CCS plans busy fall, winter events scheduleWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
The Christ Child Society (CCS) of Toledo will be busy this fall and winter with several programs benefiting underprivileged children.
Working for children, especially those stricken by poverty, is CCS’ main purpose. “It’s very important to us because most of us have been able to attain an education and a status in life, and to leave behind those who need a handout would just be wrong,” said chapter president, Mary Murnen. Mary Virginia Merrick, who was confined to a wheelchair most of her life, founded CCS in Washington, D.C., in 1887. The organization is active in 17 states.
One of the Toledo chapter’s programs this fall was putting together layettes, packages containing clothing and supplies for newborns. CCS members gathered Oct. 11 for the Ninth Annual Red Wagon Shower at Brandywine County Club to assemble the 800 layettes. Members will present them to social workers, who will distribute them to new mothers, at the Mercy Professional Building on Oct. 25.
“It makes a big difference. Many newborns coming home from the hospital have nothing to come home in,” said Kitsie Valiton, a CCS member in charge of public relations.
Another major fall program for CCS is Clothe-a-Child. On November Saturdays through Nov. 19, members will distribute brand-new, cold-weather clothing to needy children. Families are given vouchers for coats that they take to the Mercy Professional Building on those days. CCS raises funds for the clothing, which comes in sizes for 18-month-olds to child size 16, through fundraisers and donations.
Murnen remembered one little girl “busting out of her coat,” who put on her new jacket, “and, oh my gosh, tears came to my eyes, she was so excited. She just danced around.”
Many of CCS’ other programs last all year. Parenting Today’s Kids teaches parents sent by the courts or children services “better ways to handle their kids,” Murnen said. Although many parents don’t want to be there in the beginning, “after about two weeks, that all changes and they become friends with each other and a support group for each other,” Murnen said. However, the class can only admit 16 people at a time. CCS previously offered a support group for graduates of the program, but had to cut it after losing part of its United Way funding.
In addition to several literacy programs, CCS also hosts Theatre Vision Interactive. For three weeks, about 90 children are taught about the different stages of caterpillar metamorphosis and proper social skills, all in preparation for a performance of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” at the Valentine Theatre.
CCS also partners with Lourdes University to host the Life Lab. All year long, CCS takes underprivileged students on field trips to a school lab, which teaches children about botany and biology and lets them interact with animals.
The 220 CCS volunteers completed more than 12,000 hours of community service during the past year, according to a news release. They are in the process of setting up a website at www.christchildsocietyoftoledo.org, which will include a page for donations. In the mean time, send donations to Mary Murnen, P.O. Box 352254, Toledo, OH 43635. For more information, visit www.national christchildsoc.org.
— Brigitta Burks