Philanthropy

Project Connect begins hooking up volunteers & donations

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Project Connect Wood County is more than a one-day event. Project Connect provides direct services to people who are homeless or in poverty, or in danger of becoming homeless or in poverty. The benefits accrue to the guests all year, and to the volunteers who make it happen. “It’s very gratifying. I see people in the store, and they ask if we’re doing this again,” said volunteer Marisa Hutchinson. She’s happy that she can answer yes. And she’ll be there to help out again. “Once you volunteer,” she said, “you start planning for the next year.” Planning for Project Connect gets started months in advance. About 30 people gathered for the kickoff meeting Thursday morning at St. Mark’s Church. The church will host Project Connect on Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Project Connect was started in 2013, launched by the Continuum of Care Wood County. It was spurred by concern about homelessness. But shelter insecurity has many dimensions. People also need food, sanitary products, mental health services, legal assistance, and haircuts. Rhonda Stoner, a social worker with the Wood County Community Health Center, said she was surprised to see the change in people after they’d gotten their hair cut. The guests reported just that made them feel so much better about themselves, she said. Last year project volunteers cut the hair of 118 guests. Those seeking help are not clients, they are guests, neighbors stopping over for a helping hand from other neighbors. “We approach everything from the aspect of hospitality,” said Erin Hachtel, one of the co-chairs for the event. Each guest first talks with someone to determine what they and their families “need to be healthy, safe and secure,” Hachtel said. Then they are assisted by a host who guides them through a maze of stations to help find just what they need most. What brings them in varies. Last year, the biggest need was help getting through the holidays, Hachtel noted. That was the first time this was mentioned. The survey of the top reason they came included seeking employment, desire for more education or training, stress management, legal assistance, mental health treatment, housing, and internet connectivity. By having hosts and guest navigate the event together, Hachtel said, “we’re saying we’re all in this together. Let’s walk together to find what will help you and your family.” In 2017, Project Connect helped 574 individuals from 278 households. More than 200 people volunteers and 52 providers and agencies set up shop. During the day 235 bags of food were distributed. Also 44 people had their vision checked and 84 received blood pressure and blood sugar screenings. More than 200 hygiene kits were distributed, and 110 people were able to get birth certificates. The ability to get their birth certificates “was extremely well received,” said…


Project Connect holds kickoff meeting June 7

From PROJECT CONNECT WOOD COUNTY Community members and local organizations are joining together again to plan for the sixth annual Project Connect Wood County. On Thursday, June 7, event planners and interested community members will meet at 8 a..m at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church for breakfast and the start of the new planning year. It will be a time to highlight goals for the upcoming event, showcase past results, and recruit new community volunteers. A dedicated team of volunteers from the community, churches, and social service agencies are organizing Project Connect, which is scheduled for Wednesday, October 17 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 315 S. College Dr., Bowling Green. The event provides a broad range of free services to families and individuals at risk of or experiencing homelessness or poverty. The Wood County Continuum of Care Coalition began holding what was then called Project Homeless Connect in 2013. Since that time, hundreds of people in Wood County have received critically-needed services, and many others have been impacted through volunteerism. Commissioner Doris Herringshaw will again serve as the event’s Honorary Chairperson. For more information and continuing updates, visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ProjectConnectWoodCounty.


