January 8, 2020

Donor provides new shoes for children at Mercy Mission Outreach’s annual Christmas party at St. Paul Square

Sixty-six children in northeast Canton received a new pair of custom fit tennis shoes just before Christmas at Mercy Medical Center Mission Outreach’s annual neighborhood Christmas open house at Mercy at St. Paul Square, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor and BSN Sports, the largest distributor of school athletic uniforms, equipment and spirit wear in the United States.

The children were able to pick shoe size, type and color at the annual open house on Friday, Dec. 20. The shoes were delivered on the following Monday, Dec. 23, just in time for Christmas.

At the open house, supported in large part by a grant from the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, children and their families also enjoyed refreshments, visited with Mrs. Claus, and received new gloves, hats, scarves, and socks donated by Mercy Service League. Students from Canton City School District’s Arts Academy at Summit provided holiday music under the direction of music teacher Raylena Dahlheimer.
 
The donor, who regularly supports St. Paul Square initiatives, suggested the purchase of shoes after learning about the needs of the children who attended Mercy’s Bee Healthy Summer Camp this past July and their excitement at receiving clean, gently used clothing donated by a Mercy employee. Elaine Campbell, director, Mercy Development Foundation, and Scott Campbell, athletic director, Perry Local Schools, contacted Stephanie Bruce, sales pro, BSN sports, for help sourcing the shoes. Bruce secured the shoes at a significantly discounted price, enabling the donor to assist as many children as possible.
 
“When you put the right people together, the right things happen,” said Elaine Campbell. “Everything came together perfectly with this project, and each child was excited to pick the shoes they wanted. A new pair of brand-name shoes means a lot to a child who rarely gets the chance to choose.”
 
Sister Carolyn Capuano, H.M., vice president of mission and ministry at Mercy Medical Center, said, “To have something new and needed is a real treat for many in our St. Paul Square community. They’re even thrilled to receive new toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste, as well as other winter wellness items, such as Kleenex, hand sanitizer, cough drops and lotion. We take these items for granted, but obtaining them can be difficult for people in need.”
 
In addition, Capuano noted many attendees considered the refreshments their main meal of the day, and those who are socially isolated enjoyed eating with others in the decorated community room.

“To be welcomed in as guests, treated to beautiful holiday music and given gifts and good food is a real celebration of Christmas and perhaps the only such celebration that some will experience,” Capuano says.
 
Mercy continued holiday outreach efforts on December 20 in southeast Canton as a sponsor of the Holiday Hangout with Santa at the Edward “Peel” Coleman Center. Employees at Mercy’s 10 offsite health centers collected more than 850 winter clothing items—including socks, gloves and hats—to give out to those who attended the event. Other event sponsors included Canton Parks and Recreation, SARTA, the Greater Stark County Urban League, PAX Project for Academic Excellence, and Ward 4 Councilwoman Chris Smith.

Mercy Medical Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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