Trees, Wreaths, and a Blimp

Annual Festival of Trees event raises money and lifts spirits

By Jim McIntyre, American Red Cross Regional Communications Officer

Wooster, December 6, 2019 – It’s one of the most timely events of the season. And it’s one of the most popular events in the region. Dozens of designer trees, wreaths, centerpieces and baskets were on display at the annual Festival of Trees fundraiser for disaster relief.  The items were auctioned off on Tuesday, December 3 at the Shisler Conference Center on the Wooster campus of The Ohio State University.  Supporters also bid on valuable gifts donated by local companies and individuals during a live auction.

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One of those gifts is always in high demand: a ride on the Goodyear blimp.  The highest bidder was Annette Saeger, owner of the Gilcrest Center, an adult daycare in Wooster.

“One of her resident’s  dying wish is to ride in the Goodyear blimp,” said Lara Kiefer, executive director of the Red Cross of Lake Erie/Heartland. “She bought that for him.” 

49164545698_7913cd9266_cThe event raised more than $80,000 for the Red Cross to help residents who are affected by disasters like home fires and flooding in Ashland, Holmes, Richland and Wayne counties.

The general public was invited to attend a preview the night before the auction.

They 49164556318_dca86bd6ac_cwere treated not only to the splendor of the decorated trees, but also a performance by the  Wooster High School Choir and a visit from Santa Claus.

“What a great way to kick-off the holiday season,” Kiefer said.  “People had a good time for a good cause – those who need help during their darkest hours, after a disaster like a home fire.”

If you’d like to help people recover from home fires, floods, tornadoes and other disasters, visit redcross.org/neo and click the donate button at the top of the page, or call 800-RED CROSS.

To view dozens of photos from the preview night and the auction at Festival of Trees, visit our photo album here.

Photo credits: Tom Newman/American Red Cross volunteer; Jim McIntyre, American Red Cross

Red Cross Cup to tee off at Canterbury Golf Club

Golfers invited to play at annual event June 24

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By Jim McIntyre, American Red Cross

The annual Red Cross Cup at Canterbury Golf Club promises to be a fantastic day filled with friendship, food and, of course, golf. The event is set at what has been nationally recognized as one of the top 100 golf courses in the United States and one of the finest in Ohio.

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The late Frann Zverina, seated, at the 2018 Red Cross Cup

The day will begin off the course  with the annual meeting of the Board of Directors of the Greater Cleveland Chapter of the American Red Cross, with breakfast provided by members of the Tiffany Circle, in honor of long-time Red Cross supporter, the late Frann Zverina.

 

Before the shotgun start, retired Cleveland Indians pitcher Jensen Lewis, the current co-host of the Indians Live broadcasts on Fox Sports Ohio will share some thoughts about the current state of the team.  And his Fox Sports Ohio colleague, Bruce Drennen will add his unmistakable voice to the event.

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Former Indians pitcher Jensen Lewis returns to the Red Cross Cup

After playing 18 holes, golfers will enjoy 19th hole festivities on the clubhouse patio, including food and drink, a silent and live auction, and an awards ceremony. The top three foursomes from each bracket (competitive and scramble) will receive recognition.

In addition, Cleveland sports legends Jim Chones and Campy Russell of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Jonathan Wells of The Ohio State Buckeyes will be on hand to offer their insights and field questions.

Proceeds from the Red Cross Cup will help fund vital disaster relief services.

Mike Parks, CEO of the Northeast Ohio Region of the Red Cross, stressed the need to support continuing disaster relief efforts in Dayton, where a series of tornadoes on Memorial Day left a trail of heartbreaking damage and destruction.

“Having a major national disaster relief operation in your own backyard highlights the need for ongoing support,” Mike said, noting that more than 20 volunteers from Northeast Ohio have been deployed to assist residents affected by severe weather in Ohio and Oklahoma.

“It costs money to train and deploy our volunteers when they are assigned to help those impacted by a disaster. Combined with the costs of vehicles and other equipment, the need for ongoing support for disaster relief is obvious,” Mike said.

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Home Savings Bank is the Presenting Sponsor of the Red Cross Cup.  Featured in this photo from the 2018 event are Michelle Polinko, Regional Chief Development Officer,  Matt Garrity of Home Savings, event chair Laura Hauser, and Regional CEO Mike Parks

Red Cross Cup golfers will receive shoe bags branded with the Red Cross Cup/CanterburyIMG_6027 logo, Red Cross first aid kits and Red Cross cooler bags. All golfers can also compete for the use of a new vehicle  on the hole-in-one contests sponsored by Deacon’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM.