Michael Hoskins thinks the world of BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In talking about growing up in Bowling Green, Michael Hoskins described a lost world. He moved around campus just before Anderson Arena was built and with the football field was located where the College of Business now stands. He spent days at the natatorium and the “old” men’s gym – he was confused why it was called that because he never saw any old men there. “It a very perfect kind of college town life” that included pals such as Mike Marsh. Marsh was there to greet him Thursday when Hoskins returned to campus. The middle child of three, Hoskins moved here at 11 when his father William Hoskins took a position at the College of Business in 1965. His father had been recruited by then President William T. Jerome and Dean William Schmeltz, who were interested in bringing top scholars, especially in international business, to campus, President Rodney Rogers said. Hoskins said his father was “desperately recruited,” and could have made more money elsewhere, but stayed in Bowling Green. His work extended from founding the International Business program at BGSU to co-founding the Academy of International Business, the leading organization in the field, Rogers said. Hoskins attended BGSU, first in computer science, before changing his major to finance, graduating in 1977, before heading off to work at IBM. But then he moved to his passion, as, in Rogers’ words, a “serial entrepreneur.” Taking his father’s lead, he traveled the world. He lost touch with his alma mater for some time. That happens, Hoskins said. Then 12 years ago through Marsh, he reconnected with campus. And as he started to follow what was going on at BGSU, he became more impressed. He made donations. He founded the Hoskins Global Scholars program He said he’d reached that stage in his life where he started wanting to give permanency to his contributions. After talking with Interim Provost John Fischer, Hoskins decided not only to permanently endow the scholarships, but to contribute to the renovation of University Hall. On Thursday the university celebrated the naming of the Michael E. Hoskins Grand Foyer. Also, the “fifth generation” of Hoskins scholars were introduced. They are: Quinn Eberhard, a chemistry major; McKenzie Moss, forensic science and Spanish major; and Hannah Finnerty, international studies. Eberhard is a first-year student who will travel to Cambridge, England, to work at the European Bioinformatics Institute. This is a direct outgrowth with her research with BGSU faculty Neocles Leontis and Craig Zirbel. She got involved after hearing a presentation by Leontis on his work. “I felt it was intensely fascinating and was outside my current understanding,” she said. Eberhard is the only undergraduate working on the research team. They work with RNA and proteins, and the institute in Cambridge has the largest online database of proteins. Now “we have to…


ACT*BG’s Amazing Race to benefit Montessori School

From BOWLING GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE On Friday May 18, 2018, The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce ACT*BG Project Team will host their annual event, Amazing Race Bowling Green with proceeds benefiting the Montessori School of Bowling Green. Participants can sign up a team or sign up alone and be placed on a team and make some new friends! Tickets are $25 per person & May 17th is the deadline for registration. Participants can RSVP to the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce by calling 419-353-7945 or email Marissa Muniz at MarissaMuniz@bgchamber.net. The event will begin at 6:30pm on May 18th at Bowling Green Performing Arts Center located at 530 W. Poe Road in Bowling Green, Ohio. Complete Challenges and solve puzzles around BG to win the race! Join us at Howard’s for the after party catered by Brookdale BG, featuring Pizza Pub 516 & Chipotle favorites! The party will include heavy Hors d ’Oeuvres, a cash bar and entertainment. For more information, contact Marissa Muniz or checkout the flyer on the BG Chamber website. ACT*BG (which stands for Active – Community – Teamwork) is a highly active Project Team of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce. ACT*BG has a mission to attract and retain professionals in the Bowling Green, Ohio area. The focus is connecting active professionals to each other and to the community through social, civic, charitable, educational, and professional development events.


Leadership BG to raise funds for Habitat, CASA

From BOWLING GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Leadership BG Class of 2018, a program of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, invites you to join us for an evening of fundraising and community building benefitting Habitat for Humanity of Wood County and Wood County CASA. This event will take place on Friday, May 11th, 2018 from 6:00pm-9:00pm at Campus Quarters on 107 State Street. We will have Dennis Hopson as a special guest to talk and mingle with guests. Dennis is a former NBA player and past Assistant Coach for the BGSU men’s basketball team. Also attending will be Commissioner Craig LaHote as a VIP Bartender donating his skills and tips! Come enjoy the nacho bar, raffle items, music and fun! Habitat for Humanity will be building homes in our county over the next 3 years. They need our support to give the new homeowners the best start they can get. We will be collecting both donations and a list of home owner items that can be found on the event’s Facebook listing. These items include rakes, snow shovels, and more. Wood County CASA supports the best interests of some of the youngest in our community. As Court Appointed Advocates for minors, they need help compiling ice breaker bags. These bags, which include games, puzzles and other activities for kids of a variety of ages, help the Child Advocate build trust with the ones they need to support and advocate for. They are in need of a number of items (see list in event post on Facebook) and or monetary donations to go toward purchasing these items. Come on out to support this worthy cause and help raise money for Habitat for Humanity Wood County and Wood County CASA! For more information contact the BG Chamber at (419) 353-7945 or visit www.bgchamber.net. The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce supports an environment for the development and success of business within the Bowling Green area. The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Celebrates, Educates, and Strengthens its Investors through Business Improvement Events, Grants, Services, Leadership, Legislative Updates and Group Savings Programs. We are your Community Connection via ‘The Morning Show’ radio program WBGU 88.1FM, Wood County Safety Council, Annual Awards, Holiday Parade and Fireworks. The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce is Celebrating 82 years; Established 1936


