Christmas Belles find toys for needy childrenBy MARY JANE PARK
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 8, 2002
For 40 years, the Christmas Belles have been helping stock the Christmas Toy Shop, which ensures that needy children in St. Petersburg are remembered on that holiday.
Sleighs doubtless are employed farther north, as friends and family shiver in the ice and snow.
Friday morning, a couple of large vehicles were filled with toys the Belles took to the annual ingathering, held this year in the home of Sarah and Larry Williams.
Even as temperatures fell at midday, the multitude generated warmth throughout the house -- visiting and sampling the savory homemade goodies that included tiny tea sandwiches and sweets, champagne punch and coffee.
Among Belles on duty were Mary Wyatt Allen; Marion Ballard; Tina Douglass; Dawn Fisher; Ashley Gairing; Kally Harvard; Rosemary Hempel; Susan Hicks; Judy Holland; Shannon Knowlton; Anne Long; Laurie Lowe; Evelyn Moorefield; Lynell Owen; Carol Piper; Nancy Rutland; Iris Salzer; Betty Shamas; Judy Stanton; Patsy Wheeler; and Lynn Cox, wearing a red Burberry sheath and a pink-bordered scarf in the trademark Burberry plaid.
In the crowd were Phyllis Williams; Donna Painter; Donna Tyler; Louise Weaver; Martha Cooper; Janet Raymond; Kathy Steinbach; Sue Baynard; Marty Hallas; Runelle Bowman; Sharon Jackson; Jeanne Tucker; Harriet Harvey; Jane Stovall; Mardi Johnson; Rebecca Dunn; Vicki Fox; Jennifer St. Cin; Amy Buckspan; Faye Nielsen; Fran Davis; Betty Jean Miller; Sally Habermeyer; Suzanne Tucker; Cary Bond Thomas; Sandy Hardin; Nancy Day; Murray Beairsto; Betsy Updegraff; Joan Jaicks; Marion Snider; Marcie Biddison; Liz Curry; Georgia Mattern; Leslie Ann Curry; Anje Bogott; Carole Merritt; Greta Myers; Mary Evertz; Wendy Hunt; Burchie Ellinger; Faye Nielsen; Mary Ann Will; and Jane Sayler, to whom I apologize for previously misspelling her name.
Despite the above-described bounty, Toy Shop muse Ardith Rutland says the operation still can use more toys (unwrapped, no stuffed animals, please) for children ages 1 to 5.
Everywhere you looked Tuesday, the Boley Angels were arrayed in shades of holiday red. Lighted, decorated trees twinkled throughout the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, where the flock convened for its annual gala Christmas brunch.
Approaching deadlines meant that I could not linger for the meal, but I did get to visit with some of the volunteers who support Boley Centers for Behavioral Health Care -- a nonprofit agency that provides treatment, rehabilitation and housing for those with emotional, psychiatric and behavioral problems.
Jo Hastings, who owns Habana Cafe in Gulfport, entertained several of us with narratives about Stanley, the now very large rabbit with rotator cuff injuries she rescued more than a year ago. She also is working on a cookbook that will feature recipes from her family and the restaurant.
Santa said hello; and the jolly elf looked a lot like chairman Roland Bussey, only considerably older and chubbier.
Mary Shuh chaired the brunch committee; Edie Spies is the Angels' president.
Among those attending were Ann Foster, Maggi McQueen, Diane Winning, Sally Poynter, Maritza Smith, Bernice McCune, Pat LaMonde, Sharon Clayton, Ruth Gray, Candy Scherer, Mary Koenig, Helena Miller, Alice Thomas, Marlene Mock, Reynald Lotortue, Gary MacMath, Jack Humburg, Terry Ray, Catherine McGarry, Celma Mastry, Cynthia McCormick, Kathryn Juarez and Terry Ray.
HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE: Seasonal decorations, docent tours, holiday crafts, music, stories, refreshments. 1-4 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. Free. 896-2667.
LOVE LIGHTS A TREE: Sword of Hope, American Cancer Society ceremony honors cancer patients, survivors. Hors d'oeuvres, entertainment, silent auction. 5-8 p.m. Hilton St. Petersburg, 333 First St. S. 360-1032; 526-4849.
CHRISTMAS WITH KEVIN HARRINGTON: Museum of History Guild benefit at former residence of Gary Sheffield. 7-9 p.m. $75. 894-9394.
COLORS OF OUR MOTHERLAND: A KWANZAA GALA: Pinellas County Chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc. event benefits Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, HIV/AIDS, CASA, community scholarships, Jack and Jill Foundation. 5:30 p.m. TradeWinds Island Grand Beach Resort & Conference Center, 5600 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. African-American attire representing different regions of Africa. $45. 367-6461.
KRINGLE MINGLE: Holiday celebration honors Florida Orchestra Guild volunteers. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Private home. 822-6826.
CROSS OF LORRAINE HOLIDAY TEA: Benefits American Lung Association of Gulfcoast Florida. 2-4 p.m. Location, information: 360-8685.
CASA PEACE BREAKFAST: Sixth annual event benefits Center Against Spouse Abuse. Guest speaker: the Rev. Aubra Love. 7 a.m. Palm Court Ballroom, Renaissance Vinoy Resort, 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Meal underwritten by St. Anthony's Health Care. 895-4912.
SCIENCE CENTER LUNCHEON: Potluck holiday event. Noon-3 p.m. Private home. 866-1276.
OLD NORTHEAST NEIGHBORHOOD CANDLELIGHT TOUR: Fifth annual event sponsored by Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood Association. Refreshments, trolley service. 3-9 p.m. Advance tickets $12 at Dylons (136 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg), Marketplace Express (284 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg), GMAC Real Estate (2331 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg), Steve's Haircuts (3906 S MacDill Ave., Tampa). Day-of tickets $15 beginning at 2 p.m., Westminster Presbyterian Church (126 11th Ave. NE, St. Petersburg) or Colonnade Guest House (825 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg). 820-9712.
BIFF BURGER'S TOYS FOR TOTS BENEFIT CAR SHOW: Eighth annual event collects money, toys for charity. Early registration $10 plus new, unwrapped toys (bring toy day of show; register at restaurant). Day of show registration $15 plus toy. Trophies, live and silent auctions, dash plates, live music. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Biff Burger, 3939 49th St. N, St. Petersburg. 527-5297.
-- Mary Jane Park can be reached at (727) 893-8267; fax (727) 893-8675; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.
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