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Holiday Highlights

Salvation Army hosts Project RISE Harvest Dinner

12/13/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Photos courtesy of Project RISE
WEST AKRON — On Nov. 19, the Salvation Army hosted the fifth annual Project RISE Parent RISE-ing Harvest Dinner for 156 guests, including students and families in homeless situations in the Akron Public School District.

The Harvest Dinner gives these families and youths who are experiencing homelessness the opportunity to celebrate this festive time of year with food, fun and friendship, according to Project RISE officials.

Jennifer Sullivan, Rachel Matejin and Rachel Breece, Project RISE staff members, and Emily Stranges, Project RISE intern, coordinated the event with Terrie Lutz, of the Salvation Army.

Kenmore High School’s Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), led by Family and Consumer Science teacher Cheryl Marez, brought 13 turkeys and 10 pies and helped set up, serve food and clean up. Some of the participating students are shown at right top serving guests. Students, staff and teachers from Kenmore High School donated enough money to allow the FCCLA to purchase 11 turkeys. Upon purchasing the turkeys from Acme Fresh Market, the store manager donated two more for the Harvest Dinner, according to Project RISE officials.

Andra Hudak’s Advanced Food Preparation class from The University of Akron donated stuffing. Other local shelters and Project RISE representatives provided the other side dishes and desserts, as well as more turkeys. Project RISE Advisory Council member Pat Westfall bought and prepared three turkeys, and Catholic Worker Community of Akron representatives prepared two turkeys.

After the meal, the students split up into several age groups for activities provided by Project RISE staff members Cindy Palumbo and Nancy Joseph, as well as Rachel Breece, of Art for Everyone, and Kathy Martin and Robyn Vittek, from The Akron-Summit County Public Library.

The parents worked on a group project with Bridgette Hopson, of Mothers Assisting Mothers.

Chuck Bell and Pat Bell, of First Book, also attended, giving new books to each student and younger children.

After the activities, the students and families had the opportunity to watch traditional Native American dances performed by the Tonweya Dancers, shown above right bottom, of Boy Scout Troop No. 74, from Firestone Park United Methodist Church. At the end, the guests were invited to join the dancers.

The Akron-Summit County Public Library donated 15 boxes of used books for the students and families to take after the dinner and entertainment, according to Project RISE.

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