CARE group seeks transportation, donations

The CARE Kids of Portage County recently were treated to the new “Black Panther” movie and then lunch at Pizza Hut in Ravenna. Submitted photo

CARE (Children Always Resisting Enemies) of Portage County is looking for donations and especially needs a bus or large (15-passenger) van for transportation.

The group, organized in 2005, meets every third Saturday, and organizer Deseree Perry plans for them to meet every Saturday soon. Perry said they plan to have a karate teacher, gardening with organic farmer Joan Stikes Jenkins, mentors such as Portage County Judge Laurie Pittman, and students from Kent State’s Pan-African Studies Department.

CARE was organized in 2005 by Perry, Wanda Warren and JoAnn Stikes. The idea, said Perry, is to keep the children busy and away from drugs, having positive experiences and working on projects they can take pride in. For example, the CARE Kids have cooked and served the Portage County NAACP Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast for the last 17 years. In the summer, they cut grass for senior citizens, since Judge Pittman bought them a lawn mower.

The CARE Kids especially take pride in their gardening. Family and Community Services gave the group property to encourage the kids, for gardens and picnic areas. Food from their gardens goes to senior citizens and to community sales. Other money comes from fundraisers, such as selling barbecued ribs and manning a booth every year at the Ravenna Balloon A-Fair. The children also get to march in the Balloon A-Fair Parade.

Debbie Sutherland is working on a grant to cover food and travel expenses for field trips in the summer. Perry said she would especially like to take them to museums and the zoo.

In early January, the Portage County NAACP took 22 of the CARE Kids to see a movie, and CARE bought them lunch. Perry anticipates having even more participants when the weather is better.

Donations may be made through the Skeels-Mathews Community Center, 4378 Skeels St., P.O. Box 392, Ravenna, OH 44266. Indicate that the donation is for CARE.

Anyone who would like to donate transportation, or who has ideas to motivate the children, is invited to call Deseree Perry at 330-296-7463.

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Mary Louise Ruehr is a books columnist for The Portager. Her One for the Books column previously appeared in the Record-Courier, where she was an editor.