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Published: Monday, 1/18/2010

OTT: Every penny counts

From left, Katie Lyons, Lisa Ritchie, Judy Lyons, Susan Skursha, and Lilian Homa, all family members, admire the bridal gown Jennifer Ritchie of Cleveland is modeling for her July nuptials. Ms. Ritchie shopped at the Brides against Breast Cancer Gown sale at The Pinnacle last weekend and said that although she spent more than she planned, it was worth it for the cause, not to mention the dress. All gowns were from top manufacturers and designers.
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<img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/photo.gif> <font color=red><b>PHOTO GALLERY</b></font>: <a href=" /apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=TO&Dato=20100118&Kategori=COLUMNIST10&Lopenr=118009999&Ref=PH"_blank"> <b> On the Town: Every penny counts:</b></a> Jan. 18, 2010 From left, Katie Lyons, Lisa Ritchie, Judy Lyons, Susan Skursha, and Lilian Homa, all family members, admire the bridal gown Jennifer Ritchie of Cleveland is modeling for her July nuptials. Ms. Ritchie shopped at the Brides against Breast Cancer Gown sale at The Pinnacle last weekend and said that although she spent more than she planned, it was worth it for the cause, not to mention the dress. All gowns were from top manufacturers and designers. <br> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/photo.gif> <font color=red><b>PHOTO GALLERY</b></font>: <a href=" /apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=TO&Dato=20100118&Kategori=COLUMNIST10&Lopenr=118009999&Ref=PH"_blank"> <b> On the Town: Every penny counts:</b></a> Jan. 18, 2010
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So many generous people giving time, talent, and treasures. It's in their blood and it's contagious. Giving makes one feel good. But you don't have to have big events and donate large sums of cash to do so. Small events can add up to big bucks.

BRAVA! Ann Sanford donated a dinner package for the auction at the Toledo Opera's Sapphire Ball held in the fall and Allan Block and Susan Pond won the bid. While Block Communications Inc. was a major sponsor and Mr. Block is the company's chairman, the couple wanted to personally contribute to the cause in hopes that others follow suit.

The package was a French-themed gourmet dinner by Ms. Sanford with wines to match for eight people in her home. The Saturday night dinner was ooh, la, la, and the wines, from her cellar, magnifique. Extra special was the performance by Renay Conlin, the opera's artistic and general manager, who was accompanied by her husband, Tom Conlin, principal conductor.

Ms. Conlin, owner of a superb soprano voice herself, wooed the guests with some romantic tunes, probably getting everybody in the mood for the opera Gala on Feb. 13 at the Peristyle.

THE Toledo Symphony League has taken single notes and combined them into song. Small, group-themed events called Parties of Note have taken in enough donations to support the league's educational programs. These parties are hosted and underwritten by various league members.

Wednesday's party theme was “Dinner and a Movie” night at the Maumee Indoor Theater. The flick, Julie&Julia, was a perfect choice because the league celebrated its Masterpieces from Our Kitchen cookbook.

There have been other great events too, from teas to lunches, to dance parties, to wine tastings and art parties.

ON a similar concept is the Chicks for Charity, founded by Martha Vetter in 2006. The organization surpassed the $80,000-mark by the end of 2009 for the Victory Center, its selected charity for 2009-2010.

The group's whole premise is that together members can make a difference. Every little bit helps, and when forces are joined, a little bit can make a big impact. So throughout the year, members host events such as wine tastings, pool and euchre parties, and lemonade stands, then add the cash to the kettle.

To date there are more than 1,500 members ranging in age from a few months to one new chick, Rosie Barone, who celebrated her 90th birthday last month during a Chicks event called Holiday Sparkle at the office of her son, Dr. Frank Barone and evolv medical aesthetics.

Hosts of the soiree were Joyce Rimmelin and Cheryl Fisher, who said the event's net added to the more than $3,500 raised through the three events they hosted. The event was also a “welcome home” for Dr. Barone, who recently returned from Vietnam, and a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Operation Smile, in which Dr. Barone has been involved.

Dr. Barone has gone on more than 25 missions worldwide and organized the Northwest Chapter of Operation Smile, which provides free surgeries to children from the Toledo area. The good doctor received a letter of proclamation from then-Mayor Carty Finkbeiner along with a goblet and a bottle of Holy Toledo Water.

