On-campus, local organizations dream of a bright Christmas for all

Desiree Bartoe

The holiday season is a time of joy and giving, which is why several members of local organizations decided to volunteer their time to give less fortunate people the gift of Christmas cheer.

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Breakfast with Santa

Community members along with children and volunteers of Big Brothers Big Sisters will gather Saturday to celebrate Christmas at Breakfast with Santa.

“We do this breakfast, one, because we make funds that operate our organization and, two, because it is a fun event,” said Ron Kilchenman, associate director of Big Brothers and Sisters of Portage County. “Everyone enjoys spending time together during the holiday season.”

During the event, children will be able to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. They will also receive “goody bags” and have the opportunity to take a picture with Santa, Kilchenman said. Adults attending the breakfast will have a chance to win door prizes donated by local establishments.

Applebee’s, the founder of the breakfast, will provide food. Every year, the restaurant chooses a local organization to host the event. The organization chosen receives all the donations from the breakfast. Big Brothers Big Sisters has been the host for the last three years.

Last year, Big Brothers Big Sisters had 111 participants and received $750. It is expecting 120 guests this year.

“We have about six brother and sister pairs,” Kilchenman said. “They like doing this together; it gets them in the Christmas spirit. The kids come to meet Santa, their eyes light up, and they just have a good time.”

Professional Women of KSU’s Holiday Peace Baskets

Professional Women of KSU is helping spread Christmas cheer by donating peace baskets to needy families. The baskets are filled with donated items, including kitchen utensils, school supplies and grooming products.

“We want to give items that seem to be missing in people’s lives,” said Louise Ditchey, member of Professional Women of KSU and Graduate School of Management program director. “The baskets are made with everyday items that would be helpful to people during the holiday season so their money could be saved for Christmas gifts for their family.”

All baskets are donated to the King-Kennedy Community Center in Ravenna, which then distributes them to needy families in the area.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the peace baskets. To commemorate the anniversary, the Professional Women of KSU has organized knitting groups that are creating hand-knit scarves for the baskets.

The organization is asking for Kent State student, faculty and staff volunteers to assemble the peace baskets Saturday at the College of Business.

“This is a great way for students to see people that aren’t as lucky as they are,” Ditchey said. “Not everyone has all the benefits we have in life. It is reaching out to people who don’t have as many opportunities and are from different walks of life.”

Habitat for Humanity’s Operation Christmas Child

Members and friends of Kent State Habitat for Humanity have recently participated in Operation Christmas Child, a national project of Samaritan’s Purse. According to its Web site, Operation Christmas Child “brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes and the Good News of God’s love.”

Habitat Members collected shoe boxes and sent them to Operation Christmas Child on Nov. 17.

“We have been doing this for years,” said Liz Roberts, member of Habitat for Humanity and senior interior design major. “It really holds a lot of components of Habitat – helping others, giving to others.”

Habitat participants created age and gender specific shoe boxes, which included toothbrushes, soap, balls, dolls and games, said Angie Hackworth, president of Kent State Habitat for Humanity and junior middle childhood education major.

“Just as we are giving to the community by building houses, we wanted to give to the children of the world,” Roberts said.

Contact social services reporter Desiree Bartoe at [email protected].


Saturday, Dec. 9 from 8:30 to 10 a.m.

Streetsboro Applebee’s, 1200 state Route 303

Tickets are $9 for adults; $6 for children ages 2 to 12; and free for children under 2.


Saturday, Dec. 9 from 9 to 11 a.m.

or 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Room 483, Business Administration Building

People can also help by donating items to Room A310 in Business Administration Building.