BGSU’s top fundraiser Shea McGrew leaving; Balzer, Kuhlin take on new roles

In the middle of its $200 million Changing Lives for the World comprehensive campaign, Bowling Green State University is changing leadership in a key position. President Rodney Rogers announced Friday that Shea McGrew, vice president for university advancement and president of the BGSU Foundation, “will be leaving the University to pursue new opportunities.” In the letter to the campus community, Rogers wrote: “Shea has been instrumental in the success of our campaign and in strengthening our alumni engagement and outreach. I thank him for his hard work and service to the University over the last five years. The campaign has raised more than half its goal. Today (Monday, March 26) Rogers announced that Dr. Bill Balzer has been appointed to serve as interim vice president for University Advancement and president of the BGSU Foundation. Also, Mike Kuhlin, who is chair-elect of the BGSU Foundation Board, will serve in an advisory role to the president on the campaign. Kuhlin has a long career with AT&T and Ameritech retiring as senior director of corporate relations. Part of his role was guiding the company’s philanthropy. After retiring from Ameritech, he worked as a communications and development consultant for a number of national companies. For five years, he was the director of corporate, foundation and government support for Lyric Opera of Chicago. Kuhlin, a 1986 journalism graduate from BGSU, provided the lead donation for the Michael and Sara Kuhlin Center. Rogers wrote that the search for a permanent replacement for McGrew will begin immediately. Cecilia Castellano, vice provost for strategic enrollment planning, will chair the search committee. The university has retained Issacson and Miller, a well-known national search firm, to help with the search. Balzer is currently vice president for academic affairs and strategic initiatives. He will retain his current duties. He is the former Dean of BGSU Firelands. “His focus in the coming months will be to oversee and, where appropriate, improve organizational structure and processes in University Advancement to ensure that we’re in a strong position to welcome the division’s next leader,” Rogers wrote. As adviser to Rogers, Kuhlin will serve on the search committee and as a liaison with the Foundation Board “to continue and accelerate our momentum on our comprehensive campaign so that we will meet and exceed our goal,” Rogers wrote. “He will also be working with Chief of Staff Lisa Mattiace and me on the outreach and cultivation of major prospects.” .


United is still the way to help charities in changing times, new CEO Wendy Pestrue contends

