Red Christmas barrels go out in Medina in annual holiday gift drive

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Members of the Medina Fire Department picked up the MAAC Red Christmas barrels Wednesday morning and delivered them throughout the Medina area. Shown here at the Grove United Methodist Church on West Center Street are, from left, Dustin Pahura, Chief Matt Jackson, Steven Long, Nick Lee, Adam Fisher and program coordinator Sherry Tuohey.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 4 November 2021 at 4:12 pm

MEDINA – The Medina Area Association of Churches’ annual Christmas Barrel program got a kickoff Wednesday morning with delivery of 40 barrels to locations throughout Medina.

This marks about 40 years Medina firefighters have volunteered to deliver the barrels, which this year went to schools, the library, YMCA, churches, the Senior Center, Lakewood Village and two dozen businesses and medical offices.

This is the fourth year Sherry Tuohey has been coordinator of the MAAC barrels. Last year she spent hours and hours cleaning and prepping them and applying new holiday decals.

She said they were very happy the barrels could be placed in Medina’s three schools this year, after being unable to due to the pandemic last year.

Medina firefighters Dustin Pahura and Steven Long load MAAC Red Christmas barrels on a pickup truck for delivery to stores, churches, schools and other locations in the Medina area.

Medina Fire Chief Matt Jackson said the firefighters are grateful for the opportunity to help with this tradition every year.

“We are happy to be able to bring a little cheer to the community,” he said.

The community is asked to start filling the barrels with new gifts, including toys, games, puzzles, books, stuffed animals and crafts for all ages, especially teenagers.

Also part of the MAAC Christmas program are the mitten trees, headed by Marilyn Hiwiller, who has distributed them to area churches and Lee-Whedon Memorial Library for many years. Area residents are asked to place new hats, mittens, gloves, scarves and socks for all ages on these trees. Every member of a family who receives a Christmas box from MAAC will receive a hat, scarf, gloves and socks.

The Red Barrels will be out in the community until they are picked up Dec. 8 and returned to Grove United Methodist Church, where MAAC volunteers will fill Christmas boxes for eligible families.

Tuohey stresses that all donations of gifts, clothing and cash to MAAC stay in the Medina area to help families who reside in the Medina and Knowlesville zip codes. This includes children to age 18, parents/guardians and senior citizens 62 and older.

She said each gift box will contain food for Christmas dinner, to include meat, boxed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables and dessert, as well as canned fruit and cereal.

The Red Barrels will be delivered to families on Dec. 18 by members of local firefighters, including Medina, Ridgeway, Shelby and East Shelby.

Monetary donations can be made to MAAC’s Christmas Box Program by mailing a check to 536 Orient St., Medina.

Applications for Christmas boxes can be made at St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1355 West Ave., from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 9 and 16; at the Senior Citizen’s Center, 615 West Ave., from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 9 and 16; and at Calvary Tabernacle Assembly of God at their new church at 11031 Maple Ridge Rd., from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 11 and 18.

Income guidelines apply. Applicants should bring proof of household (birth certificates, Social Security cards), proof of residence (any household bill), proof of income (Social Services award letter, SSD/SSI/SSP award letter, pay stubs or most recent tax return) or SNAP letter.