To reserve your foursome, visit redcross.org/cup19, contact Mary Williams at eventsneo@redcross.org or call 330-203-5084.

Click here to see photos from the 2018 Red Cross Cup.

Click here to see photos from the 2017 Red Cross Cup.

Click here to see photos from the 2016 Red Cross Cup.

This post was edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

 

The J. M. Smucker Company honored, big news unveiled at Wrapped in Red Gala

Thank you.

That was the main purpose for throwing the Wrapped in Red Gala on Saturday, May 11, 2019, at the Global Center for Health Innovation in downtown Cleveland. To say, “Thank you” to the many donors who contributed to the bloodmobile campaign for the American Red Cross of Northern Ohio.

More than $530,000 was donated to the campaign.

“We are happy to announce that we have met our goal and have ordered the new bloodmobile,” Regional CEO Mike Parks said from the ballroom stage. “The Red Cross could not fulfill its mission to keep the nation’s blood supply whole without your generosity. Thank you!”

That wasn’t the only newsworthy item of the evening. Richard Smucker, executive

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Richard Smucker

chairman of The J. M. Smucker Company, announced, “I am very excited to share this evening that we will be increasing our support of the Red Cross and will now be an Annual Disaster Giving Program supporter.”

The Orrville-based company has committed $500,000 to pre-disaster planning.

With this level of support, Smucker’s will ensure the Red Cross can pre-position supplies, secure shelters, maintain vehicles and train volunteers nationwide to help keep the Red Cross ready to respond, day and night. This support also ensures the Red Cross can remain on hand to assist people as they recover following disaster.

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From left: Chris Mapes, Richard Smucker, Beth Mooney, Mike Parks 

The announcement of the increased level of support was made after Smucker’s was presented with the Steve D. Bullock Humanitarian Award, for its embodiment of the spirit of the Red Cross, through its contributions to the welfare and quality of life in the community. In addition to the Red Cross, the company supports a wide range of organizations locally and nationally.

The evening began in the atrium of the Global Center, where about 300 guests enjoyed local treats like Lake Erie walleye sliders, potato and cheese pierogi from the West Side Market, and locally crafted beer, along with red and white wine selections.

“Red and white, just like our blood cells,” WKYC’s Sara Shookman said, before auctioning the single item of the evening: a ticket package to the upcoming Major League Baseball All-Star game and associated activities, donated by Bank of America, and a dugout suite at Progressive Field for an Indians game, provided by FOXSports Ohio.

Following the brief formal program, the ballroom dance floor became the venue for an “After-Party,” sponsored by the Red Cross Young Professionals Council.

“The YPC Wrapped in Red Gala After-Party marks a strategic shift in the Greater Cleveland chapter’s fundraising mission and mindset, which does rely on financial resources, but also illustrates the inclusion of the younger generation in their future plans,” said Steve Siemborski, co-chair of the YPC. “I, along with the rest of the young professional community, am extremely proud to represent the Greater Cleveland Chapter of the American Red Cross as we celebrate the purchase of a new bloodmobile.”

YPC co-chair Andrew Bales added, “With such a strong group of young professionals in the Northeast Ohio region, we can significantly impact those in need, whether it is through a blood drive, Sound the Alarm campaign or any other volunteer capacity.”

Photos from the Wrapped in Red Gala can be viewed here.

To make an appointment to donate blood, whether it be at the donor site in Cleveland or Akron, a blood drive in the region, or aboard a Red Cross bloodmobile, visit redcrossblood.org.

 

#Help1family affected by a disaster this Giving Day

March 27, 2019 – Have you ever wondered how much it costs to help a family affected by a disaster, such as a home fire? Have you wanted to provide support but figured there was nothing you could do?

Following a year of record disasters, the American Red Cross is asking everyone to #help1family today, March 27, on Red Cross Giving Day.

EVERY 8 MINUTES, DONATIONS HELP FAMILIES

207701-05-Giving-Day-2019-Social-Media-1200x1200-FB3Every eight minutes, the Red Cross helps someone affected by a disaster. Last year, Red Cross disaster workers—90 percent of whom were volunteers—helped millions of people during a second consecutive year of record wildfires, hurricanes, tragic shootings and other large crises—all while responding day and night to home fires in communities across the country.

