From left, Waves of Caring board members Dana Linthicum, Jim Smith, Debbie Buckley, Patricia Smith and Frank Donato stand behind some of the donated toys in 2017. By Donald WittkowskiA steady stream of people entering the lobby of the Port-O-Call Hotel on Tuesday night kept handing bags of toys and other gifts to Beth Pruzinsky.Pruzinsky, in turn, would stack the gifts on a pile of hundreds of toys that was growing higher and higher with each minute.“So far, it looks like we have more toys than last year,” said Pruzinsky, the hotel’s controller. “We brought out an extra bin and it’s all full. Everybody brings more than one gift now.”The Santa Claus-like largesse was part of an annual toy drive and holiday party, benefiting Ocean City’s needy children, that pairs the Port-O-Call with a local charity called Waves of Caring.The partnership between the hotel and Waves of Caring began in 1993, turning what was then a modest toy drive launched by the Port-O-Call’s employees at a holiday party into a communitywide outpouring of gift giving.“The first year we had it, it was an employee gift bin. Now, they’re bringing bags and bags of toys. It’s great,” said Pruzinsky, one of the organizers of the drive. “I think they’re excited to contribute so many toys that will stay right here in Ocean City.”Beth Pruzinsky, left, controller at the Port-O-Call Hotel and an organizer of the toy drive, accepts two skateboards from City Councilman Keith Hartzell and 7th Street Surf Shop owner Becky Friedel.Jim Smith, Ocean City’s fire chief and the chairman of the Waves of Caring board of directors, noted that between 100 and 185 local children would receive gifts from the toy drive.Although Ocean City is generally viewed as a well-to-do shore town of beachfront homes and trendy downtown boutiques, Smith said there are some pockets of poverty.“Yes, it’s an affluent town. But there are a lot of families that are struggling just to get by,” he said in an interview.Waves of Caring is a city-sanctioned charity that collects and distributes toys and other gifts around the Christmas holiday for children of underprivileged Ocean City families. It works with different organizations in town to extend a helping hand of donated food, clothing and holiday gifts through the Ocean City Ecumenical Council, a coalition of churches.The Port-O-Call served as the venue Tuesday night for a holiday party to collect the toys and celebrate the partnership with Waves of Caring. A packed crowd representing leaders of the city’s political, business and social scene gathered in the hotel’s Adelene restaurant.Port-O-Call’s Adelene restaurant hosted a packed crowd for the toy drive and holiday party.Smith, who has been with Waves of Caring for 24 years, thanked the Port-O-Call and the community for their support over the years. He emphasized that all of the gifts and monetary donations collected during the toy drive stay in Ocean City.“One hundred percent of all of our money goes back to the community,” he said. “There’s zero overhead for us.”This was the 10th anniversary for the toy drive party. However, the Port-O-Call’s general manager, Glenn Losch, told the crowd it was the last one scheduled at the hotel. Afterward, he said it was time for the party to shift to another location after spending 10 years at the Port-O-Call.In remarks to the crowd, Losch stressed that the hotel and its owners, the Scully family, are still firmly committed to the toy drive and other charitable efforts through the partnership with Waves of Caring.“It’s been a great honor working with Waves of Caring,” he said.The hotel’s ownership group includes brothers Michael and James Scully and Michael’s daughter, Jessica Scully, who serves as president, Pruzinsky said.The iconic Port-O-Call, affectionately known as the “Pink Lady” for its distinctive hue, has been a fixture at 15th Street and the Boardwalk since 1966.People walking through the hotel lobby Tuesday night passed a table brimming with stuffed animals, dolls, games, miniature trucks, balls and many more toys and gifts. Someone donated a bike. Gift certificates and cash donations were also accepted.“There are a lot of gifts here. I’m going to say it’s in the hundreds,” Pruzinsky said.A bike was among the hundreds of donated toys and other gifts.
