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Those who love their pets tend to enjoy all animals. Our animal owners are no different. Check in on News-Herald staffers Robin Palmer and Cheryl Sadler as they share their own animal tales and announce upcoming events in Lake and Geauga counties.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pets included

News-Herald Staff Writer Betsy Scott wrote about Northeast Ohio Convoy of Hope coming to the Lake County Fairgrounds next month.

This year, pets will benefit.

Read on ...

A huge outreach to benefit area families in need just added a couple more major means of assistance.

Pet supplies and 1,000-plus articles of clothing are among the latest offerings planned at the Northeast Ohio Convoy of Hope event taking place June 26 at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Painesville Township.

That is in addition to free groceries, 500 pairs of shoes from Samaritan’s Feet, health and dental care, haircuts, makeovers, family portraits, fun and games for children and more.

Jo Ann Rokosky, editor of Country Critter Journal, contacted the local event coordinator about providing help for pets — a first for a COH outreach. She is seeking donations to provide dog and cat food; supplies such as leashes, collars and treats; certificates for spay/neutering, grooming and training services; and she will be bringing in pet consultants.

“Many times, low-income families receive food, clothing, etc., but nothing for their pets,” Rokosky said. “That is where we will come in and help with their family pet needs. God loves all his creations, including his animals.”

The clothing will be donated from Betty’s Boutique, part of The Well ministry at Willoughby Hills Friends Church. Items for men, women and children of all sizes will be made available to outreach guests, said Eleese Gosselin, a Boutique volunteer and The Well’s women’s shelter coordinator.

Gosselin learned of the COH opportunity through Judy Burr of Project Hope, who also is participating in the event.

“We were trying to find another outreach for ourselves. … We’re kind of excited,” Gosselin said.

COH provides food and pure drinking water to people in need across the United States and around the world. Each year, in the United States alone, the organization holds up to 50 community events.

COH visitors are treated as honored guests and are shown love and respect regardless of age, race, physical appearance or spiritual condition, according to the COH website. Although the cause targets low-income residents, no one will be turned away, Event Coordinator Carrie Garland said.

The poverty rate in Lake County increased from 5.1 percent in 2000 to 8.5 percent in 2008, according to U.S. Census data.

Up to 1,000 volunteers are needed to put on the event, with opportunities ranging from welcoming guests to bagging groceries, to helping out with food preparation or in the kids play zone.

Other outreach goals are:

* Preparation for 5,000 guests

* 75-plus churches involved (about 50 are on board so far)

* 100-plus businesses and organizations participating

* A $50,000 budget (More than $45,200 has come in from individuals, churches and local businesses.).

COH provides funding for “fixed expenses” such as about 5,000 bags of groceries, national director and outreach team travel, literature, training, supplies, transportation, warehousing, logistics and administration. The variable expenses are the responsibility of the host community and involve things like printing for promotion, various equipment, inflatables, carnival games, trash bins, a forklift, generators, portable restrooms, stages, chairs, tables and tents.

Discussion already is under way to have four, smaller regional COH events next year.

For more information, visit To donate or get involved, contact Pastor Carrie Garland at 440-354-6805 or To donate pet items, contact Jo Ann Rokosky at 440-478-4800 or

-- Robin Palmer


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