22. December 2011 09:33
Every year, Hope Village residents and staff look forward to a Christmastime tradition. That's when Freda Kirby, 93, puts her animated, musical Christmas toys on display around the lobby for all to use and enjoy.
"Although she is of the Jewish faith, Freda is always the first to share the joy of the season by doing this for us," said John DeMarsh, Hope Village marketing director.
Freda came to Hope Village in Traverse City in 2001 from Ohio, where her late husband, Harold, had been a gifted nuclear research scientist known for his work with radioactive isotopes. Freda had been a school teacher. Harold and Freda never had children, but they loved their two nieces and nephew from Elk Rapids, Michigan, like they were their own kids.
Every Christmas since Freda's arrival at Hope Village, her nephew Kenny has given her one or two of these fun toys as a tribute to her beloved husband.
"Harold was known to spend hours explaining different scientific ideas to Kenny while Freda and Kenny's sisters were off shopping together," said DeMarsh. Freda's collection is growing, with more than a dozen fascinating toys to entertain all who touch them to start the movements and music.
21. December 2011 11:42
The Lansing office, Services for Children & Families, held a door-decorating contest for staff. The doors were decorated between Thanksgiving and the first week of December. Jill Peck, director of Quality Assurance, was the guest judge. First place was awarded to Bobbie Harden and Danielle Guty for their snowman door. Second place went to Michael Banks for his Naughty and Nice door (with lots of debate around the office about who was going on which list). Honorable emtnions wen to Andrew Martineau and megan Karinen, who used a Twelve Days of Christmas them, Jill Frame, Ashley Hayden and Nichole Hoerner for their door decorated with stockings, and Paula Bashore, who used a penguin/winter wonderland motif.
8. December 2011 11:12
As they have since 1984, the families of students at Cedar Crest Academy in Clarkston will “adopt” some of the families being served by Lutheran Social Services of Michigan at Christmas, providing them a bounty of gifts. This year, the Cedar Crest families will travel to Lutheran Social Services’ Refugee Services training center in Madison Heights on Saturday, Dec. 10, laden with gifts for seven Iraqi refugee families. The school families will meet the families they’ve “adopted,” share a pizza lunch and then deliver the gifts to the refugees’ homes.
“We bring one wrapped gift for each of the children with us to the party and leave the rest of the gifts in our cars, because there’s a lot,” said Karen Jbara, whose three children attended Cedar Crest Academy, an independent private pre-K – 8th grade school. “Before you know it, the kids are kicking around a soccer ball or working on a puzzle or game together. It provides an opportunity for the children to bond and have something in common.”
The Cedar Crest families enjoy learning more about the refugee families, sometimes with the help of an interpreter. “It’s especially educational for the children,” said Jbara. “It’s humbling for them to realize that these people have needs for things like sheets and pots and pans that are very basic.”
Cedar Crest has been adopting families for Christmas since the school opened. “The opportunity to share our blessings with local families is valuable to us,” said school director Bette Moen. “How proud our students are of the mounting heap of needed items in their classroom, which will disappear into good hands. For the youngest of us, it is an unknown story to learn the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants.’ Oh, the lessons to be learned!”
15. November 2011 16:08
Our Kalamazoo office, Services for Children and Families, is once again selling their famous Cookies in a Jar. These kits were created by volunteers from SWELL (Sharing With Everyone Lutheran Love), and they make great holiday gifts for only $5. Add your own butter or shortening, eggs and vanilla -- the jar has everything else you need to make two or three dozen tasty chocolate chip cookies. Supplies are limited. You can pick them up at our Detroit administrative center, 8131 E. Jefferson Ave., or at the Kalamazoo office, 1803 Whites Road, Suite 5. Proceeds from the sale are used to help foster children and families in Southwest Michigan.
23. December 2010 10:10
The Chaldean American Student Association (CASA) of Oakland University raised more than $6,400 through donations to make Christmas truly special for the neediest refugee families served by Lutheran Social Services. CASA selected 53 kids, who were each partnered with a “Big Buddy.” Each child received a $60 gift card to Target, and their buddies helped them buy Christmas presents for everyone in their families. Afterwards, the group met at a nearby church to wrap the gifts and enjoy a holiday celebration that included a visit from Santa Claus. Each child received a gift from their wish list and a large stocking filled with goodies. The children also received a new coats and boots for the cold winter that many of them are experiencing for the first time.
21. December 2010 10:49
The Allen Manor resident was in a bind. She had called a cab to go to the doctor and paid the fare for a round trip – but the driver never returned to pick her up. Another patient became aware of her problem, and when his brother-in-law came to pick him up, the two men offered to bring the resident back to Allen Manor in Grand Rapids. Lonnie McCaleb, the driver, stopped in at the office to tell manager Kimberly Sleet the story. Allen Manor has 24 HUD-subsidized apartments for low-income seniors. McCaleb, a caterer, was so impressed by the building and the residents that he offered to bring every resident a Christmas Eve dinner. “He didn’t want to imagine any senior without a holiday dinner,” said Kimberly. “He said this is his chance to give back to the community for the many blessings he has had.”
A story about delivering the Christmas Eve dinners appeared in the Grand Rapids Press on Dec. 25, 2010. Read it here.
4. January 2010 11:49
Five Heartline residents joined Director Mary Ellen White on December 19 to sing Christmas carols along East Grand Boulevard. Residents of the buildings – mostly nursing homes and adult foster care homes – came to the windows or doors and some sang along. On Christmas Day, Mary Ellen and 10 of her residents joined 100 other volunteers to pack food for Meals on Wheels. They worked from 5:45 a.m. until 8:30 a.m., making nearly 5,800 meals. “The women really appreciated going, and I appreciated their giving of themselves,” said Mary Ellen. Heartline is a residential center in Detroit that serves women leaving prison.