Giving still going on in Lakemore, Springfield

Carolynn Mostyn
Suburbanite correspondent

LAKEMORE  Retired Springfield teacher Cheryl Anderson, of Lakemore, had a struggle of her own after retiring in 2018.

The Springfield Police Department will continue on with its Shop with a Cop event, but will instead be hand delivering toys to children this year.

She spoke about how, at first, she had trouble with meeting all her financial obligations, so food was not always in the picture. Two friends who attend Lakemore United Methodist Church suggested that she go to the food pantry, which she did for three months.

“Eventually, I got my act together,” she said.

When the COVID situation began, she wondered what she could do and knew she could make masks.

“I wanted to do something for the Lakemore United Methodist Church’s generosity,” she said.

Anderson contacted Lakemore Mayor Rich Cole and he gladly accepted the concept. In turn, Anderson has made more than 200 masks and sells them to support the food bank.

Her story is one of many and the village and Springfield Township have many residents that go above and beyond to help others. We do not always know their names, or they do not want credit, they just want to help.

The Lakemore Police Department will not be able to host children and Santa this year, but it is still collected gift cards for children and their families for the holidays.

Recently, many Lakemore and township residents were without power for an extended amount of time because of recent high winds that went through the area. That week there was a much larger than normal amount of people coming to the monthly food bank as they lost food with the loss of power. Pastor Jeff Gindlesberger of Lakemore United Methodist Church said it was due to all the donations of turkeys, food and money that they were able to feed those in need. He said the next day the cupboards were bare but are now becoming refilled due to the generosity of so many.

During that time, volunteers made food and gave their time to put together a hot meal for those affected by the extended power outage. Meals were available for pickup and there were some delivered to people that could not get out. Many of those volunteers were without power themselves. They distributed about 250 meals of spaghetti, green beans, rolls, pears and brownies.

Each year, the two communities work in several ways to help those that might need a hand up during the holidays. Usually, Springfield Cares gathers canned goods through the schools, toys and money are donated through Fill A Cruiser programs by Springfield and Lakemore police departments.

The volunteers of Springfield Cares are not going to allow the coronavirus to stop the organization in their efforts to help those in need at Christmas. Coordinator Nancy Rodrigues said instead of making boxes with food and toys for recipients, they are giving out gift cards to the families keeping a safe environment for everyone. They are taking donations of $25 gift cards.

The Springfield Police Department will continue on with its Shop with a Cop event, but will instead be hand delivering toys to children this year.

They are passing them out via a drive-through pick up at Springfield Assembly of God Church. The police departments are also going to carry through with Fill A Cruisers at the Dollar General and Walmart this weekend.

Nativity of the Lord Jesus Church, Springfield Baptist and Millheim Baptist churches are all doing gift card giving trees for Springfield Cares.

“This year’s Shop With A Cop program will look a little different,” said Coordinator Kate Thurston. “We want to keep our children and their families safe as well as our officers and volunteers. So, we have decided to take Shop With A Cop to them.”

The officers, trustees and volunteers will adopt a child and shop for them. She said every year she calls parents to let them know their child has been selected to participate. This year she is asking for ideas of what the child would want and the gifts will be delivered to the children.

“We will then do our best to make sure these kids get something they really want,” said Thurston.

The plan is officeers are going to drive in a procession – lights and sirens – and when they arrive at the homes the officers will get out and take the gifts to the child. The police department is coordinating with Springfield Fire Department and the Village of Lakemore Police, fire and council.

“Our hope is to be able to jointly make this happen for our township and village children together,” Thurston said.

In Lakemore, over the past few year, the police department, with the assistance of many volunteers, has held a Share a Christmas day for the children in the village. They meet at the Springfield Lake Roller Rink and have a hot breakfast, skate and then Santa comes with a sleigh loaded with presents. This year, the department is offering financial assistance, sharing what funds they gather. At this time, they are providing a $25 gas card, $25 food card and a $50 gift card per eligible child per household. Right now, they are helping 49 families with 75 kids. All eligible addresses have been placed in a hopper and will be randomly drawn.

Springfield will not hold its normal tree lighting but will do a drive thru lighting of the Holiday Lights at the Lake.

In lieu of the village Christmas Tree lighting, Santa will visit the neighborhoods on a fire truck to wave to the children.

Details on the events will be available soon.

How to donate:

• For the food bank, contact the Lakemore United Methodist Church at 330-733-6531.

• For the Shop With A Cop program vaspkate@gmail.com or call 330-319-4136.

• For Share a Christmas cash, check or credit card payable to VOLO, Lakemore Police Department, PO Box 888, Lakemore, Ohio 44250.

• For Springfield Cares donations please drop them off at the Springfield Board of Education Offices.