FOLLANSBEE - Children will benefit from the efforts of Follansbee-area groups that observed Make a Difference Day by raising $10,000 for several local charities.
Members of the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce and other groups gathered on Nov. 5 to present checks to several child-oriented causes.
The recipients were:
MANY BENEFITING — Many will benefit from the efforts of Follansbee groups observing Make a Difference Day. Receiving checks at the Nov. 5 Follansbee Chamber of Commerce meeting were, from left, Vito “Skip” and Kayla Cutrone, for the Mozingo family, who lost their home in the Oct. 11 natural gas explosion; the Rev. Joe Cuomo of Christian Assembly of Follansbee, for the church’s after-school program; Rhonda Stubbs, executive director of A Child’s Place Court-Appointed Special Advocate; Gene Chadwell of Hooverson Heights Church of Christ, for backpacks filled with food for children at Hooverson Heights Primary School; Denise Spencer of the Brooke County Clothes Closet; and Angela Kocher, Retired Senior Volunteer Program executive director, for the group’s after-school program. - Warren Scott
The Brooke County Clothes Closet, which received $500 to provide clothing to children in need from several Brooke County Schools. Volunteers with the Brooke County PTA use monetary donations to purchase underwear and socks and other clothing needed to supplement used clothing donations from the community.
Hooverson Heights Church of Christ, which received $600 for food given to children in need at Hooverson Heights Primary School. The food is packed in backpacks taken home by the children on weekends.
The Brooke-Hancock-Ohio-Marshall Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, and the Christian Assembly of Follansbee, which each received $500 for after-school programs in which volunteers provide homework assistance and recreational activities for children.
A Child's Place Court-Appointed Special Advocate program, $500 for its efforts to provide trained volunteers who visit the homes of children in Brooke and Hancock counties whose parents or guardians have been sentenced for child abuse or neglect or related crimes to ensure they are meeting court-ordered conditions, such as counseling, and the home environment is safe.
A $500 check also was presented to the Cutrone family to add to funds raised through a spaghetti dinner at their restaurant, Vito's 2, for the Mozingo family.
In all, $16,400 was raised by the dinner for the family, who lost a daughter and their home in the Oct. 11 natural gas explosion.
Chamber President Tony Paesano noted contributions of $2,000, from Wheeling-Nisshin for a backpack food program conducted by St. Anthony Catholic Church for children at Jefferson Primary School; and $1,000, from attorneys Frank and Jason Cuomo for the Follansbee R.E.A.C.H. Program, a local food pantry; were made at the chamber's kickoff meeting for Make a Difference Day.
Observed annually on the fourth Saturday of October, Make a Difference Day is promoted by USA Weekend to encourage participation in community service projects.
The chamber and Follansbee area groups have participated in each of the event's 23 years with activities that extended beyond that day.
Paesano noted various civic groups, churches and schools have been involved.
In conjunction with Make a Difference Day, students at Brooke High School raised $4,000 to help the Follansbee Lions Club provide free vision screenings and eyeglasses to seniors in need.
Toni Shute, school principal and Paesano's daughter, said homerooms at the school were challenged to raise the most money in the school-wide collection, with a pizza party or breakfast at a local fast food restaurant going to eight that raised $150 or more.
Paesano noted this month and next the school will be conducting its holiday collection of nonperishable food for the Follansbee R.E.A.C.H. Program.
Last year the school collected more than 3,000 canned goods and other food items for the food pantry.
Paesano said he's pleased with the results of this year's efforts.
"The people of our community are so willing to come to the help of anyone in need and that says a lot for the Ohio Valley. I'm just proud to be a part of it," he said.