40 MAAC barrels go into Medina community to be filled with toys

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Bonnie Sutch, left, secretary at the Grove United Methodist Church, and Sherry Tuohey check the MAAC Christmas barrels while waiting for Medina firemen to deliver them on Wednesday morning.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 2 November 2023 at 11:50 am

MEDINA – You know Christmas is on the way when the MAAC red Christmas barrels start appearing in local stores, churches and the library.

On Wednesday, in keeping with a decades-old tradition, members of the Medina Fire Department picked up 40 barrels at the Grove United Methodist Church and delivered them to locations throughout Medina.

Hundreds of children living in the Medina School District and their families are assured gifts and a holiday dinner through the MAAC Christmas Program.

Fire Chief Matt Jackson and firefighters Tim Miller, Paul Urquhart, Lt. Steve Cooley, Nick Lee and Bob Urtel were those who volunteered for what has become an annual tradition, dating as far back as 40 years, when the firefighters used to collect old and broken toys, repair them and give them to children.

Sherry Tuohey, who coordinates the MAAC Christmas barrels, stands by the wagons which Bob Harrold of Lyndonville refurbishes and donates every year.

Cooley has been volunteering for 14 years. He remembers when the firefighters collected old toys, painted them and fixed them up.

“But you can’t do that any more because they are all plastic,” he said. “So this is a way we can help the community and maintain a tradition.”

Miller has been volunteering to deliver the barrels for eight years and this is Urtel’s seventh year.

People are asked to donate new or good toys, books, crafts and gift items. Gifts are especially in need for teenagers, said Sherry Tuohey, who coordinates the MAAC Christmas barrel program.

Tuohey heads a committee which includes former coordinator Sue Metzo, Norma Jean Foster, Judy Holbrook, Barb Vreeland and Kathie McMoil.

They also welcome donations of hats, gloves and socks, as well as food items for Christmas dinner.

The Medina High School Student Association under co-advisers Sara Cinquino and Kayla Rosenbeck, annually packs bags of personal care items.

Another much appreciation contribution to the MAAC Christmas program is the donation of red wagons by Bob Harrold of Lyndonville. For several years, Harrold has sought out children’s wagons throughout the year, refurbished them and donated them to MAAC.

Tuohey said the wagons are a big hit with parents and children, as often the parents use them to transport young children, or in some instances, where there is no car in the family, the wagons provide a way to transport groceries home from the store.

Harrold said it is becoming increasingly difficult to find the historic little red wagons. This year he was able to donate three red wagons and two wooden wagons.

The public is reminded that income guidelines have increased this year, comparable to those established by HEAP.

To qualify for a holiday box, families must live in the Medina School District, with Knowlesville and Medina zip codes (14479 or 14103), and comply with income guidelines. The program benefits children up to 18 years of age, their parents/guardians and seniors 62 and older.

Sign-ups must be completed during the second and third weeks of November by visiting St. Peter Evangelical Church at 1355 West Ave. from 10 a.m. to noon or 5 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 7 or 14; or Calvary Tabernacle Assembly of God Church, 11031 Maple Ridge Rd., from 10 a.m. to noon on Nov. 9 or 16.

Medina firefighters who volunteered to deliver the MAAC Christmas barrels are, from left, Chief Matt Jackson, paramedic/firefighter Tim Miller, Paul Urquhart, Lt. Steve Cooley, Nick Lee and Bob Urtel.