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Project Noelle to help Seneca County children involved in opioid epidemic

An organization has moved to Seneca County and works to help the smallest victims of the opioid epidemic — the children.

Project Noelle was started by Keli Clark, executive director, in December 2017 after her daughter Noelle died of an overdose. In the wake of her death, Noelle left behind three sons, two of which were six-year-old identical twins.

“At that point I realized that the children are often left behind in this whole mess,” Clark said. “It’s like they were being forgotten about.”

Clark said she did not have a lot of guidance and there wasn’t anything available to help children who have been affected by the opioid epidemic.

“There are many services helping the addicts, which is of course great, but there isn’t anything helping the children or the grandparents who are left raising their grandchildren.”

Clark started by coordinating a Christmas event drive for area children and soon it grew from there.

Currently, Project Noelle is established in Erie, Huron, Lorain, Cuyahoga, Lake, Ottawa, Sandusky, and Lucas counties, with Seneca County having been established as part of the program in January.

“Right now we are working on getting the word out and collecting donations,” Caleb Eachus, Project Noelle director of Seneca County, said.

Project Noelle is now working on fundraising for children year-around. Starting with an Easter Basket Drive. Baskets are going to be collected from March 1-April 5.

Suggestions for what can go into a basket are as follows: candy (nothing peanut-based), sidewalk chalk, hair ties, jump rope, nail polish, small stuffed animals, coloring books, bubbles, matchbox cars, Pokemon cards, play dough, crayons, slime and books.

There will also be a Chipotle fundraiser that will take place between 4-8 p.m. March 21, with a percentage of purchases going towards Seneca County’s Project Noelle.

Additional services include helping with holiday assistance, day-to-day assistance, children’s support groups, emergency clothing and diapers, school supplies and back-to-school haircuts.

For more information on Seneca County’s chapter of Project Noelle, call (567) 220-9858 or email calebeachus@projectnoelle.org.

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