United Way of Wood County

‘Chocolate Crawl’ proves to be a sweet success

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Downtown Bowling Green has seen its share of bar crawls. But Friday’s crawl was different – this one was for chocolate craving patrons. “We’re getting chocolate wasted tonight,” Brenda Rausch said with a smile, as she and friends left a store after gathering a chocolate treat. The Chocolate Crawl, which kicked off Bowling Green’s Winterfest Chillabration weekend, involved 18 downtown stores, and raised money for United Way of Wood County. Since this was the first Chocolate Crawl in Bowling Green, the thought was to start out small. But once the word was out, the tickets went like – well, candy. The goal to sell 200 tickets was quickly surpassed, with the sales finally cut off at 400. “We could have sold a lot more tickets,” said Sue Clanton, director of the United Way in Wood County. Participants were given golden tickets promising “chocolate treats beyond your wildest dreams.” They were also given downtown maps with red hearts signifying each of the 18 businesses handing out chocolate delicacies. The stores participating in the Chocolate Crawl provided their own treats, Clanton said. “They came up with whatever they wanted to serve,” she said. For Waddington Jewelers, that meant a chocolate fountain. For the Cookie Jar, that meant chocolate cookies warm from the oven. And for Reverend’s Bar & Grill, that meant choco-tinis – at least for those crawlers over age 21. “Everybody’s come up with something unique,” Clanton said. As Brenda Rausch, Pam Irwin, Jolynn Feather and Erika Harris made their way on the crawl, they visited shops they had not been in before. “I’m going to come back here,” Rausch said about the Painted Clovers shop. “It’s a great thing for the community to bring people downtown,” Irwin said. About an hour into the Chocolate Crawl, the women’s favorite was the chocolate cupcakes from Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Retro. Later along the chocolate tour, the group had a new favorite – the chocolate martinis. “This is worth every hot flash we’ve had this evening,” Irwin said. Elsewhere on the crawl, Kelly Driver and Tara Barker came prepared with bags to carry home their chocolate goodies. “Our favorite so far is the Eden brownies,” from Eden Fashion Boutique, with the chocolate doughtnut holes and hot cocoa from Grounds for Thought coming in second, Driver said. At Waddington Jewelers, people lined up to drench marshmallows…


1,000 backpacks to help kids start back to school

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Angela Jones, of Weston, had no idea how she was going to afford school supplies for her six children this year. She found the answer with a little help from local agencies, businesses and churches. Mary Jane Perez, of Perrysburg, agonized over those same concerns for her five grandchildren. She estimated it would cost at least $300 to get the grandchildren started in school. “It’s very expensive right now,” Perez said. But her mind was eased a bit Wednesday as she carried out five new backpacks loaded with school supplies. Her grandchildren tried them on and checked out the contents. “I picked mine out,” her youngest granddaughter said, showing off her pink camo print backpack. Jones picked out bookbags for her children, and said each child had also gotten vouchers for new shoes to start off the school year. Her worries, however, were not over. “I don’t even know how I’m going to get them clothes this year.” More than 500 backpacks were ready for families to pick up Wednesday at the Back to School Fair at Woodland Mall, organized by the Salvation Army and United Way. The fair was scheduled to start at 3 p.m. “At 1 o’clock they started showing up,” said Sue Clanton, director of United Way of Wood County. Half of the 500 bags were gone in the first hour, she said. “School supplies are a huge thing for families.” Earlier this week, an additional 500 backpacks, stuffed with school supplies were given out by Wood County Job and Family Services to families who could show financial need. Sixty vouchers were also given to children to go shopping for new shoes. Kids were also given socks, hats and gloves for colder weather. Those backpacks also had some hygiene items tucked in, like soap, shampoo and toothpaste, said Shannon Fisher and RoxAnn Neifer, both of Job and Family Services. “A lot of the schools were telling us kids are coming to school without using hygiene products,” Neifer said. “They were ecstatic,” Neifer said about the children’s reactions as they opened up the backpacks. “There was one girl really excited about a toothbrush,” Fisher said. Fisher estimated it costs about $100 to fill an average school backpack. “And that’s just general supplies,” she said. That’s why local organizations try to help families send their children off to school with the…