Members of North Bay Community Church of Clearwater distributed more than 200 "pre-hugged huggables" as Valentine greetings to children and adults who are "shut-ins" or otherwise in need of comfort.
"People who live alone or in nursing homes get to the place where they become like little children," said Allan Stuart, pastor at North Bay Community.
"We wanted to provide them with a little huggable _ a little plush animal _ so we had everybody bring their huggables and pass them down the pews and give them a hug," he said. "Way over 200 of these little animals came in, and last Sunday we had to ask for help in distributing them."
The stuffed animals, anywhere from 2 inches to 2 feet high, were distributed by members of the congregation to shut-in friends, nursing home residents and children in hospital wards. Included with the huggable was the message: "This little companion, personally held and hugged, has been filled with love and very special prayers just for you!"
"We had a little over 600 people in church Sunday. That means that one out of every three people brought a huggable," Stuart said.
As the congregation at North Bay Community Church has grown, so has its outreach program and service to the community.
Its Human Needs Committee collected canned goods and staples for hungry families at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The congregation distributed 138 hygiene kits and $10,000 worth of food, toys and appliances to the Clearwater Spouse Abuse Shelter, Religious Community Services Food Pantry and Emergency Housing.
The congregation also supports a pastor's discretionary fund for emergencies, a medical fund for those with life-threatening illnesses and a scholarship fund for students preparing for the ministry and a general scholarship fund.
North Bay's preschool, the Learning Place, participates in a program offering internships to college students preparing for a career in preschool education.
Veterinary society elects officers
Dr. Lester Mandelker has been elected president of the Pinellas County Veterinary Medical Society for 1992.
Dr. Amy MacCallum was elected secretary; Dr. Cliff Barnett, treasurer; Dr. Dean Moentman, immediate past president; and Dr. Theresa Lightfoot, president-elect.
Board members include Drs. Lucy Bartlett, Tom Callahan, John McLemore, Ernie Godfrey and Kenny Mitchell.
General meetings are at 7:30 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at the Seminole Lake Country Club. For reservations or information, call McLemore at 577-6500 or Bartlett at 398-1928.
Couples celebrate anniversaries
Residents of Lee's Travel Park in Largo, who have been married 50 or more years, gathered at Kally-K's in Dunedin on Valentine's Day to celebrate.
Bud and Vivian Boukma, newest 50th couple at the park, were hosts for the celebration.
Residents of the park have been celebrating in this manner since 1984, when there were 35 couples eligible to attend. This year, there were 45 eligible couples.
After the luncheon, the couples returned to the park clubhouse for a group picture.
Earl and Eva Smothers of Largo celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary with friends at a luncheon and at a coffee at the Teakwood Village clubhouse.
The Smotherses were married Feb. 7, 1927, in Kalamazoo, Mich. They came to this area in 1970. Before retiring, he worked in a defense plant and both were nurses for the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital of the Michigan Department of Mental Health.
They have two children, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Vincent and Ethel Emanuele of Dunedin plan to celebrate their 59th wedding anniversary at a luncheon with family members.
The Emanueles were married Feb. 18, 1933, in Brooklyn, N.Y. They came to Dunedin in 1986 from Long Island, N.Y. Before retiring in 1973, he worked for 30 years for Grummon Aircraft.
They have three children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Information for the Good for You column may be sent to Pat Scarberry, 710 Court St., Clearwater 34616. Please include a contact name and phone number.