groups help out
less fortunate during holiday season
By Jeff Gallatin
Published Dec. 22, 2004
the holiday season can present many challenges to families and people
who aren’t as well off but different agencies and groups rise to
the occasion and offer a variety of assistance to those in need.
North Olmsted as a city and the Westshore in general is a very giving
community,” said Don Copeland, director of Human Resources for the
city of North Olmsted. “We as a city try and set up the programs
to try and offer assistance by ourselves as well as with other groups
with the changing economic climate through the last few years, there
are families and people who can use some help — particularly during
the holiday season.
“There are about
12,000 households in North Olmsted and about 1 in 12 of those can
qualify for some kind of assistance,” Copeland said. “What we try
to do is match them up with a program which suits their particular
need. We also try and spread it around to different people.”
for example, if a family is on one program, the city wouldn’t place
it on some of the others. He also said the city tries not to have
the same family year after year if at all possible.
“We offer the
assistance we can but we also try and work with them toward becoming
more self-sufficient when they can,” he said.
lauded other groups such as the city employees, firefighters and
the North Olmsted city schools as well as lauding other groups such
“We have some
great partners who are very sensitive to the needs of people,” Copeland
said. “All of the people are very good at working with the community
Mary Ann Pack
of the city cited the Adopt-a-Family program that the city works
with the schools on.
“All the kids
and people at the schools do a great job of helping these people
out,” Pack said. “The kids come over and help us pack the different
groceries up for these families and then we get them over to them.”
said helping out people is a long-standing tradition for North Olmsted.
who helped found the SITES (Social Involvement Through Educational
Services) program, said the program aids both the people receiving
assistance as well as the students.
“It’s good experience
for the students to learn a little about what is going on around
them,” Pierce said.
He said the
SITES program for example works with seniors and other city residents
all through the year.
to help out during the holidays, but we also do other things throughout
the year,” Pierce said.
who has been on the North Olmsted School Board for more than 20
years, said having students involved in more than just academic
activities is a vital part of education.
“You need more
than just the classroom experience,” Frazier said. “Programs like
SITES can make an impact in the community and provide some assistance
for people who might not get it. It also gives the students experience
in different areas of the community and with different people and
a member of Saint Richard Parish and a wide assortment of religious
and service-oriented organizations, said those groups try and cast
as wide a net as possible in offering help. She cited organizations
such as the St. Vincent DePaul Society and Isabella Guild as offering
has been working with the St. Vincent DePaul Society for 45 years
so it’s been successful for a long time,” McKay said. “It raised
over $7,000 to help people just through October of this year. It’s
also donated many more items to different people and organizations.”
McKay also recalled
church groups helping veterans at the VFW hospital in Brecksville
with clothes and gifts for their family during the holidays.
things that they couldn’t get for themselves ad we were glad to
offer them assistance,” she said.
pastoral associate for Saint Richard, said the entire church lends
a hand when it is needed.
“We have blanket
Sunday where blankets are collected and later distributed to various
people,” O’Donnell said. “Children at the church and school collect
canned goods and also go out and help people when they need it.”
that offers assistance is the Associate Lodge 28, of the Fraternal
Order of Police, the Western Cuyahoga County communities.
Jim Calvitti, said the organization raises funds and gets gift cards
for food and necessities to distribute to different families during
the holidays. He said officers appreciate being able to give some
resources to those who need it.
“We try and
give a little back to the communities where we work,” Calvitti said.
“The cards go out to about a dozen cities and organizations in the