In fact, home fires are the nation’s most frequent disaster—often, devastating homes, livelihoods and cherished possessions. Just in January and February of this year, Red Cross volunteers across the country responded to almost 11,000 home fires, assisting nearly 33,000 people affected by these fires. In Northeast Ohio, the Red Cross responds to three home fires, on average, every 24 hours.

#HELP1FAMILY ON MARCH 27

You can provide hope to people across Northeast Ohio affected by local disasters by donating on Red Cross Giving Day, a 24-hour fundraising campaign. Our goal is to help 25,000 families affected by home fires or other disasters, and we need your support. Visit redcross.org/givingday to provide urgent relief, like food, shelter and other essentials for families who need it most. You can also give by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10, or by saying, “Alexa, make a donation to Red Cross Giving Day” on your Alexa-enabled device.

  • Support a family in urgent need for one day: A gift of $88.50 can provide a family of three with a day’s worth of food, including breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus blankets and other essentials in the aftermath of a disaster.
  • Supply warm meals: A donation of $60 can help provide six people with a nourishing meal that includes a main course, snacks and drinks to those impacted by disasters.
  • Deliver cozy blankets: A gift of $30 can ensure that children and families stay warm and can get a good night’s sleep with six comforting blankets.

You can also use the hashtag #help1family on your social media accounts to let others know you are supporting families in need and to encourage others to donate on Giving Day.207701-05-Giving-Day-2019-Social-Media-1200x1200-FB

The Red Cross is grateful for any generous support to help people in need on Giving Day and throughout the year. During March, we honor the volunteer heroes who fuel our lifesaving work every day—a tradition dating back more than 75 years, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt first proclaimed March as Red Cross Month to raise awareness for our humanitarian mission.

On behalf of the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio, thank you for considering a donation. Your generosity will help a family recover from one of the worst experiences of their lifetime.

Fundraiser provides festive kickoff to the holiday season

Proceeds to benefit local Red Cross disaster relief

WOOSTER – The Festival of Trees has become a tradition in Wooster, to help residents in Wayne, Holmes, Ashland and Richland Counties kick-off the holiday season.  For 27 years it has helped to provide critical funding for disaster services provided by the American Red Cross Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter.

On Tuesday, November 27, Festival-goers sipped local wines from Troutman Vineyards and Blue Barn Winery, along with beer and pop provided by Bowman Beverage. They also enjoyed Certified Angus beef and appetizers prepared by Wooster Country Club, as they meandered through the Buckeye Agricultural Museum and Education Center, admiring the trees and wreaths decorated by local artisans and enthusiasts.  A list of the designer award winners is below.

For more pictures from the Festival of Trees, visit our photo album here

The Museum provided a unique backdrop for the Festival, as the trees and wreaths, along with the many silent auction items, were positioned among vintage farm equipment on display there.  More than 260 tickets were sold for this year’s event. 

“The main purpose of this event is to raise funds for the local community Red Cross,” said Festival Chair Sean Ulik.  “We cover a large area, and the funds are very important.”

The Red Cross assists 300 local families, on average every year, by providing help and hope following a home fire or other disaster.  The Red Cross distributes more than $180,000 every year in immediate financial assistance for shelter, clothing and other emergency needs.

“We’re here to save lives,” Sean said, highlighting the smoke alarms installed by Red Cross volunteers in homes throughout the community.“it’s amazing how many individuals do not have smoke alarms.  Those smoke alarms are so important in saving lives.”

For more information about the Home Fire Campaign, visit soundthealarm.org/neo.  And if you’d like to help provide the funds for the assistance needed by residents affected by disasters, visit redcross.org/neo, or call 1-800 RED CROSS to make a donation.

2018 Festival of Trees Designer Award winners:

Honorary Chair Award: Splendor in Red Wreath, designed by Tess Hustack

Best Agricultural Design: Weathervane Tree, donated by Consumer National Bank and Designed Mariah Crater

Most Creative: Frosty Tree, donated and designed by Diane Evans

Best Wreath: Stag N Star Wreath, designed by Tess Hustack

Most Christmassy: Rustic Bells Tree, designed by Christina Ennis

Best Little Tree: Winter Dreams, donated by Howard Hanna

People’s Choice: Sleigh Ride Tablepiece, donated and designed by CR Blooms Floral

It Takes a (Bay) Village to Help Hurricane Victims

Garage Sale Raises More than Ten Grand for Hurricane Relief

As the weather grows colder in Northeast Ohio, garage sale season is winding down, but that didn’t stop the residents of Bay Village from holding a community-wide garage sale during the first weekend in October.

