During his five years working with the Jingle Bell Charity Ball, Ashland’s Mike Mussetter has always set his eyes on moments that are nothing short of Christmas magic.
Last year a van drove up to the holiday event’s entrance weighted down with donated toys and bikes. Philanthropic folks mail in hefty holiday contributions. Receiving these much-wished-for gifts, impoverished and homeless local children find pure wonder.
“Their eyes absolutely light up and sparkle, receiving just one toy,” Mussetter said. “They’re so thankful and grateful.”
On Friday, the Jingle Bell Charity Ball will again ask the community to ring out its support. In its 12th year delivering joy to tots and teens the event distributes gifts gifts through CAReS.
Carol Jean Cieraszynski began the Jingle Bell Charity Ball modestly, with about 160 guests gathering for a fun-filled evening. Over time, it hosted more than 400.
The local Realtor is hard at work this week making lists and checking them twice. It takes a team of volunteers a year to ready for the dinner-dance. It gets done just in the nick of time, Mussetter joked.
This year’s event will take place from 7 p.m. to midnight at Fannin Automotive on U.S. 60 Admission is $10 and an article of clothing or an unwrapped toy for a child age infant to 14.
Christmas-best attire is recommended for the semi-formal affair. Singer Stephen Salyers will be entertaining at the 8 p.m. dance. With tables filling fast, attendees should arrive early to ensure a good seat.
Chef Bill Schaefer of Greenup’s Haute Stuff Inc. is catering the event, and free limousine service will be available after the ball.
The event serves as a memorial tribute to Cieraszynski’s son, Curtis Nusbaum, who died of a heart aneurysm in 1997. The Minnesotan committed his life to lending a hand and improving the lives of special-needs children.
Nusbaum enjoyed a yuletide charitable ball he attended in Virginia where U.S. Marines collected toys for tots at the entrance. He phoned his mother afterwards saying he’d love to throw an event just like that.
That’s why Cieraszynski hopes to “make a child’s dream come true,” with this theme.
There will be cash giveaways, door prizes and a silent auction of high-end electronic items; signed and numbered artwork; a custom-made kaleidoscope; a Daytona Beach oceanfront condo getaway; jewelry; UK basketball tickets; and an Ashland Plaza Hotel suite stay.
Door prize raffle tickets are $1 each, or $5 for six tickets.
Those unable to attend, but who wish to donate unwrapped gifts or contribute monetarily should drop off items at the Ashland Re/Max office at 1627 Greenup Ave. during normal business hours.
To donate, RSVP or request information, call (606) 325-0407 or (606) 922-6308.