Lakewood OH

Area volunteers head major fundraiser for Christ Child Society

When Westlake’s Susan and Robert Smith were chosen as the Christ Child Society of Cleveland’s People of the Year last December, they continued their generosity by helping with this year’s fundraiser. The Christ Child Society is dedicated to meeting the needs of children, and has done so for the last 97 years. Female members assemble bundles of infant clothing, called layettes, and last year distributed more than 2,400. They also provided coats for even more children, as well as school uniforms and “My Stuff” bags for children admitted to area shelters.

Each year, the Christ Child Society presents the Starlight Ball. This year’s black-tie gala was held at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, and well more than 300 guests were dressed in formal wear. One constant of the Christ Child ball is that guests look sensational.

Susan Smith is president-elect of the Christ Child Society. She and Melanie Close, also of Westlake, headed the benefit. “We live so close to each other,” Smith said, “that it was easy to get together for planning.” Close pointed out that the success of the Starlight Ball was due to the 24 committee members, strong corporate support and the efforts of many individuals.

Through a social hour, guests mingled and bid on silent auction items. All were not only desirable, but also beautifully arranged and displayed. By the time bidding ended, there were no bargains in sight – a sign of a very successful event.

The evening continued with a brief program that included a children’s gospel choir and an award to this year’s Person of the Year, Sister Judith Ann Karam. Dinner was a bold choice of boneless braised short ribs and cheddar grits. Dinner was also very substantial, concluding with Ohio Buckeye pie. Guests with energy to spare danced to Redline before checking out with their auction winnings.

A unique feature of the Christ Child Society is that the administration costs of the organization are paid through members’ dues. That means that when a donation is made to the organization, 100 percent of the gift goes to supporting the mission of serving children in need.

Jeff and Melanie Close of Westlake, Sr. Judith Ann Karam, CSA, and Susan and Robert Smith of Westlake (Photos by Art Thomas)

Christine and Urban Picard of Westlake

Tom and Ann Drescher of Rocky River

Mary Cay and Mike McConnell of Avon Lake



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