October 21, 2014

Early Childhood Resource Center fundraiser brings toys to life

The Early Childhood Resource Center (ECRC) held its “The Big, Big, Really Big Toy Box” fundraising event in late September, with the Canton Cultural Center for the Arts turned into a giant toy box. Hundreds of children and their families came out to see their favorite toys come to life and participate in fun family activities and interactive experiences.

The Repository was there to cover the event. As seen in The Repository:

Toys come to life at Early Childhood Resource Center fundraiser

Winnie the Pooh wiggled his way around the Canton Cultural Center for the Arts, leading the toy parade.

Children and adults watched Disney princesses, comic book superheroes and cartoon characters carry candy baskets and shake noise makers Sunday at “The Big, Big, Really Big Toy Box” event. Ticket sales served as a fundraiser for the Early Childhood Resource Center, which provides programs and resources to help children develop educational skills.

“It’s a nice family event,” Canton resident Erica Quicci said Sunday.

Her 5-year-old daughter, Audrey, visited with Snow White after the parade. Wearing a princess shirt, the girl said she liked her wand and butterfly balloon animal best.

Erica Quicci said she and her husband Danny are members at the Early Childhood Resource Center and often use its library, so they were glad to support the organization.

The first event last year attracted about 1,000 people and raised $20,000, Executive Director Scott Hasselman said. He expected this year’s turnout to be similar.

“We have a lot of tickets that were donated,” he said.

PNC Bank, the largest event sponsor, gave more than 300 tickets to families who could not otherwise afford them. Tickets were $15 before the event and $20 at the door.

Hasselman said proceeds help fund agency programs, among others, that bring books to households and prepare children for kindergarten. By focusing on education early, he said, children are more likely to do better in school.

Melissa Riskin, of the Mad Science Group, provided dry ice experiments Sunday that 5-year-old Abhrym Irwin watched with interest, a crafted Captain America shield on his wrist. His grandmother, Nancy Irwin, said they went to last year’s event but were having an even better time this year. The pony rides and rescue puppies were among Irwin’s favorite attractions.

“He’s a pet person,” his grandmother said.

Outdoors, Christina Boley helped her daughters, 4-year-old Haley and 2-year-old Kaylee, off the pony rides. They had spent the afternoon dancing and greeting characters.

“It’s pretty much just something fun to do,” she said. 

The Early Childhood Resource Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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