MAAC puts out the red barrels in annual toy drive

Photos by Ginny Kropf: From left, Medina firefighters Lt. Steve Cooley, Donato Rosario, Steve Long, Adam Fisher, Bob Urtel and Don Miller gather around the MAAC Red Christmas Barrels, which they delivered Wednesday to businesses throughout the Medina area.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 5 November 2020 at 1:37 pm

MEDINA – The Medina Area Association of Churches Red Barrel program has been a Christmas tradition for decades, and in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, organizers were determined to do it again this year.

“We thought we could safely make it happen,” said Sherry Tuohey, who has headed the program for the past several years. “It has taken much more thought than in prior years.”

Tuohey also said MAAC anticipated, because of Covid, the need in the community would be greater this year.

On Wednesday, members of the Medina Fire Department delivered a record 38 barrels to various locations in the Medina area.

One thing which was different this year is MACC didn’t serve breakfast to the firefighters at the Grove United Methodist Church. Instead, Tuohey said they are going to put together a “goodie” bag to show their appreciation to the firefighters for volunteering to deliver and pick up the barrels every year.

Because of Covid, the schools could not accept a barrel this year, so Tuohey had to find some new locations. In addition to all the usual locations, such as several downtown businesses, Lee-Whedon Memorial Library, YMCA and churches, barrels have been put at all local banks, Ace Hardware, Valu, Dollar General, Country Club Family Restaurant, Avanti’s Pizza, Della’s Chocolates, AJ’s Play Date and Filomena’s Favorites.

“We couldn’t do this without the support of many local businesses,” Tuohey said. “This is a wonderful community to be part of.”

Medina Fire Department lieutenant Steve Cooley, left, and firefighter Donato Rosario get instructions from Sherry Tuohey, who heads the Red Barrel program for Medina Area Association of Churches. Last year, Tuohey was responsible for redesigning the barrels with colorful holiday decals.

The Red Barrels accept donations of toys, gifts and new hats, mittens, gloves, scarves and socks for all ages.

Because of Covid, there will be no mitten trees this year.

Precautionary measures will be taken. After the barrels are picked up Dec. 9 by the firefighters, the items will be quarantined for a minimum of three days before volunteers start unloading and sorting. After boxes are packed for families, they will be quarantined for another three days before they are given out.

In addition to a gift box, families will receive food for their Christmas meal. This will include a ham, potatoes, stuffing, vegetable, fruit and dessert.

Last year, the MAAC Christmas giveaway served 262 individuals, including 153 children in the Medina community. This also included 15 senior citizens.

Tuohey stressed that all donations received in the MAAC Red Barrels stays in Medina and goes to families in the Medina school district who live in Medina and Knowlesville zip codes. Gift boxes will be delivered by Medina firefighters on Dec. 19.

Monetary donations are also needed and welcome by sending a check to Christmas Box Program, in care of MAAC, 536 Orient St., Medina.

To be eligible for a gift box and holiday meal, applicants must apply from 10 a.m. to noon on Nov. 10 and Nov. 17 at St. Peter’s Church at 1355 West Ave. or from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 10 and 17, and 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 12 and 19 at Calvary Tabernacle Assembly of God at 324 Catherine St. Use the Ann Street entrance.

To be eligible, applicants must bring proof of household (birth certificates or Social Security card), proof of residence (any utilty bill) and proof of income. Income guidelines apply.

Covid-19 guidelines require a mask and social distancing.

From left, Medina firefighters Bob Urtel, Steve Long and Adam Fisher are ready to deliver 38 Red Barrels to local businesses to be filled with donations of toys and winter outerwear for children in the Medina school district.

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