Assisting with the evening were Junior Chicks Lizzie Rimmelin and Lexi Fisher.

Wedding gowns were sold last weekend for “Brides Against Breast Cancer” at The Pinnacle. Brides-to-be had a chance to save hundreds, be “green,” and help those with Stage IV breast cancer.

Truckloads of discounted wedding gowns by famous designers, manufacturers, and individuals tour about 40 cities a year. Prices ranged from $99 to $8,000. The profits benefit Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation. Donations were accepted for gowns 2006 and newer.

A power-hour preview was held Friday, for which eager shoppers paid $20 a person. The sale was open to the public for free.

In 2009, the tour netted about $427,000, and event officials hope to do even better.

THE Do It Group, aka the Baker's Dozen, hosted its annual holiday party at the Players Club just in time to collect some loot to buy groceries for 13 families in need. They shop at Sautter's in Sylvania, where Jim Sautter always tosses in free hams and gives them great deals. Tedd Long, a member for five years, said a lot of good-hearted people are here in town.

The group started in December, 1966, at Mancy's Steakhouse, when Jerry Francis and Ken Myer brainstormed over how self-made men could help the less fortunate families of Toledo without the help of a major agency.

They formed a group of entrepreneurs called the Baker's Dozen to manage the Do-It party and the distribution of relief to those in need. Over the years, the Baker's Dozen changed into the Do-It Group.

Toledoan Ernie Lewis has been running marathons for charities for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the fight against cancer. The Akron Marathon was in September, followed by the Oil Creek 100 Ultra Marathon in October in Pennsylvania.

Yes, it was an 100-mile race all at once. It was a challenge, Mr. Lewis acknowledged, but if the honorees for whom he's running can endure chemo and radiation and the stress of living with cancer and, sadly, too often dying from cancer, “I can do this.”

THE first Women Blessing Women's purse auction, “It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Purses,” was in December at Mansion View Inn. State Sen. Teresa Fedor and Sister Virginia Welsh of St. Martin DePorres Parish were auctioneers. The group seeks to help women break out of poverty.

YOUTH In Philanthropy Encouraging Excellence, a group of high school juniors and seniors who are learning the process — and rewards — of philanthropy, raised and awarded $18,000 to 11 nonprofit organizations last year and is starting up again for another successful year.

FOOD For Thought, a local nonprofit organization, started out as a Saturday morning gathering to feed those in need. Now it serves more than 400 families a month for those who might not have access to a pantry.

The Oregon food pantry is housed in New Harvest Christian Church. However, every Saturday morning more than 350 of the organization's famous PB&J sandwiches are donated in downtown Toledo.

For more information, please visit freelunchtoledo.com, or the social media outlets Facebook and Twitter.

RAQUEL Bravo hosted the annual holiday girlfriend night in December but the group also raised $1,300 for Bethany House through a silent auction of items brought by the guests.

Among the ladies was Jalna MacLaren, who started the event many moons ago.

JACK Meyers, a junior at St. Francis de Sales High School, created Toledo Computers for Kids as a way to help others. He has been taking used-computer donations from individuals and businesses and making them usable for these children, Chris Amato of Kids Unlimited said.

Jack would be happy to pick up any unwanted computers that could be donated to Toledo Computers for Kids, Mr. Amato said.

One of his recipients is Kids Unlimited, an after school and summer program in five inner-city grade schools serving nearly 200 children.

THE Rotaract Club of Maumee organized a day of dining in December at a local Max & Erma's to benefit Mom's House.

Rotaract is a Rotary-sponsored service club for young men and women ages 18 to 30.

JINGLE Balls, a garage band of various members of the local legal community, performed in December at Mickey Finn's in support of Wake Up Youth Inc.

THE Metropolitan Detroit Northwest Ohio Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Raceway Park hosted the second annual “Run for the 65 Roses” last season for research. A total of $10,800 was raised during Raceway Park's last weekend of live racing for the 2009 season.

SO get involved. It will make you feel good. After all, one person can make a difference. For more photos, visit toledoblade.com.

Barbara Hendel is The Blade's society editor.

Contact her at: bhendel@theblade.comor 419-724-6124.



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