A Salute to the Generous

In this joyous season, it is appropriate to salute all of the people who are giving to others. From children to senior citizens, area residents are sharing their time, talent and treasure with people in need in their neighborhoods, communities and in the world at large.

For example, every Sunday at Castleman’s Run United Methodist Church, which is located near Bethany, the children do a penny collection to assist local charities. Over the past couple of years, they have accumulated more than $1,500, church representatives related. At each $100 interval, they choose a charity as the recipient. Occasionally, a member of the congregation will match the $100, thus doubling the contribution.

The children have chosen to partner with a member of their church family, author JoAnn Davis of Valley Grove, to put her children’s book and DVD, “Finding Pepper,” in children’s hospitals. The most recent donation of five books, DVDs and stuffed bears was made to West Virginia University’s Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House Charities in Morgantown. Last August, children from the church accompanied Davis for a donation to Austin’s Room in Wheeling Hospital’s new Pediatric Tower. Other donations will be made in the near future, officials said.

If individuals and/or groups want to donate books and DVDs to schools, libraries, children’s hospitals or other child-related organizations, or if they would like to have Davis speak to a group, she can be contacted by email at jdavis@findingpepper. com.

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Meanwhile, the Hope Players, a community theater group in Hopedale, donated $442 to the Epilepsy Foundation. The money represents the proceeds, after royalties and other expenses, from the Players’ September production of Bruce Jacoby’s one-act drama about teen suicide, “The Girl in the Mirror,” directed by Cassie Bellerive of Hopedale.

Bellerive, a Harrison Central High School senior who lives with epilepsy, proposed both the play and the donation of proceeds to Hope Players executive director Andrew Pelegreen III of Hopedale.

In a news release, Pelegreen said, “The Hope Players are proud to be part of these efforts to raise consciousness about teen suicide and about epilepsy, and we’re equally proud of Cassie for taking the initiative to bring both causes to our audiences.”

Bellerive said she hopes her work as an actor and director in “The Girl in the Mirror” will convey a message that people with epilepsy “can still be successful and live normal lives and enjoy activities that they love, like theater.”