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Wendy Pestrue is a not complete newcomer to the United Way. Less than a month on the job as the president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Toledo, she explains she has not made her career with the charity. But, she said, when she was a teenager in her hometown of Lubbock, Texas, she was the United Way Flame. “I went to the luncheons for the fundraising campaign, and when they allocated funds, I got to visit the agencies and help celebrate their good work,” she said. “It was an interesting exposure to United Way at a young age.” She went on to work her way through college as a vocational nurse, then worked in education and earned a law degree. Her career has been with education and health care non-profits. That included working at Defiance College and living in Perrysburg. She and her husband, Justin Pestrue, moved to the area when he took a job in analytics with Michigan Medicine. She was happy to return to the region, and plans to move soon into the Toledo area. Pestrue, 51, stopped by the United Way office in Bowling Green last week to introduce herself. She takes over an agency at a time of change. The old way of doing things doesn’t necessarily work anymore, and the trail forward has yet to be blazed. The United Way model has lived for 100 years, she said, “but what does it look like in the next 100 years?” Donations are down, not only in the Greater Toledo area, but nationwide. “Trend been going down the last few years,” she said. That’s a result of many changes in society. Sue Clanton, area director for Wood County, said “stagflation” has played its part. Also, changes in the work place has made the company-based approach, where the United Way makes a pitch to assemblies of employees, no longer sufficient, Pestrue said. Companies downsize, and many more workers, especially younger workers, aren’t employed in offices. The way people give to charity has changed, especially among millennials. Crowd sourcing for particular causes continues to grow. That’s how millennials give, Pestrue said. They tend to be intensely involved, and then move on. And they like events, both attending and working at them. Clanton said the recent Chocolate Crawl is an example of such an event. It drew college kids, young adults, and those younger and older to visit shops throughout downtown Bowling Green sampling a variety of confections. “Chocolate works for everybody,” Pestrue said. Clanton made sure agencies were on hand “so people understand when they invest in United Way they are investing in multiple agencies.” Addressing that changing philanthropic landscape, Pestrue said, means “listening to people and making changes to align with the community needs.” The goal is to determine how the charity can be…


Exchange Club kicks in $10,000 for Wooster Green

From THE EXCHANGE CLUB OF BOWLING GREEN The Exchange Club of Bowling Green has donated $10,000 towards the development of the Wooster Green Project.  “Wooster Green is an important community effort that will greatly enhance the quality of life in Bowling Green and the Exchange Club is pleased to support this project,” said Club President Jenny Swope.  “We think it will be an exciting addition to our city and we are proud to join other community groups and individuals in helping Wooster Green become a reality,” she added. Since its 1946 founding in Bowling Green, the Exchange Club has a long history of supporting community organizations and programs, including scholarships for Bowling Green High School students, charitable work, donations to community organizations, and participating in community events. Prevention of child abuse is a prime club focus. Funds to support its philanthropy efforts comes primarily from the Exchange Club’s annual pancake breakfast, which this year will be March 17 in the Bowling Green High School cafeteria, and a Reverse Raffle. The Exchange Club meets at noon on Tuesdays at Stone Ridge Golf Club. Visitors are welcome to learn more about the Club and its upcoming events.


Dozens ready to go bald for a cause at BGSU St. Baldrick’s event

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of children’s cancer research, will host one of its signature head-shaving events at the Bowen-Thompson Student Union at Bowling Green State University Feb. 18, when more than 60 people will shave their heads to raise money for lifesaving childhood cancer research. The event will include barbers from Ambrosia Salon & Spa, Bowling Green Mayor Richard Edwards, BGSU Interim President Dr. Rodney Rogers, BGSU Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice Provost Dr. Thomas Gibson, the St. Baldrick’s Honored Family the Roszmans, additional speakers, musical performances and a raffle. Over the past 6 years, BGSU has raised more than $108,000 for St. Baldrick’s, shaving 635 heads and donating 343 ponytails. Every 2 minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer worldwide, and in the U.S. one in five kids diagnosed won’t survive. Those who do survive often suffer long-term effects from treatments too harsh for their developing bodies. As the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, St. Baldrick’s is leading the charge to take childhood back from cancer. From its beginnings, St. Baldrick’s has believed that kids deserve the chance to be kids – fun-loving, carefree, refreshingly honest, and always a little goofy – and deserve the chance at a healthy future. That’s why donations raised at events like this have made it possible for St. Baldrick’s to fund more than $232 million to support the best childhood cancer research, wherever it takes place. About St. Baldrick’s Foundation As the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation believes that kids are special and deserve to be treated that way. St. Baldrick’s is leading the charge to take childhood back from cancer by funding some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts who are working to find cures and better treatments for all childhood cancers. Kids need treatments as unique as they are – and that starts with funding research just for them. Join us at StBaldricks.org to help support the best cancer treatment for kids.