Proceeds from the sale of the hand-me-down duds, forlorn furniture and unwanted weed-wackers went to the American Red Cross, to help fund disaster relief efforts following one of the most active hurricane seasons on record.

Sales totaled more than $10,000.

“So many people wanted to help, but didn’t know how,” said Bay Village Mayor Paul Koomar.  “Then Annie came up with the idea of holding the community garage sale.”

Annie Nock, a former attorney and current stay-at-home mom, said she wanted to raise money to help people who have been affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

“Annie’s effort, and the generosity of the people of Bay Village is truly humbling,” said Mike Parks, CEO of the Northeast Ohio Region of the Red Cross.  “The proceeds from this community-wide effort will help people who have suffered greatly this hurricane season.”

Annie helped present a check for $10,154.73 at Bay Village City Hall.

 

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“It’s very difficult to travel south to help the people affected by the hurricanes,” Mayor Koomar said.  “This was a way to give back.  The support was overwhelming.”

With the emergency phase of the Red Cross response completed, efforts are now focusing on long-term recovery programs to get people back on their feet.  If you’d like to help people recover from disasters, big and small, donate at redcross.org/neo, or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

On Being a Phone Bank Volunteer for Hurricane Harvey Relief

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer 

Your alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. and its pitch-dark outside. You shower, shave, fill your travel mug with coffee and head for the garage. Traffic is amazingly light at 6:00 a.m., which is one of the benefits of starting so early, you tell yourself.

You and seven of your fellow Red Crossers are heading to the Cleveland ABC affiliate – WEWS Channel 5 TV, for the start of an all-day Hurricane Harvey fund raiser.  Only the all-night anchors are here, so there’s plenty of parking spaces to choose from.

graphiconscreenThe studio is all set for us.  Tables are arranged, phones are ready and a large flat screen announces the Red Cross website URL, phone number and text information for a quick pledge.

One-by-one, Red Cross volunteers, employees and even a board member file in and take their place at the tables.  Four shifts are planned, so plenty of people can take part in this 6:00 a.m until 11:00 p.m. phone bank effort.Thursday phonebank

In fact, this is our second phone bank. Three days prior, another group of volunteers manned the phones from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. and were inundated with calls. “It was non-stop calling,” one volunteer said. “As soon as you hung up the call, there was another one ringing on the same line.”

 

Tuesday phone bank

The cameraman comes in and suggests a slight modification to our seating arrangement.  We’ve begun the countdown to going ‘On Air.’

“We’re live in ten seconds,” says the cameraman, and we are off, fielding phone calls from across Northeastern Ohio.

By this time, there’s probably no one in America that hasn’t heard about the devastation being wrought upon Texas and Louisiana.  News anchors compare the total rainfall to the amount of water in Lake Michigan, and another asks you to visualize the amount of water flowing over the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls. Now consider that flow for nine months straight, and you’ve got an idea how much water fell in just a few days in Texas.

“Oh my,” says the first caller. “Thank you for doing this for those poor people.  I only wish I could give more.  They must need so much help.”

Another caller is so distraught that she asks for a few seconds to collect herself, before completing her credit card information.  Actually, many of the callers were quite emotional, knowing the stress and anguish being felt by the thousands of victims.

“I don’t know what those people would do if it weren’t for the Red Cross and the other agencies down there,” says another.  This was a recurrent theme all morning.

By the end of the first shift, you start to compare numbers of callers and amounts raised. Amounts donated ranged from $10 to $1,000 this morning.  Even larger amounts were reported from that first phone bank and possibly will be duplicated later in the day. Northeast Ohio has always been famous for its immense generosity whenever a need like this occurs, and it’s a great privilege to help out those so desperately in need.

You turn over your phone to the next volunteer, already missing the opportunity to talk with more like-minded Ohioans, bound to make a difference for the victims in Texas and Louisiana.

Won’t you join us? The American Red Cross is always looking for more volunteers. Sign up today to donate or to volunteer at http://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer.