Congratulations to Our First Place Winners!
Trick-or-Treat for the Food Shelf
The Heuss Family
Brenda and Shawn Heuss and their two daughters, Alex and Maddie, ages 8 and 5, organize trick-or-treating with a twist. On the Sunday before Halloween, kids go door-to-door in costume to gather food and other essentials for a local food pantry. Churches, scout troops, and sports teams unite for the afternoon outing -- with some participants even dressing up as food. (Alex has gone as a bunch of grapes, and Maddie as a jar of pickles.) The family also collects donations for the needy in jars located at businesses throughout the community. Last year, they took in nearly $1,000, along with 2,000 pantry items.
Friends & Family Community CPR Classes
The Hall Family
At age 9, Sierra Hall went into cardiac arrest in the middle of a lacrosse game. Her life was saved by a spectator who knew CPR. The scare prompted her, along with her parents, Shawn and Melanie, and her grandfather, Chuck, to organize CPR classes for their community. One hundred people completed the training, which was led by five nurses from the local hospital and a physical education teacher. The Halls, who also raise money for the American Heart Association, are now planning to hold the classes every two years so that participants can renew their certifications.
Chunkin' Punkins at ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease)
The Hohne Family
Lumberton, New Jersey
Carolyn and Bruce Hohne and their kids, Brielle, age 17, and Carter, 15, have been hurling squash since 2006. They help lead more than a dozen kids through the design and building of a giant catapult as an after-school activity for the gifted and talented program. The punkin chunkin' team unveils its creation at an annual fundraising event for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and later compete in the world championships. The team has raised more than $10,000 for ALS.
Love A Sea Turtle (L.A.S.T.)
The Sokolovic Family
Winterville, North Carolina
Six years ago, Casey Sokolovic, now age 14, founded Love A Sea Turtle to help save the turtles' habitat. Among other ecominded activities, L.A.S.T. runs week-long summer camps at a science and nature center. The camps feature a field trip to a sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation hospital. Dad Dan, mom Kay, brother Conner, 18, and several other relatives help Casey organize the camps and raise funds so that Boys & Girls Club members can attend the camps for free.
Love Your Neighbor
The Spears Family
Palm City, Florida
Each month, Katie and Dan Spears and their children, Ashley, age 7, Walker, 6, and Sydney, 4, "adopt" a different family in need, whom they learn of through confidential recommendations. Along with 300 local volunteers, they pitch in where help is most needed, whether it's organizing a clothes drive for a family with 11 kids or delivering dinners to a family with a terminally ill child. Their inspiring efforts (and an active Facebook presence) have led to the launching of Love Your Neighbor chapters in other counties, states, and beyond -- there are now even chapters in India and Sweden.
Alicia Potter volunteers as a visiting author at Boston-area schools.
Originally published in the April 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.