Kiwanis Wishing Tree project a success 12.17.08

Written by David Green.

Donna Dickson isn’t sure what year it was that she first started helping with the Kiwanis Club Wishing Tree food distribution, but she does recall how it happened.

Gayle Van Havel saw her downtown and said she needed help sorting food for delivery. Donna showed up to help and she and her husband, Dave, have been steady sorters every year since.

In fact, the Dicksons eventually took over the project themselves. Every December, they head out to the Morenci Area EMS meeting room to face the stacks of donated food and perishables.

As the project grew over the years, so did the quantity of food stored in the facility. With more food, there’s less room for people walking the skinny aisles between tables of boxes and food items.

It was easier, Dave said, for just the two of them to get the job done. They’ve developed their own method and it serves them well.

Once the food is sorted, cardboard boxes with the address of the recipients are filled with items.

The Dicksons start with the largest families and work their way down to single individuals.

What happens if there are boxes remaining and food is running short?

“We call Rosemary Dickerson and she goes shopping,” Donna said.

The Morenci Kiwanis Club has a few “shopping elves” who make sure there’s an adequate supply for everyone on the list.

The Kiwanis Club relies heavily on donations from area residents, but this year items were also obtained from the South Central Michigan Food Bank in Battle Creek. Dickerson and her sister, Cheryl, along with Kiwanian Mike Broge, drove a trailer to the bank for a quick shopping trip.

Members of the high school Volunteer Club will help the Kiwanians deliver food and gifts this weekend.

“This is the largest year I’ve ever seen,” Dickerson said, but through the generosity of people, the needs are being filled. “Morenci is taking care of Morenci again.”

In addition to the groceries, the children from families in need will receive gifts of clothing and other items.

Three Wishing Trees were decorated with stars—each one representing the needs of area children who are in need of assistance.

Dickerson had some concerns about filling the needs, but in the end, nearly every star was taken by someone. Those left were collected by the Kiwanis Club and once again, the elves went to work.

This year, 114 families were on a list needing food and 190 stars were on the Wishing Trees.

Gifts are generally kept at United Bank and Trust where Dickerson works, but not this time.

“We outgrew the bank this year,” she said, and the gifts were taken to Church of the Nazarene to prepare for delivery.

Kiwanis president Dennis Owens said that each food box contains about $100 worth of food and gifts purchased probably average about $40.

“That’s close to $20,000 of generosity,” he said.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016