July 25, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Medina children Make a Difference for nonprofit cafe

A dozen children who receive lunches from Cups Cafe wanted to return the favor.

On Tuesday afternoon, 12 elementary school students in the Let’s Make a Difference summer program raised about $160 through a bake sale to benefit the nonprofit cafe, which provides free lunches twice a week for the kids.

Tina Wiggins, left, buys baked goods from Faith Johnson, 8, on Tuesday during a bake sale at the Union Square apartment complex in Medina. Children in the Let’s Make a Difference summer program raised money to help Cups Cafe, which provides students with free lunch. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KIERA MANION-FISCHER)

The Christian cafe, which serves everything free, has been in limbo since the building it rents at 126 N. Court St. in Medina was sold last week at a court-ordered auction.

For now, the cafe can stay in the building, and the new owner has said he has yet to make up his mind on what will be done with the space.

Let’s Make a Difference is a summer skills program for about 50 underprivileged youth that meets three times a week.

“We do a lot of character education, leadership skills,” said volunteer Kathy Marras, a first-grade teacher at Sidney Fenn Elementary School.

Started 13 years ago by Medina resident Michelle Powell, Let’s Make a Difference is run by volunteers and funded by donations.

The group gave Cups Cafe Executive Director Tim Van Arsdale a $10 gift card to Chipotle as a token of thanks.

“It was a complete and total surprise,” he said. “It was amazing. I don’t feel like I deserve it.”

The kids screamed “Bake sale!” at passing cars, encouraging passersby to stop at the Union Square apartment complex in Medina.

Each Tuesday, the kids go on field trips, such as lunch with the mayor, the zoo or the Great Lakes Science Center.

This week, the older group visited A.I. Root Candle Co., and the younger students staffed the bake sale.

Marras said many of the students in the program get free and reduced lunch at school. During the summer, that option is not available. The cafe helps fill that gap.

One of the bake sale’s customers, Tina Wiggins, also has a 12-year-old son in the program.

“With my son going on the trips, he didn’t have to pay anything, which is good for me because I don’t make a lot of money,” she said.

She bought several goodies, and then handed them out to some of the kids who were selling them.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.