Residents of barangays Compania Central and South Baluarte in Molo, Iloilo City receive their cash assistance at the covered gym of Barangay Compania Central opn April 22. A total of 974 beneficiaries from six barangays (Ma. Clara, President Roxas, Hinactacan, South San Jose, Compania Central, and South Baluerte) were able to each get P6,000 that day. The city government must be able tosubmit a report on the SAP by the first week of May, said Treñas. Of the 79,215 identifiedfamily-beneficiaries in this city, only little over 2,000 were able to receivetheir assistance as of April 24, or some three percent, according to MayorJerry Treñas. * indigent * overseas Filipino workers indistress Local government units were given onlyfive days to release the cash assistance from the day the funds were downloadedto them, said Assistant Secretary Rhea Peñaflor. He hoped the cash assistancedistribution would be completed before April 30. Each family-beneficiary is entitled toreceive P6,000. * persons with disability One was the changes in DSWD’sguidelines identifying beneficiaries, said Treñas. * farmers, fishermen (provided theyare not recipients of assistance from the Department of Agriculture) * senior citizens * lactating mothers Barangay tanods, barangay health worker and barangay daycare workers are nowqualified for the SAP; they weren’t previously. * micro-entrepreneurs * drivers of pedicabs, tricycles, taxis, public utility buses, and public utility jeepneys The previous guidelines listed onlythe following as qualified for the cash assistance (per low-income family): * homeless “Akonagaproblema. Tama ka hinay. Daku pa sang aton ginalagas,” said Treñas. * solo parents * occasional workers like househelpers * informal workers It was on April 11 yet when the citygovernment received from the Department of Social Welfare and Development(DSWD) P475,290,000 for the SAP cash assistance. ILOILO City – The distribution of cashassistance to beneficiaries of the national government’s Social AmeliorationProgram (SAP) here is slow. * pregnant women * sub-minimum wage earners Treñas said, “Ang kapitan mahinay ang obra kay ti damo pressure, tanan sa barangay gusto madala (in theSAP).”/PN * workers in the private sectorobserving “no work, no pay” (provided they have not availed themselves of theCOVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program of the Department of Labor and Employment) What’s slowing down the cash assistance’sdistribution?
After devoting at least four years of work, sweat and time to a college hockey program, it seems unlikely that any meaningful conclusions can be drawn from the final game in front of a home crowd just because this particular Saturday was labeled “senior night.”On this rare occasion, however, the symmetry of senior night — all seven members of the graduating class scored at least one point and they accounted for 10 points in all — might have actually summed up the contributions from the veteran group this season.On the season, Michael Davies leads the team in points with 40, while Blake Geoffrion is close on his heels with 36. Fifth-year senior Ben Street is one of three captains along with Geoffrion, while the understated game of Aaron Bendickson — he wreaks havoc on the penalty kill and finishes checks despite his small size — often sets the emotional tone for the rest of the players.In what might be the last game in front of the Kohl Center faithfuls, the collective effort would be a fitting way to go out.“Everybody stepped up and chipped in,” UW head coach Mike Eaves said.“The seniors got the hard hat tonight.”Street, who decided last year not to return from injury and play on senior night, changed the momentum and tone of the game with his buzzer beating breakaway goal to end the second period.“Tonight, I just decided to make the most of it,” Street said. “There is not (a) point in being emotional that it might be the last home game; just seize the moment, and make the best of it.”Gudmandson gets the nodWith playoff time quickly approaching, Eaves has decided to try and figure out who will be between the pipes each night for the stretch run.Despite giving up five goals Friday night, Gudmandson was given the nod based on his body of work this season.The junior netminder struggled again Saturday, allowing several fluky goals and only finishing with 19 saves in 23 chances. Though requested, Gudmandson declined to appear for post game interviews.“Guddy struggled,” Eaves said. “There is no question there. I thought the way he had been playing he earned it… he would be the first one to tell you, for whatever reason he struggled. The thing I said to him after the game: ‘back to work.’”Energy MissingThursday night in Minnesota, the Wisconsin basketball team blew its shot at a conference title with a disappointing showing against the Gophers.One night later against St. Cloud State, the Badger hockey team may have done the same.The Badgers’ slide started when Brendan Smith took a two-minute interference penalty just under 90 seconds into the game. Though UW managed to kill the penalty, Wisconsin lost the jump in its skates and gave up a wrap-around goal to senior Ryan Lasch several minutes later.In a game with heavy conference implications, Eaves was disappointed with his players’ effort in the first 10 minutes.“The first 10 minutes, we didn’t have a great start,” he said. “For whatever reason, we were flat.”Street echoed his coach’s thoughts.“It was kind of a weird start,” Street said. “There was a penalty early. Jordy [Murray] kind of got caught in a long shift… the first 10 minutes only a few players played. No one really got in the flow. It was pretty stagnant on our bench too.”Though Eaves believed UW picked up the intensity for the final 50 minutes of the game, Wisconsin still made enough mistakes to suffer a 5-1 loss.The second mistake came when Gudmandson came out aggressively to prevent a breakaway — but ended up turning over the puck to Garrett Roe for a wide open net.Sloppy on defense for much of the night, Gudmandson was left in no-man’s land when the defenseman let Roe slip between them.“If I didn’t clear that puck he would have had a clear cut breakaway,” Gudmandson said. “It was a gamble… but he knocked the puck out of air and made a good play. If I had to do it again I probably would have gone out and tried to fire it.”Mistakes were also made on the penalty kill — St Cloud’s Tony Mosey was left unchecked near the net — and in the third period when the final tally sapped all energy from the building.Both Eaves and Street believe the Badgers out-chanced their opponent, but were unable to capitalize when presented the opportunity. For the Huskies’ part, no strong chance went to waste.“Every time we made a mistake, we found the puck in our net,” Eaves said. “We didn’t capitalize on our opportunities. I think we will find in the game that we had a lot of good chances and didn’t bury them.”