Christmas box

Call it an early Christmas miracle.

One day after the 70-year-old holiday tradition of the Jimmy Moore Party was cancelled, community members have joined forces to bring it back. 

While the details still need to be worked out, the party will take place at 5 p.m. Dec. 14 at the St. Brigid Church Community Hall, 383 Arch St., Meadville.

Work on reviving the party started Thursday morning, one day after Donald Collins, exalted ruler of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks Lodge 219 announced that the party would not take place this year. 

The announcement started a chain of telephone calls that by mid-afternoon transformed into a plan for action.

Dan Hunter, owner of Cobblestone Cottage and Gardens in Meadville, received a call from a friend, Wally Mason. Mason, who teaches at Allegheny College, was distraught when he heard the party was canceled, Hunter said.

By the afternoon, Hunter, Mason, Collins and other community members met to begin plans to hold the party in conjunction with a Thankful Thursday event already planned for Dec. 14.

Mason was not certain of all the logistics connected to the event, but wheels were spinning pretty fast. He said the group is working with the Elks to find out how families need to register and where potential donors can drop off gifts.

The annual party, a Meadville tradition since 1946, provided gifts for more than 600 less fortunate youngsters in recent years.

The Elks first held the party in 2016 — taking over after the demise of the Sertoma Club — but cited a lack of members to help as the reason for cancelling the party. 

With the return of the party, the group is looking for volunteers, donors and assistance as they prepare for the event in just two weeks. 

"We can use help from organizations, businesses, churches and individuals," Mason said.

• More information to volunteer: Call John Hartnett at (814) 853-4131. Updates will be posted on the Thankful Thursday Facebook page at facebook.com/ThankfulMeadville/.

Lorri Drumm can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at lorrid@meadvilletribune.com.

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