A Circle of Goodwill

By Sandra Zunino

After holding their meeting last Wednesday, the women of Hannah Circle will enjoy a brief respite for the summer before gearing back up next fall for a season of fundraising for the benefit of children.

Part of the Kent Island United Methodist Church’s United Mission, Hannah Circle formed 25 years ago when several mothers of young children from the congregation decided to organize a group devoted to helping children.

“We chose the name Hannah, who was a faithful, spiritual mother from the book of Samuel,” explains original member Shelia Cernak. “We chose children’s missions as our focus, and over the years all of the money we have raised has been used to help children in various ways.” While there are now 20 members in the group, only three are from the original circle.

Over the years, Hannah Circle has raised money that went to scholarships for children to attend the Deaf-Blind Camp of Maryland, Camp New Dawn – a hospice camp for children who have lost a loved one to cancer, Camp Pecometh and many youth retreats. Additionally, the Circle
sponsors a local family in need every Christmas, providing gifts and food. They also support an annual Children’s Choice Christmas party for children and their foster families, again providing Christmas gifts for the children.

Proceeds from their fundraising efforts support many Kent Island United Methodist Church youth activities including Vacation Bible School and the Kent Island Christian School. Each year they prepared and mail care packages to college youth in the congregation as well as donate back-to-school supplies for local children in need. “There is always a need somewhere,” says Sheila, “so we are always trying to be prepared when something comes up.”

With the exclusion of the summer months, Hannah Circle members meet monthly for fellowship and to brainstorm, plan and execute their mission’s efforts. As a circle, there is no formal leader. Each month, a different member hosts a meeting at her home and takes charge of that meeting’s agenda.

For the past 25 years, they have gathered to make homemade chocolate covered Easter eggs and the scrumptious coconut cream, peanut butter and butter cream centered creations sell out every year. “We spend a Saturday mixing, dipping and wrapping over 650 chocolate-covered eggs!” says Sheila.

The Church’s Annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, held the night before Lent begins and open to the community, is another Hannah Circle fundraiser. The origin of Shrove Tuesday comes from the long-time Christian practice of consuming everything in the household from which the family would abstain during Lent. Often eggs, milk, butter and other food items were all on the Lenten abstinence list, thus the pancake tradition began. “We try to do things that are fun and different and help people in the community,” says Sheila.

Last month, Hannah Circle sponsored a community Shred-It Day as an opportunity for local residents and business to dispose of out-dated documents and papers. Maryland-based All Shred provided the equipment and participants donated money to use the service. “Over 75 people brought papers to be shredded and were very appreciative and grateful to have this service offered locally,” says Sheila. “They have asked us to do it again in the fall, so will be planning that when we start meeting again in September.”

Members of Hannah Circle in photo: (Front) Dale Huffman, Kathy Comegys, Brenda Saia, Shelia Cernak, (Middle) Cindy Ruby, Kathy DeRenzo, Linda McCabe, Debbie Fogle, (Back) Julie Walter, Karen Bardwell, Darla Forrest, Sharon Richter, Peggy Kerr.

The Hannah Circle members would like to thank Paula’s Fine Jewelry, B & B Insurance Group, Manor House Kitchen & Bath, Chester’s H & R Block, Love Point Deli, Newlyn Title, Camp Wright, and Lombardo Wagner Stitcher & Co accounting firm for helping make the Shred-It Day possible through their generous donations.