Service award helps Mariana Mitova rally support for sports program for kids with special needs

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Receiving the Faculty Senate’s Community Involvement award wasn’t just a boost for Mariana Mitova. It was also a boost for the causes she espouses, especially RallyCap Sports. Mitova, who teaches in Bowling Green State University Apparel Merchandising and Product Development Program, said that in addition to being a personal recognition – “the glass plaque is proudly displayed in my office” – being honored last year has greatly benefited RallyCap Sports. The program, which was founded by alumnus Paul Hooker, offers the chance to be active in sports to young people with special needs. BGSU was the first campus to host the program.  (click for related story.) Mitova is the BGSU chapter advisor, and her son, who is blind, is a participant. Mitova told Faculty Senate Tuesday that her recognition has increased awareness about the program, donations have increased to RallyCap, and more faculty became interested. They then promoted it to other families who may benefit. Her receiving the award is being used by this at national headquarters who are trying to find campus advisors at the 12 other RallyCap locations. Mitova said she used the monetary award to host a dinner for 22 core student volunteers. (More than 1,000 students volunteer putting in more than 5,200 volunteer hours.) Those broader effects, said Mitova, are the reason faculty members should take seriously the calls for nominations. If Associate Dean Mary Murray had not nominated Mitova this would not have happened. She conceded faculty get a lot of emails, and it’s easy to delete them. Mitova said she deleted the first two calls for nominations herself. “Guilty as charged,” she admitted But after being asked to address senate, “I started thinking more about what would have happened if Dr. Murray hit the delete button,” she said. “Instead she took the time to solicit support, write the nomination letter, and submit the nomination package.” That time is valuable, Mitova said. “However, she thought this nomination is worth the time.” In addition to RallyCap, Mitova is also active with the Cocoon Shelter, Victim’s Services, the Giving Store, and other charities. She said the deadline is approaching, and urged her colleagues to act. “I would imagine there is at least one person in your immediate unit, your school or college who deserves to be nominated. I am constantly inspired by the most amazing things people on our campus do. Let’s get them recognized.”


Haitian musician Mona Augustin battles for justice with his voice, guitar, & imagination

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For the poor of Port au Prince, Haiti, life was always hard. Then came the earthquake in 2010. Mona Augustin was not one of those poor. He is a musician who lived with his bandmates. After the earthquake he went to an open area in the city where people once played soccer. Now it was occupied by a city of rudimentary tents occupied by people driven from their homes by the earthquake. For the next five years, Augustin set aside his music to take on the role of helping this community, which came to be known as Mozayik. Now he’s back making music in the service of the people of Mozayik. The Haitian singer-songwriter is visiting Bowling Green this week with his wife and fellow activist Candice Welsh. Augustin performed Wednesday night at the First Presbyterian Church and will perform another free show tonight (Feb. 8) on the Bowling Green State University campus. The presentation, which includes a performance by Augustin preceded by the screening of a short documentary film by Jon Bougher about Mozayik, will be at 7 p.m. in the multipurpose room (228) of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Life in the makeshift village was hard. The residents barely had the essentials for life. The film shows them trudging through narrow muddy alleys between canvas tents to bathe and fetch water. Yet that subsistence living itself was threatened. A large commercial building was being constructed in the next lot, and the company, Arcotec Haiti owned the land, and working with the government sought to evict the residents, offering them $125 in US dollars to leave. Little of the millions in aid dollars that flowed into Haiti found their way to the poor. Augustin tried to work with the mayor for some reprieve, but in the end the project trumped the interested of the residents. The company sent workers in to destroy the village. Augustin was able to locate land in a development called Canaan outside the city where the government had granted a commission the right to give land to displaced people. The ocean front property was like paradise, though water and other necessities had to be brought in from the city. Turns out the ownership was disputed, and in time police and thugs arrived to tear down what was built, sending the Mozayik community to a more inhospitable hillside plot. Every time Augustin was ready to leave the community, a new crisis would arise that needed his attention, and people would beg him to stay. In the film, his face often registers discouragement and exhaustion. Now Augustin has found property with a river nearby, a well, and schools close at hand. With help from a philanthropist the property was purchased. This will be a permanent home. A community center and a model home have been built. The…


