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The Suburbanite
  • Local group cares, serves together

  • It started in June 2011 as a group of people just wanting to help others.



    It has grown into a full-blown organization that has helped with everything from landscaping to monthly meals to a Christmas gift program.



    C.A.S.T., Caring And Serving Together, is a Canton-based group that works together to serve the public in many different areas.

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  • It started in June 2011 as a group of people just wanting to help others.
    It has grown into a full-blown organization that has helped with everything from landscaping to monthly meals to a Christmas gift program.
    C.A.S.T., Caring And Serving Together, is a Canton-based group that works together to serve the public in many different areas.
    “There were several of us that were in all different places that just wanted to help other people,” said C.A.S.T. representative Karen Shackelford. “It was a miracle that we all came together.”
    One of the members heard of a similar program in St. Louis and helped the group organize locally.
    In August 2011, one of C.A.S.T.’s first projects was helping with landscaping and fundraising at the brand-new Early College Academy on the campus of Canton McKinley High School.
    “There were just a few of us, at that time, but the kids needed school supplies,” Shackelford said.
    “In two weeks’ time, we raised more than $6,800 to buy backpacks filled with supplies.”
    The group serves meals once a month at a different laundromat, where people can do their laundry for free. A full Thanksgiving meal was served a few days before the holiday at Professional Coin Laundry in Canton.
    “It is part of the Laundry and Love program started by Corey Easterday,” Shackelford said. “People are so generous. We have little washing machine donation boxes in some of the local businesses, and people contribute so much to help. I have seen the Lord work in so many ways.”
    This year, the group recently held a program called Affordable Christmas, which made brand new gifts affordable. Individuals and businesses donated a gift, which was sold at a fourth of the original price to families with children up to age 16. Gifts could only cost up to $30, which made the sale price no more than $7.50.
    Shackelford said 92 children and 40 families were helped with the more than 700 donated gifts.
    “C.A.S.T. is one of those groups that, as you go to the meetings, you learn more and more about it,” said advisory board member Ruthanne Wilkof. “You are pumped up before you do the volunteer work, but after you see the results and see the kids and individuals that prosper from our volunteerism, it is so rewarding. It is such a blessing every week as you see more of your friends and neighbors getting involved.”
    C.A.S.T. has applied for a 501c3 and is happy to work with other organizations in Stark County.
    “Together we can make a difference,” Shackelford said. “I have never done anything in my life that has been more fulfilling and made me quit worrying about my own problems than serving others. It is just unbelievable. When you worry about others you don't have to worry about yourself anymore.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Call 330-956-8581 or email caringandservingtogether@gmail.com for more information.