Three adults from the Thomas Edison Center volunteer to collect donations and sell lemonade and paw print flowers to assist agencies in the county. (DHI Media/Sherry Missler)
Three adults from the Thomas Edison Center volunteer to collect donations and sell lemonade and paw print flowers to assist agencies in the county. (DHI Media/Sherry Missler)

VAN WERT — Three adults and one official from the Thomas Edison Center were at Chief’s until 1 p.m. Thursday. Their mission? They are assisting with efforts to provide food and supplies to area food banks as well as the Van Wert County Humane Society shelter. In addition, they are selling handmade paw print flowers. The proceeds from the sales of the flowers will be used to purchase pet oxygen masks for area volunteer fire departments. The masks are $100 each and are reusable. The volunteers are also supporting the Salvation Army’s Hungry Children Program.

There will be groups set up at various local retailers on Thursdays and Fridays during the months of July and August. They will have a table with collection containers for anyone who would like to donate funds for the food banks and the shelter as well as drums for those who want to donate actual supplies. In addition, volunteers will be selling ice cold lemonade for 50 cents a glass to help the Salvation Army’s Hungry Children Program.

Connie Rolsten-Wood from the Thomas Edison Center said that the scented bags are not yet available for sale.

“We just came up with the idea Monday,” she said. “We have sent off for the bags so it will probably a couple of weeks before we get them and have them ready. It’s like a DYI thing. You put the fabric, scented pearls down in the bags.”

She talked about the paw print flowers. “It’s actually a couple of ladies who made most of the flowers. They like to sit and do nothing but crafts. They have a ball with them.”

Rolsten-Wood said that adults actually made between 300 and 350 flowers for the first round. They plan to order more paw print paper and make more flowers if they sell enough. “If we sell every flower for a dollar, then there will be enough to purchase three oxygen masks.”

While adult volunteers were at Chief’s on Thursday, they will be moving on to other businesses to give residents an opportunity to come out and donate.

“Friday is Sav A Lot and next week will be Rural King and TSC,” said Rolsten-Wood. She hopes that by July 19 or July 25 they will have the cachet bags to sell.

Rolsten-Wood emphasized the need is urgent.

“A lot of people don’t realize that the area food banks actually struggle during the summertime. Children are out of school so they are not getting school lunches,” she said. “They are home eating lunches there. That means five more lunches a week for parents who may not actually have the means to give them good lunches.”

She added that the shelter faces the burden of animals turned in because of negligence and the summer litters of puppies and kittens.

“It’s something that the adults at the Thomas Edison Center talked about and wanted to do something about,” Rolsten-Wood said.