MAAC completes holiday effort with toys and food for 150 families in Medina area

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 17 December 2019 at 9:38 am

Provided photos: Sherry Tuohey, who heads MAAC’s Christmas Red Barrel program, accepts a check from Don Marchner on behalf of Junior Wilson’s Sportsmen’s Club.

MEDINA – Delivering toys and food to children and families in the Medina and Knowlesville area is a tradition started more than 50 years ago by the Medina Fire Department, who collected broken toys, repaired them and delivered them to children just before Christmas.

For the last few decades, the Christmas giveaway program has been run by the Medina Area Association of Churches with help from firefighters from the Medina, Ridgeway, East Shelby and Shelby fire departments.

Sherry Tuohey who has taken over organizing the drive, now known as MAAC’s Red Barrel program, says they couldn’t do it without the firefighters.

Each year in November, the firefighters deliver 34 red barrels to businesses, libraries and churches, where they can be filled with donations of toys and food. Then the first week in December, the firefighters pick up the barrels, which hopefully are filled, and return them to the Medina United Methodist Church. There, volunteers sort the donations and pack holiday boxes for families who have applied for assistance.

Each box contains toys appropriate for the children in the family, in addition to food for a complete Christmas dinner. This includes a ham, potatoes, vegetable, stuffing and dessert. If an appropriate gift hasn’t been donated for a child, MAAC volunteers will buy gifts from money which has been donated.

Tuohey said this year Sara Cinquino, Student Association adviser at Medina High School, collected more than 1,900 food items, which meant families got a lot more food than they usually would have.

Every year it has become a custom for Bob Harrold of Lyndonville to restore children’s wagons and donate them to MAAC’s Christmas Red Barrel program.

All in all, more than 100 volunteers helped to make the program a success, Tuohey said.

“We couldn’t do it without the individuals, businesses and organizations who helped physically and financially,” she said.

One supporter of the giveaway is Bob Harrold of Lyndonville, who for the past few years has restored and donated little red wagons to the MAAC program. Tuohey said one mother commented that the little red wagon was the most wonderful gift her family could have received. Another family who didn’t have a car said the wagon was a blessing when it came to going to the store.

Tuohey added the most important thing about MAAC’s Red Barrel drive is that all the donations stay to help families in the Medina school district who live in the Medina and Knowlesville area.

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