Meadville Tribune

Local News

April 19, 2013

Center for Family Services to mark 150 years

MEADVILLE — What is the best way to celebrate a 150-year anniversary? How about filling 150 balloons with 150 prizes and throwing a big party?

The Center for Family Services Inc. is doing just that on Saturday at the Italian Civic Club during its 13th annual Music Benefit. This year, the CFS celebrates its 150th year of aiding area families experiencing a crisis.

“What’s a party without balloons?” CFS Executive Director Linda Bennett asked. “The balloons will be $10 each, containing a prize with at least a $10 value; everyone is a winner.”

Some of the top prizes include a laptop, a 32-inch flatscreen TV, a hot air balloon ride and a 10-hour pontoon rental.

“We wanted to make the event extra special because of the anniversary,” the center’s Maria Firkaly said in regards to the hundreds of prize-filled balloons available to be popped. Each balloon is filled with a card with a number on it that corresponds to one of the 150 prizes.

The benefit features the talents of The Sofa King Cool Band, which will play crowd favorites for listening and dancing.

“The band has a big following in our area,” Firkaly said. “The guys are local and really talented; they will make sure everyone is having a good time.”

Doors open at 6:30, with the band on stage at 7. Tickets are $15 and available at the Center for Family Services, COOL 101.7 studios, George’s Jewelry and The Cutting Edge Hair Salon. The ticket also enters the holder into a drawing for a $150 gas card.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event and we hope the community comes out to celebrate with us,” Bennett said. “As far as we know, we are the oldest ongoing social service agency in Crawford County.”

In 1863, a group of Meadville women joined together to help local families experiencing financial crises. The “men folk” were away fighting the Civil War and their families were left without a wage earner. The soldier’s pay that was to be sent home arrived sporadically and infrequently. The women gathered food and clothing for the families, thus forming the Home Relief Society.

Today, the name is different, but the mission remains the same. The agency continues to fulfill the original group’s legacy by providing clothing and food.

Over the years, members of the community have stepped up to the plate, meeting the demands of their time. Services include counseling for homeowners, classes for parents and a variety of services that meet the basic needs of local families.

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