BGSU students fan out through the region on MLK Jr. Day of Service

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Steady snow showers throughout the region Monday couldn’t keep more than 800 university students from answering the call to service. The snow just gave a few of them another way to help. A group of Bowling Green State University students participating in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service came to the office of Downtown Bowling Green. While some of them worked inside creating chalk signs for an upcoming United Way fundraiser, a handful headed outside with shovels and ice melt to clear sidewalks. They just wanted to help, said Jamie Hawkins and Jenna Battaglia. This is the 10th Annual Martin Luther King Jr, Day of Service coordinated by BGSU. With the students involved this year, the event will have sent about 5,800 volunteers into the field to serve the community. Angel Alls-Hall, one of the student organizers of the event, told the volunteers before they went out that this was a way of honoring King’s own service. “Today we carry on that legacy of activism and service that Dr. King embodied. So let us go out to the community to serve today and in days to come.” Jauntez Bates, a senior political science major and vice president of undergraduate student government, said service has been an essential part of his education at BGSU. He’s participated all four years, including last year as a site coordinator. He is a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy and a fraternity both of which emphasize service. And he’s already founded a clothing company, BossUpClothing, that combines commerce and philanthropy. “You should be a helping hand to others,” he said. The MLK Day of Service, he said, helps expands how students view volunteering because they are assigned places and jobs that they know little or nothing about. “This just shows your dedication to service.” On Monday he was one of the crew helping to building 15 mini-libraries, a project sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and the Rotary Club. Addie Lytle, a first year film student, was also on that crew. As part of the Chapman Learning Community participation in the day was mandatory. Still she was excited to participate, and hopes to be involved throughout her BGSU career. This was her first experience with the Day of Service, but not with volunteering. She has traveled to Hawaii to plant trees to improve the habitat for endangered bird species. Volunteering, she said, will provide experience that she needs as a filmmaker. “You have to work with a lot of people, a lot of moving parts. You need people skills.” Interim President Rodney Rogers said the Day of Service is an integral part of BGSU’s mission. “An important part of education is to making sure we have well rounded, engaged citizens. As a public university, we take that very seriously. This is where the…


Volunteers stepping up to serve on MLK holiday

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Martin Luther King Jr, Day is a holiday for people to step up and serve their community. Though the city’s King tribute scheduled Friday had to be canceled because of the winter storm, volunteers were out Saturday morning going door to door for the 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service “Can” vass Food Drive. Now coordinated by the Brown Bag Food Project, the drive helps stock the shelves for a number of area food pantries. (See related story  http://bgindependentmedia.org/volunteers-needed-to-help-mlk-day-of-service-food-drive-extend-its-reach/) Amy Jeffers, a Brown Bag board member, said as of the noon shift, 75 people had signed in. Groups of volunteers headed out into the northwest quadrant of the city to collect food stuffs. “We’ll move on from there,” Jeffers said. The table in the middle of Grounds for Thought, headquarters for the food drive, was filling up with spaghetti sauce, canned vegetables and more. “It’s been nice and steady,” she said. “It’s really starting to grow. … They’re really filling the bags.” The drive will extend throughout the city through Sunday. The cold weather is slowing progress some, but Jeffers said the amount collected is the same or more than last year. Jeffers has worked every drive since it started in response to President Obama’s call for to service. Anyone interested in donating can drop of food, hygiene products or monetary gifts at the shop at 174 S. Main St. in downtown Bowling Green. Volunteers will be out from noon to 5 pm. Sunday, but the tables will be set up in the morning for anyone who wants to drop something off. The volunteers are both community members and students. “We get a lot of BGSU students” including a contingent from the women’s swim team Molly Wells, a journalism major was on hand, helping to sort food as it came in. She heard about the drive through her sorority, Sigma Kappa. She also knew about the food drive through a fellow journalism student’s story. “My family has always been very big into volunteering,” Wells said. “My dad volunteers at a soup kitchen downtown Toledo. … I’ve grown up with it. It’s part of my family values. … It’s not only good way to get out and experience new things, it’s a good thing to do. I don’t even think twice of it.” She’ll be back Sunday to continue helping. She missed the signup for Monday’s campus Day of Service, but she’s hoping she can find a way to help. She’s participated in the Day of Service the past three years. “This gives a new spin to what you can do with your time,” Wells said. “It carries a message of what you can do every weekend, every month.” On Monday, more than 800 students will participate in Day of Service projects. Those projects will include building…


