MAAC Christmas program will serve about 200 this year, including 114 kids

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 14 December 2022 at 11:15 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Sherry Tuohey, left, talks with volunteers before they begin “shopping” to fill Christmas boxes Monday at the Grove United Methodist Church. Next to her are  Sue VanBuren, B.J. Thomas, Nelda Callard, Sally Grimm, Sandy Smith and Diane Mazur. Tuohey is the chairwoman of the MAAC Christmas box program.

MEDINA – More than 100 families will have a Merry Christmas this year, thanks to the generosity of individuals and businesses in the Medina area.

Packing boxes of food and gifts got underway Monday at the Grove United Methodist Church, where volunteers from the Medina Area Association of Churches began their annual task of filling Christmas boxes for families who applied.

Medina firefighters picked up the 40 barrels Wednesday from local businesses, stores, churches, the school and library. Volunteers spent the rest of the week sorting and stacking the donations into categories for ages and gender. On Monday, volunteers, known as “shoppers” for the day, took the families’ names and chose appropriate gifts for everyone.

Nelda Callard stands next to a row of boxes packed with crocheted blankets and toys which will be delivered to families with food for Christmas dinner. Medina firefighters will deliver the boxes on Saturday.

Boxes were assembled Monday and Tuesday by Jim Sipple, Ron Furness and Gordie Smith. The gifts, along books and food for Christmas dinner, were packed into the cardboard boxes, ready for delivery. Each family will not only receive a gift and hat, gloves, mitten and socks for each child, but a ham, potatoes and vegetable. Some families will receive crocheted blankets which had been donated.

Sherry Tuohey, who has headed the MAAC Christmas giveaway for five years, said they had the most volunteers Monday and Tuesday than any year since she has been in charge.

“We have so many new people this year,” said Sue Metzo, who previously chaired the project.

Tuohey praised her committee and the job they did. Judy Holbrook took charge of thank-you notes and seeing that every family got a Christmas card. Kathie McMoil solicited and sorted more than 2,100 personal care items donated by high school students.

Metzo did all the computer work, creating applications, etc. Norma Jean Foster was in charge of making sure they had enough food and hams. Barb Vreeland took charge of collecting hats, mittens, scarves and socks.

Metzo said how heartwarming it was to hear from families who appreciated the donations they received, such as the grandmother who was raising three grandchildren. She read a letter she received from a Medina graduate whose family received a MAAC Christmas box when he was a teenager.

A member of the Class of 1968, he said reading about the MAAC Christmas barrels on Orleans Hub several weeks ago brought back memories of the day several firemen knocked on his door and gave them a big box filled with food and toys.

“It was a December afternoon, and we didn’t know who they were,” the man wrote. “They said ‘Merry Christmas’ and left. You can imagine the joy of my two brothers and I when we opened the box and found an assortment of toys, games and puzzles. It was the most unbelievable thing that could have happened to us. We enjoyed those toys and things for weeks and weeks. That was the most memorable Christmas in my life.”

He enclosed a check, saying he wanted to pay it forward.

The MAAC Christmas program will provide Christmas gifts and dinner for 114 children and 97 adults this year.

At 8:30 Saturday morning, the firefighters and volunteers will be treated to breakfast at the church, with help from Bill Dunn, before the firefighters start delivering the packed boxes.