Local businesses join effort to save Old Schoolhouse in Stow

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Despite the recession and an increased number of requests for charitable contributions, the Stow-Munroe Falls local business community continues to step up to help local causes. The Save Our Schoolhouse campaign is no exception.

The Stow Munroe Falls Historical Society's short-term fundraising project, Save Our Schoolhouse, is working to raise $75,000 in order to move and restore one of Stow's original one-room schoolhouses. The old school building was offered to the Historical Society by the Summit County MetroParks after they purchased the school and the land on which it sits in order to develop a parking lot on Young Road near the Hike and Bike Trail. The Historical Society has undertaken a number of fundraising projects, and is nearly at the half-way point in donations collected and pledged.

Now, Stow and Munroe Falls businesses have committed to help the Save Our Schoolhouse campaign.

John Pribonic, co-chair of the SOS fundraising committee, explains, "Approximately 50 local businesses have agreed to place change canisters near their registers as a way to help gather funds for this project. We hope that customers will make small contributions as they collect their change from purchases." Similar canisters were placed in the Stow-Munroe Falls schools' classrooms and the students raised nearly $5,000. The committee is optimistic that adults will follow suit.

Mike Jabbour, owner of Jabbour's Clothing and Tailoring on Route 59, gladly accepted a canister. "Anything I can do to help raise awareness of this important cause is my pleasure. I will encourage my customers to make a donation."

Likewise, Jay Minkin, president of Co-Op Optical, placed a canister in his waiting room. "I want to make sure that my patrons see the canister and have access to donation forms. I plan on placing the brochure describing the effort close by to help tell the story of the schoolhouse."

In addition to the change canisters, the fundraising committee is also looking for individual and corporate donors and in-kind services to bring down the cost of the restoration. Contracting, construction, landscaping, architecture, drafting and paving are just a few of the services that will be needed during the duration of the project.

"The Stow-Munroe Falls Chamber of Commerce members are often asked to support local community causes and events by donating services, their time, products or financial support," said Doris Stewart, executive director of the organization. "I am always amazed at how generous and supportive they are when called upon. Chamber members do what they can, whenever they can give back to the community."

Annie Hanson of the SOS committee is confident that this effort will be successful. "We have seen a very generous effort made by the business community and appreciate their continued support. We have made significant progress toward our fundraising goal and encourage individuals, businesses, and community organizations to consider making a donation soon to help us cross the finish line."

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