Difference Day shirts are on sale

WARREN – Make A Difference Day T-shirts are now available to purchase at the Tribune Chronicle.

Designed by the Tribune Chronicle’s Steve Freer in creative services, the back of the T-shirt reads “Helping hands help communities” with two hands connecting to form a heart.

All the profits support the national day of caring that is being held Oct. 26.

Freer has designed the shirts for the past five years and said the logo is about people loving and giving back to the community.

Tribune Chronicle Community Events Coordinator Sue Shafer said the newspaper has sold T-shirts in conjunction with Make A Difference Day since the beginning of its involvement 11 years ago.

“We try to keep the cost very reasonable. We worked with Select Sportswear in Niles, and they were very helpful in getting us the shirts and keeping the cost reasonable,” she said.

The shirts cost $10 and are available in sizes small through extra large. Shafer said volunteer groups like to utilize the shirts in different ways and the proceeds are beneficial to projects.

For years the Sparkle Market on Parkman Road has taken up the Make A Difference Day cause.

In addition to collecting nonperishable items and monetary donations for local foodbanks from Oct. 5 to 26, store employees promote Make A Difference Day by wearing the shirts on Fridays and Saturdays in October.

Head cashier Louella Stemple, who spearheaded the idea several years ago, said 33 of the employees bought their own T-shirts to wear at the store.

“We started doing this a few years ago at the other store location and are continuing it at Parkman Road’s,” she said. “Each year we get more participants. Most employees did participate this year, and we try to encourage it.”

Store manager Kim Walker said Make A Difference Day is a way for everyone in the community to come together and get involved, even people who are struggling themselves.

“It’s a day to think about others. Customers help tremendously with giving. They may not have extra but give anyway,” Walker said.

Joann Grove bought 10 shirts for when her volunteers break off into group projects on Oct. 26.

Grove’s “Neighbor to Neighbor” community project includes helping a widow repair her home and involves different work areas, like finishing a deck and yard work.

Al Novak said he also plans to buy T-shirts for his volunteers with N.E.E.D. (North End Environmental Development) a group that prepares the North Street community garden for winter by trimming bushes, remulching and mowing the grass.

Established as the first community garden by Ohio State University Extension Master Gardeners of Trumbull County, after 15 years N.E.E.D. still works to keep the garden alive and well. Group members also are responsible for neighborhood cleanups. With the help of neighbors, the group starts Make A Difference Day early by cleaning up the yards.

“Lots of people make a difference all year long and people don’t realize it,” Novak said.

He said he usually buys a few shirts for the volunteers, including his two sons who have worked on Make A Difference Day with N.E.E.D. since the group’s beginning, and one for himself.

“They both like to have one, so I called Sue and told her to save me some. When I find out who’s going to be working that, I’ll buy more for the participants,” Novak said. “The ones I have from previous years are all worn out.”

To buy a T-shirt or for more information on Make A Difference Day, contact Shafer at 330-841-1696 or email her at sshafer@tribtoday.com.