Volunteers needed to help MLK Day of Service food drive extend its reach

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Martin Luther King Day of Service “Can”vas Food Drive hopes to extend its reach. Now in its 10th year, organizer Amy Jo Holland, of the Brown Bag Food Project, said she’d like to reach the homes throughout town. That means putting out a call for volunteers, about 300 is what she thinks will be needed. The food drive will be held Saturday, Jan. 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 14, noon to 4 p.m. Last year, Holland said, the canvassers covered the north side of the city and some of the south. “We hope this year we can cover it all.” Volunteer sign up is just getting underway. The organizers have started reaching out to groups at Bowling Green State University as well as community groups. Holland is well aware of people’s reluctance to commit, but is confident as the date nears community members will enlist. Some volunteers will hang back at the collection site, Grounds for Thought, and help sort the food that comes. That means setting aside items beyond their sell-by dates. As long as they are not too old, some pantries can still use those. Most of the volunteers will join small teams of canvassers going door-to-door through Bowling Green neighborhoods collecting non-perishable food and others necessities. Especially needed are peanut and jelly, tuna, and canned meats. They are also collecting hygiene items, baby formula, wipes, and diapers, and pet food. This year seven food shelters will share in the bounty. Those benefiting are: Brown Bag Food Project, the Christian Food Pantry, and pantries operated by St. Aloysius, St. Thomas More, St. Mark’s Lutheran, Broken Chains, and First United Methodist Church. Each received about 30 boxes of food last year. “For us it’ll maintain us through May,” Holland said of Brown Bag. It certainly will not meet all the food needs of the 300 people a month Brown Bag helps, but it’ll provide an essential core of the food deliveries, and means the project will have to buy less to meet the need. The food drive was started in 2009 in the wake of the election of Barack Obama. Some of his supporters wanted to sustain the energy of the campaign through community service. Brown Bag decided to continue it several years ago. Brown Bag has its niche. It provides short-term emergency food supplies with the minimum of paperwork. Other pantries have other niches, so it’s natural for them to work together. “There are people they get that we don’t get,” Holland said. “The ultimate goal is to make sure people are getting fed.”


Salvation Army in need of grocery gift cards

From THE SALVATION ARMY BOWLING GREEN CENTER The Salvation Army will be distributing holiday food baskets and toys to over 250 families on Wednesday, December 20. The food baskets consist of a basic holiday meal, however we rely on gift card donations for our families to purchase the meat for their holiday baskets. Over 600 families have preregistered for Christmas assistance throughout Wood County; many have been sponsored by individuals, businesses, organizations and churches. Families who have not been sponsored will pick up their items on the 20th. We are grateful we are continuing to receive toy donations; however, we are also in immediate need of gift cards from any local grocery store in $10-$20 increments. These gift cards will allow our families to purchase the meat to complete their holiday food baskets. Please drop off gift card donations at The Salvation Army office located at 1045 N. Main St. in the Marco’s Pizza plaza. Our office hours are Monday thru Friday 9:00 am to Noon and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Thank you for your continued support of The Salvation Army’s holiday programs. For any questions or to learn more about The Salvation Army, please contact our office at (419) 352-5918.