Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

January 25, 2014

Jan. 25, 2014: Cheers & Jeers

Kokomo Tribune

---- — ‘Heavenly souls who care’

The staff and board of the Mental Health Association send this Cheer:

“The Mental Health Association would like to gratefully thank the volunteers, businesses and donations made during the holiday season.

“To the United Way, staff, loan associates and board of directors, for working the campaign to keep all the non-profits running. What a great group of people. To Community Howard Regional Health for collaborating with MHA in dealing with shared clients. Thanks, Jim Alender and all his staff.

“To WWKI, We Care and all the volunteers that make this event a great one. We receive monies to buy, wrap and staff a program called ‘Christmas Gift Lift.’ It served more than 600 people this year (the largest ever in 63 years of origin) and made a great many consumers happy and less-stressed. To Jean Lushin and the Center Township Trustee’s Office for supporting our Social Club and the community with needed assistance. To the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library and Lisa Fipps for making MHA the recipient of their wreath auction and for thinking of those in nursing homes and group homes who do not receive gifts, except the ones given by MHA. To the Rotary Early Morning Risers for donating new cardigan sweaters for those in the nursing homes. These are a needed items to keep those patients warm. To Wal-Mart for volunteering their employees for wrapping and giving through the Wal-Mart Grant Foundation financial assistance with the Gift Lift. To Wal-Mart, Kmart and Big Lots for donating items for our clients to enjoy. To Sunsout Puzzle Co. for donating new and large puzzles for Christmas. Clients with time on their hands really need and enjoy things like puzzles to keep them busy and happy.

“These businesses are very community orientated, and we appreciate them for helping others: Kroger’s for faithfully (every week) giving food so we can serve the clients at Social Club and give any remaining to other non-profits to help feed mutual consumers. Kokomo Perspective and Kokomo Tribune for printing stories on mental health problems and many of our programs. Thanks to both, especially Alyx Arnett and Carson Gerber. Panera Bread and Coca-Cola (Craig, a big community guy) for always coming through when needed. Bless you both. Tom Rethlake and Eriks Chevrolet for keeping our van on the road to pick up clients and donations. Food Finders (Lafayette), which got us non-food salvage to give to our community in the way of basic needs. Bucheri, McCarty and Metz, along with Half Moon Restaurant, for their generous donations. Community First Bank (Sally Duke) and Ivy Tech College (Sally Vyain), who collected new items such as hygiene products, DVDs and CDs to place in the Christmas bags. Local churches who hosted events such as the Center Road Church of Christ (Rusty Maynard), who every year has generously given our clients a Thanksgiving dinner, and their youth group who decorate the Gift Lift bags with their own personal art. First Baptist Church’s Women of Faith who bake and decorate birthday cakes for Social Club when we celebrate all the clients who were born in a certain month. Mennonite Church, which feeds the consumers from the Logansport State Hospital a Christmas feast. Onward Christian Church, which made the Christmas cupcakes for one of the Christmas parties. Yum!

“Chapter J Gold Wingers annually serves food (which they have cooked and brought) along with the Kokomo Eye Care Associates (their first time, and they did great) for the two Christmas parties for Social Club. Sally Duke, who sings carols beautifully, and Lin and Carol Ortman, who play Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus (every year) hand out gifts to all. Thanks to these great volunteers. Wrappers include Zeta Tau Delta Sorority, Eastern Star, Wal-Mart employees, Women of Faith Group, Women’s Breakfast Club (retired from Delco and Delphi), along with Pat Renshaw, Carol Monroe, Joe Breedlove, Carol Smith with all MHA staff. Shelly Cunningham, who made approximately 150 scarves for our clients who walk in the elements. They were warm and nicely made. Vicki Boles and her Maple Crest Student Council, who made Christmas place mats and helped wrap also. Other school groups that assisted with Social Club were FBLA (Vicki Geheb) from Kokomo High School (and were judges for our Halloween party) and Taylor Key Club. We have some awesome students in this community. Tom Barry Sr. and Tom Barry Jr. for donating one night a month to karaoke with the Social Club participants who definitely appreciate the entertainment. Others who make Social Club fun are Silas Murphy for being a DJ, and Marty Harris as Elvis. Could not make happy times at Social Club without these people. The Masonic Temple is the site for all Gift Lift and Social Club events. Thanks to the Masons for giving us the three huge rooms to be able to do these programs.

“Volunteers at Social Club are Cindy Krause, Pat Renshaw, Janet Dollman, Carol Monroe, Dennis Bennet, Maria McCoy, Jessica and Olivia Thomas, Joe Breedlove, Kent and Jeanette Land, Pam Tina, Beth Donovan and MHA’s board of directors.

“Tony Arnett and Zach Rodman (thanks for your expertise), who taught a group how to defend themselves through our safety program. We have wonderful people in uniforms everywhere.

“Purdue University’s MFRI program for the VA grant to keep our Vets Support Group running smoothly with materials, rent, food, etc. This program has allowed vets to feel better and make some new friends.

“Primrose Retirement for hosting the widows’ Christmas party. Thanks to Linda Yoder for organizing this event. Adam Renshaw for thoughtfully giving toward a newer van. What a pay forward.

“To all the donors who gave money, material items and their time, who understand the need to help those who are physically and mentally ill. You all are heavenly souls who care. Bless you.”