The following is an excerpt from a story which appeared in the online version of the Akron, OH, Beacon-Journal. It features the Ellet Grace Brethren Church (Jonathan Carey, pastor) in Akron. To read the entire story, click here.
Church fair wins praise from school, help for kids
Ellet Grace Brethren flock backs Ritzman Elementary with fun event, giveaways
By Kim Hone-McMahan, Beacon Journal staff writer
The man with the broad grin took his seat beneath the box-like contraption filled with water. Each time someone struck a nearby bull’s-eye with a tennis ball, the water soaked his head.
Still, Ritzman Elementary School Principal Larry Bender continued to smile. After all, it was a good day. A sunny afternoon near the close of summer — and the start of a new school year.
Adding to his joy were his pals from Ellet Grace Brethren Church. Once again, the flock there had reached out to help the children of his Akron school, and he would be forever grateful.
On Sunday, the church sponsored a fair for Ritzman youngsters. Bender, other school staff, and church-goers mingled among the folks making balloon animals and cold treats. Pupils received free book bags filled with school supplies, haircuts and lunch.
”They’ve always been there for us. Sometimes, what they do leaves me speechless,” Bender said, placing his hand over his heart.
The romance between the school of 350 students and church began about seven years ago when folks at the church noticed parents didn’t have a place to park when they came to pick up their children after classes.
Longing to help, the people at the church offered to make a hole in the fence between its parking lot and that of the school.
Steps were constructed to address the difference in the grade of land between the two facilities — resulting in a new parking place for parents.
Certainly, something that small might not have an impact. But when the fence came down, a bond was formed.
Since then, the church, which has an attendance of about 130, has provided Christmas gift bags to the students. Inside the bags are things such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, school supplies, hats and mittens.
”We want to be a community church that loves the community,” the Rev. Jonathan Carey said.