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.

  • Homecoming Court
    HOMECOMING—One senior candidate will be chosen Morenci’s fall homecoming queen during half-time ceremonies Friday at the football field. In the back row are seniors Mikayla Price, who will be escorted by Mason Vaughn; Madison Bachman, escorted by Kiegan Merillat, and Mikayla Reinke, escorted by Griffin Grieder. Senior Ariana Roseman is absent from the photo. Her escort is Garrett Smith. In the front is sophomore Abbie White, who will be escorted by Ryder Price; junior Madysen Schmitz, escorted by Harley McCaskey and freshman Madison Keller, escorted by Jarett Cook.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • 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

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