Jelly beans are a family affair for Marilyn and Rachael Moore of Newton Falls. The two are carrying on a tradition started by Marilyn's mother and Rachael's grandmother.
"My grandmother, Willie Mae Whaley, was a volunteer member of the Children's Rehabilitation Center, and she was in charge of the jelly bean campaign going on 30 years," Rachael Moore said. "She loved helping other people, and she instilled this in us. I think it's wonderful that we are continuing her tradition."
Grace Krontiris, director of development at the Children's Rehabilitation Center, said that the jelly bean campaign in Trumbull County was started by a sorority in the 1960s and 1970s.
A volunteer packages jelly beans at the Children’s Rehabilitation Center.
"Then when the sorority dwindled, Barbara Anderson, former director of the Children's Rehabilitation Center, took over the jelly bean campaign and began raising funds (for the center)," Krontiris said. "Then Willie Mae Whaley, who was a key volunteer in building volunteers for the jelly bean campaign, took over the program.
''Now her descendants, her daughter Marilyn and granddaughter Rachael Moore, are continuing her tradition," she said.
"My daughter, Rachael, and I are the floor managers on the jelly bean campaign," Marilyn Moore said. "We teach the volunteers and make sure everything is done right, and we deliver the 30-pound boxes of jelly beans.
''We get over 800 boxes of jelly beans a year. I started selling them at my workplace in the 1990s, and then I retired and I went and helped with the volunteers," Marilyn Moore said.
Rachael Moore has been involved with the jelly bean campaign for 20 years and has been the head volunteer for 10 years. She said that when she was a child, she was helped by the Children's Rehabilitation Center, where she went for speech therapy. For Rachael Moore, volunteering for the jelly bean campaign is a wonderful way to give back.
"When I was 4 years old, the Children's Rehabilitation Center helped me with my speech until I started school," Rachael Moore said. "The center also helped my niece with motor development.
''I remember how I helped my grandmother at the rehab center when I was younger. I remember when I was in my 20s and I injured my knee and I was still at the rehab center packing jelly beans for the jelly bean campaign," she said.
Rachael Moore said that they get the jelly beans at the end of the year and then they start the jelly bean campaign during the first full week of January. They continue selling the jelly beans through Easter until they are totally sold out.
Nancy Olds of Cortland, a jelly bean campaign volunteer, said the volunteers start bagging the jelly beans the first couple of weeks of January, and then the boxes go out to area businesses at the end of January and the beginning of February. Olds said she has been volunteering at the Children's Rehabilitation Center with her therapy dogs, and that is how she got involved in the jelly bean campaign.
"Our jelly beans are sold at businesses such as local banks and beauty salons," Olds said. "I've met many nice people through volunteering in the jelly bean campaign. I've seen wondrous things happen for the children at the Children's Rehabilitation Center. I've seen children mature and walk when they weren't able to walk before."
Mary Kachurik of Cortland, a jelly bean campaign volunteer, helps to bag the jelly beans. She said that the volunteers bag 16 tons of jelly beans, which amounts to a lot of money for the children at the center. Kachurik said she has been involved in the jelly bean campaign for three years.
"It's fun to volunteer because we are helping the children," Kachurik said. "Last year, the children sent us a thank-you with their handprints on paper with jelly beans. That means a lot to us."
Marilyn Moore said the jelly bean campaign financially helps people who cannot afford the services at the rehab center.
"We love it, and we enjoy the people who come in and volunteer," Marilyn Moore said. "People volunteer in the jelly bean campaign for so long until they are in a nursing home. Then they sell the jelly beans at the nursing home. It's also just wonderful seeing these children progress."
Rachael Moore said that they order the jelly beans from the Ferrara Candy Co. in Illinois.
"The jelly beans that we get include jumbo beans, mixed fruit selection, mixed spice selection and all cinnamon flavors," Rachael Moore said.
Krontiris said that 2014 was a successful year for the jelly bean campaign.
"We sold more jelly beans this year than before. We had a thousand boxes of 50 jelly beans," Krontiris said.