About 250 people attended the 67th annual Starlight Charity Ball on Dec. 1 at the Hilton Downtown Hotel in Cleveland. The event was hosted by the Christ Child Society of Cleveland.
Betsy Kling, WKYC TV 3’s chief meteorologist and a longtime Christ Child Society supporter, was emcee. She spoke about the organization’s long history and efforts to serve children who do not have the basic needs that many of us take for granted.
Alan Silverman of Silverman’s Discount Department Stores and treasurer of Dunn Hardware was honored as the Christ Child Society’s 2018 Person of the Year.
Catherine Caruso, newly elected president of the Christ Child Society’s Cleveland chapter, introduced Silverman and recalled his vision, sacrifices and accomplishments in supplying needy children with clothing, uniforms, shoes and underwear for more than four decades.
Silverman’s wife, Tammy; daughter, Abby; son-in-law, Jamie; and three grandchildren accompanied him to the event.
In his acceptance remarks, Silverman spoke of the serious problem that poverty can be for children. He said one in five youngsters lives in poverty. Even more shocking, there are 2,700 homeless students in Northeast Ohio, Silverman said. His vision to supply children’s uniforms has proven beneficial for area youth. In fact, many of the students he has helped perform better in school. Silverman has partnered with the Christ Child Society to assist children for more than a decade and Caruso said the society is grateful for his friendship and generosity.
Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Roger Gries, a friend of the Christ Child Society, also attended the event. He spoke briefly about the youth of Cleveland. Before blessing the meal, he said the progress of helping underprivileged children will help them to grow up to be the best they can be. God is with us along the path we take, he added.
Attendees had an opportunity to bid on a large selection of silent auction items including restaurant gift cards, select wines, sports tickets, cooking classes, Nativity sets and fine jewelry. The band Redline provided music for dancing.
Mary Herrick and Janie Nickodem co-chaired the 2018 Starlight Ball. They were assisted by a committee of more than 30 women.
The success of the signature fundraiser ensures that the Christ Child Society of Cleveland can continue with its programs to assist underprivileged children, a legacy based on what society founder Mary Virginia Merrick said: “Nothing is ever too much to do for a child.”
Funds raised by the society fill a variety of needs for children from birth through school years. For example, $50 can provide new books for 10 preschoolers while $90 will fund clothing and blankets needed to bring 10 newborns home and $125 will provide portable cribs for two babies. A $175 donation will provide “My Stuff” bags filled with items for five children in shelters and $250 will buy winter coats for 15 youngsters. A $500 donation will fund a school library for a semester.
Visit christchildsocietycleveland.org for more information on the Christ Child Society Cleveland Chapter.