Category Archive Giveaway

ByG.O. Community Development Corporation

G.O. Development brings Christmas joy to area families

Reading Time: 2 minutes

ASHTABULA — Christmas is a little brighter for many area families struggling to make ends meet thanks to the hard work of G.O. Development Corp.

The organization has been providing food and Christmas presents to those in need in Ashtabula County for more than 20 years.

“We’ve been working throughout the year. You can’t do this overnight,” said Frances Norman, director of operations for the organization.

She said she usually starts shopping in early January when Christmas and winter items go on sale.

“We can get coats for almost half off,” she said.

Drew Thomas, president of G.O. Development Corp., said children were allowed to pick one gift, $50 or under, and families received a variety of food to make the holiday season a bit brighter.

Norman said the group cross checks applicants with Catholic Charities and Asa’s Angels to make sure people aren’t double dipping for gifts.

“There is so much need out there,” she said.

The families arrived by 9 a.m. for the 11 a.m. start to the gift collection process, organizers said.

Charlie Lawson, 5, of Conneaut was excited about the big event and excitedly peeked his head through a door looking for Santa and his presents.

“This is amazing. This is the biggest blessing we have for all the families,” said Charlie’s mother, Jamie Lawson.

Thomas said different volunteers help put the big day together and Carol Hunter focuses on the purchase of presents.

“It has been over 10 years. I just like doing it,” she said.

Norman said a local person made blankets for families. A variety of Christmas decorations and figurines also were available.

Each of the more than 00 children had their name on a bag with their presents inside and volunteers matched the bag with the child.

Santa Claus and the Grinch also made appearances at the event.

The party used to include singing, music groups with hundreds of people eating a meal together.

Thomas said he hopes the organization will be able to have a large group event, but have held off because of COVID-19, which is still affecting area residents.

“Hopefully we can do something next year,” he said.

ByG.O. Community Development Corporation

G.O. CDC donates 50 sleeping bags and tents to Ashtabula homeless

Reading Time: 2 minutes

ASHTABULA — Monday was a day of hope for people experiencing homelessness in the city.

G.O. Community Development Corporation (CDC) donated 50 tents, 50 mummy sleeping bags, mats and blankets to be distributed at various locations where homeless people reside, such as parks and in the Ashtabula Gulf.

Ashtabula residents Ricky Turner and Robert Jewell accepted the donation from G.O. CDC President, Drew Thomas and G.O. CDC Director, Frances Norman. 


“This should keep them warm in the winter; it’s not a permanent fix but it will help,” Thomas said. “The homeless come to us for their needs. It’s putting the community’s donations back into the community.”

The Geneva United Methodist Church women made the mats out of plastic bags to place under the sleeping bags for extra insulation and comfort, Norman said.

On extremely cold days, G.O. CDC opens its gymnasium, Thomas said.

“We are committed to providing food, clothing, household items and other assistance to people in the city of Ashtabula and throughout Ashtabula County,” Norman said. 

Turner said he and Jewell will distribute the donations to the homeless camps in the area. 


“There are five major camps in Ashtabula, from Bridge Street to behind the Circle K on Main Avenue,” he said. “A new camp just set up behind Giant Eagle in Saybrook.”

Turner, who feeds the people in the parks every morning, hopes to eventually open a sleeping center for the homeless.

“We have parents and kids living down in the gulf,” he said. “I like these tents and sleeping bags because they are lightweight and they can carry them with them throughout the day.”

Turner said the homeless hang out in the city’s downtown parks because they have appointments at Signature Health and Catholic Charities, and they can use the WiFi and bathrooms at the library.

The city’s homeless situation is nothing new to city officials. 

In August, Ashtabula City Council heard nearly two hours of public testimony from more than a dozen people who spoke about petty crime, public urination, criminal damage, litter and other problems they’ve encountered in Cornelius (the former North Park) and South parks. They said the homeless situation is negatively affecting the downtown community.

A few weeks later, council members held a work session to come up with ideas to solve the problem of people camping out in the city parks. They heard from five social service agencies and discovered there’s a lot of help available in the county, if people would just take advantage of it.

ByG.O. Community Development Corporation

2019 Back to School Giveaway

Reading Time: < 1 minute

It’s that time of year again and as the summer winds down and Ohio families start preparing for an exciting new school year, the team at G.O. Community Development Corporation along with our friends at Paramount Advantage and Z107.9 have DOUBLED OUR EFFORTS to provide children with the tools they need to succeed. On August 10th, 2019, @ 12pm we will be giving away backpacks filled with essential school supplies (while supplies last). 

Many children across Ohio look forward to back-to-school shopping, where they can pick out fun and colorful supplies like folders, pencils, crayons, and even a new backpack—to start the new year fresh. Unfortunately, this can put a serious strain on many families and teachers across Ohio.

 Along with a generous contribution by Paramount Advantage and Z107.9, who funded the backpacks and supplies, the staff of G.O. CDC mean to fill the gap and serve those families in need and make sure everyone starts the 2019-2020 school on the right foot. 

One in every five school-age child lives in poverty, making it difficult for parents to afford these supplies. When you factor in that teachers themselves spend, on average, $578 of their own salary to fund school supplies for their classrooms each year.

ByG.O. Community Development Corporation

Group help area residents

Reading Time: 2 minutes

ASHTABULA — The lives of hundreds of people are enriched each week thanks to the efforts of a sturdy group of volunteers that staff G.O. Community Development Corporation on Station Avenue in Ashtabula.

Donations and grants funds the programs ranging from meals for the needy, recreation for youth and free shoes and clothes for those down on their luck, said G.O. CDC Board President Drew Thomas.

“We get probably 100 people that come every day,” Thomas said.

He said meals are fed daily Monday to Friday and a variety of educational and recreational programs occur throughout a month.

A small group of volunteers cook and serve meals and provide clothes and shoes for those in need.

In the summer computer classes are held to educate area youth, said Frances Norman, a volunteer, who also opens the shoe, clothing and toiletries program several days a week.

“We are always looking for people to volunteer,” Thomas said.

He said more information or ways to donate can be found at the organization’s website at

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