Lord’s Pantry and the Coleman Adult Day Services’ Food Programs.”

Interested in being part of this effort? The Brunch Bunch will gather from 8 a.m. to noon Thanksgiving Day at the American Legion Underwood Hall, 1945 Mogadore Road, Kent.

“For the third year in a row, Cajun Dave’s at the Water Street Tavern is offering 12-pound average, fully cooked, smoked turkeys in time for Thanksgiving for only $40 with all net proceeds benefiting the Brunch Bunch,” Hartman continued. “Quantities are limited and turkeys must be ordered and paid for in advance by contacting Jeanne Kotis at 330-673-5873. Turkeys will be available for pickup on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Admission to the brunch is $3 for endless coffee, cider and doughnuts. The committee is accepting items for the auction and monetary donations. Drop off at Hall-Green Agency, 146 N. Depeyster St., Kent; Portage Community Bank at 1311 E. Main St., Ravenna, or Portage Community Bank at 1532 S. Water St., Kent

For more information, please call Hartman at 330-815-4315.

Support of veterans

Big, beautiful bouquets to Country Pure Foods for its super generous support of our veterans.

“For the third year in a row, through a corporate gift and a voluntary donation drive at the Akron, Deland (Fla.), Ellington (Conn.), and Houston plants, Country Pure Foods generated another sizable contribution to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, making a total of nearly $100,000 over the past three years,” wrote Lindsay Anne Rider, spokeswoman for this noble cause.

“Employees in the Akron facility also donated their time this past April to work on the Walls of Valor Habitat for Humanity project. The employees worked approximately 30 hours over four days to help build the Valor Home on Exeter Road in Akron. … The Valor Home is a 30-bed, single-room occupancy transitional housing facility for veterans who are on a path to self-sufficiency. Homeless veterans will be able to move into the facility next month.”

Several employees are themselves veterans.

Benefit for boy

Alittle or alot Events is sponsoring a holiday open house from noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 24 at Parkside Church, 4520 Arlington Road, Uniontown, to benefit 9-month-old Blake Arnold, who is battling cancer.

The son of Natalie and Carl Arnold of Canal Fulton has been diagnosed with a malignant extrarenal rhabdoid tumor, a very rare and aggressive cancer with only about 15 new cases annually in the United States.

All proceeds from the event and a portion of vendor sales will directly benefit the Arnolds. Admission is $2.

Lots on the menu here including a raffle, silent auction and concessions (homemade soups, sandwiches and desserts); along with direct-sales vendors like Pampered Chef, thirty-one, Premiere Design Jewelry, handcrafted ornaments, wreaths and crafts. For more information, call Valerie Schwartz at 330-617-6689 or visit www.alittleoralot (go to events and click on holiday open house).

Donations for Guatemala

Hats off to the preschoolers at SCOPE (Summit County Opportunities Preschool Education) Academy in Akron, who put the desires of their own hearts aside for the good of a little girl in Guatemala and her family.

Here’s their story as shared by teacher Anne Reiman:

“My students have embarked on a wonderful student-interest-led journey studying vacations, travels and specifically Mexican fiestas. Due to this interest, I expanded their creative ideas and thoughts by showcasing a picture of a little girl in Guatemala who my husband and I sponsor.

“My children — ages 3-5 — brainstormed ways to help her and her community. Many of them wanted to give away some of their toys or donate money to her. This led to many children making their own homemade toys for her. It also led to a bigger project. The children decided they wanted to make and sell food. We spent the last two weeks planning the sale and then we made hot dogs, sandwiches, cookies and cake (all ideas thought of by students) this past Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday and Friday we invited the rest of the school (preschool through third grade) and parents to attend our sale.”

They sold out Wednesday, earning $170. Parents donated more food, which raised an additional $180. Donations are still coming in.

“Children led the sale themselves,” Reiman noted. “We had cashiers, door greeters, food table helpers and microwavers. All of our earnings will go to buying the little girl’s family food baskets and to her community of San Rafael, Guatemala.”

Children in book club

Major kudos to St. Paul Catholic School for placing such supreme importance on reading that it’s started a Children’s Book Club. It meets after school one day a week for students in kindergarten through second grade.

“Starting a children’s book club is a great way to bring kids together and encourage reading,” wrote St. Paul kindergarten teacher Ruth Dietzel. “This discussion and activities will help promote deeper comprehension and build vocabulary. Students are encouraged to read books they may not have chosen to read on their own. There is no cost to St. Paul students to participate in the book club.”

Offering their support in book selection, leading discussions and demonstrating read-aloud techniques will be Ruth Dietzel and middle school reading teacher Dani Dietzel, Ruth’s daughter. “One of the best things facilitators noticed right away was how eager the older students (second-graders) were to share books with younger students,” Ruth Dietzel noted.

More than 30 students are involved in the program. Robert Brodbeck is the school’s principal.

Pizza Hut helps hospital

Akron Children’s Hospital will be the beneficiary of 500 new books, courtesy of Pizza Hut.

Local franchisee Hallrich Inc., headquartered in Stow, will donate 350 books to the hospital’s Akron campus and 150 to its Beeghly campus in Boardman, said Anne C. Merchant, the hospital’s senior public relations specialist. “The books will be given to patients receiving care at Akron Children’s, as well as distributed through the hospital’s Reach Out and Read program, which supports the development of early literacy skills among children as a standard part of pediatric primary care.”

“Pizza Hut has long been a champion of services and programs that benefit the community,” said John Zollo,executive director of the hospital’s foundation. “Its national Book It reading program nurtures the minds of children and fosters a love of learning.”

Carol Magazzeni, director of marketing and public relations at Hallrich Inc., was ecstatic at being named one of 20 winners nationwide of the National Young Readers Week Big Book Giveaway and even more amped up to donate the books to the hospital.

Shoebox collections

Operation Christmas Child Akron Relay Center — located at New Hope Christian Fellowship, 1157 Riverside Drive, Akron (North Hill) — is collecting shoeboxes filled with small toys, toiletries, socks and the like through Monday, culminating National Collection Week.

“Last year, we collected 1,650 shoeboxes and this year our goal is to reach 2,000,” said event leader Renee Bartlow senior real estate project analyst for YRC Worldwide. Collection hours are 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today and Monday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.

YRC Freight is again donating a trailer to transport the shoeboxes.

Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or

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