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Sylvania’s Winter Fest celebration benefits Neighborhood House

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On Dec. 12, Sylvania-based faculty and staff again enjoyed the annual Winter Fest gala, whose theme this year was “Let It Snow!”

Each year a variety of campus-based departments and divisions voluntarily participate in Winter Fest by creating festive, themed baskets loaded with goodies. This year’s celebration garnered 14 baskets, as well as gift certificates and donations from nearby businesses.

Attendees to Winter Fest buy gift tickets with the hope that their number will be called and they’ll win a basket. The sale of gift tickets benefits Neighborhood House, a non-profit agency that offers anti-poverty services for seniors and youth ranging from transitional housing, to emergency food boxes, to financial assistance, to day care.

Winter Fest attendees also bring canned food for the non-profit’s food pantry and the campus’ student-led food canteen, to help students in need.

Overall, this year’s event generated nearly $500 from gift ticket sales and approximately 450 lbs. of canned food and non-perishable food items.

“Many, many thanks to Sylvania’s Traditions, Rituals and Fun Committee, which handled all of the details for today’s party,” said Linda Gerber, Sylvania Campus president, who with the help of “elves,” distributed winning gift baskets and door prizes.

“Pulling all of the logistics together for this – the menu, the decorations, the baskets, the schedule and music – takes an enormous amount of time, and the committee does a fabulous job with this each year,” she said.

For the price of $5, attendees indulged in a lunch buffet that included pasta, meatballs, wraps, baked mozzarella squares, pot stickers and a range of desserts and beverages. Music ran throughout the event: History instructor Sylvia Gray kicked things off by playing the piano. Music instructor John Mery and student Eric Garcia played guitar, and Julianne Johnson, another music instructor, served as conductor for the college’s student choir who sang holiday music that concluded the event.

“We strive to prevent hunger and homelessness for those we serve,” said Rick Nitti, executive director of Neighborhood House, “and our ability to do this successfully is helped in part by the support we receive from Sylvania Campus each year.

“For this, we are very grateful,” he said.