Two Oregon businesses were honored with Prism Awards because of their spirit of giving.
H&M Open Arms Massage Studio was announced as the Small Business of the Year, in part for its role in local fundraisers, and Food for Thought is the Non-Profit of the Year at the 21st Annual Prism Award Ceremony March 27 at Sunrise Park and Banquet Center in Millbury.
Food for Thought began in May 2007 and has seen the number of families served increase each year as its reach into the surrounding community expanded as well.
The non-profit, which has four employees, now has 18 food pantries in three counties and serves approximately 1,400 families a month. It also maintains a free lunch program for Toledo’s central city each Saturday morning, where they take 350 lunches for a community picnic.
“Food for Thought was founded in Oregon by people in this community with a passion for this community,” said nominator Sam Meeden. “We never decided to locate here, but we have decided to stay here because of the incredible community support. Everyone from churches to small businesses to schools to other non-profits have been so supportive of our mission.
“Our bottom line is measured not only in dollars and cents but also in volunteer hours and in-kind donations. While our financial support comes from all over Northwest Ohio, our day-in and day-out volunteer support comes primarily from people in this community. Because this area has such a small town feel and is full of so many qualified and capable people we have found it to be a great place to be.”
Food for Thought relies heavily on partnerships, from the Farmers Market downtown to a small church down the street. FFT partners with 17 different locations all over the region on a monthly basis, allowing for different groups to volunteer with the FFT staff.
“Food for Thought aims to feed our community in a thoughtful way,” Meeden stated. “We don’t simply hope to feed people. We hope to treat people differently who are experiencing food insecurity. We know that dignity and respect are a great pairing with our supplemental groceries we bring to our patrons each month.
Meeden says one of the way FFT does this is through its Choice Food Pantry model, which allows patrons to shop for food their family needs rather than simply accepting food that is pre-packaged.
FTF also remains involved in an increasing number of communities through its Mobile Food Pantry. This is Food for Thought’s second Prism Award
H&M Open Arms Massage
H&M Open Arms Massage Studio owner Ashley J. Hirzel joined up with another newly licensed therapist, Stacey L. Miller, and together they joined forces and created a small studio space on Navarre in July of 2011. It was at this point where H&M Open Arms Massage Studio made its true debut.
H&M then welcomed Kim Houser, massage therapist and esthetician. In order to Create a wide variety of new services other than just massage therapy, such as facials, scrubs, wraps and waxing, H&M welcomed Jessica Chernota, Jane Gartee, and Kaitlin Tucker to their staff.
In July 2012 exactly one year after their grand opening Ashley received the keys to their current
and much more spacious location on Ansonia Street. The business now has seven employees.
“Every therapist that works in the studio reaches out with healing to every client that enters,” Hirzel wrote in her Prism Award nomination. “More and more of our clients have joined the family of returning regular clients. We educate our clients on the benefits and not only do they retain the knowledge we share with them but they feel the benefits in their everyday life as they continue to receive massage.
“We have teamed up with a local small business networking group called Inspire. This group has only made our family grow. By working with local small businesses such as Oregon Hearing, Dr. Robin Swaim of Gentle Chiropractic, and many others; we are really able to enhance our view of what is going on throughout the community which in turn helps our business plan evolve into what it has become.”
Reaching out to the community has always been one of H&M Open Arms Massage Studio’s No. 1 priorities. H&M has paid attention to the children of Oregon through the Clay High School Athletics Booster Association and Clay High School hockey team with donations to their programs.
H&M frequently provides free chair massage for local companies and charities trying to raise funds. One in particular, which H&M has had the benefit of working with over the last two years, is ProMedica Bay Park Hospital. At Bay Park, H&M provided free chair massage to the Women’s Auxiliary for their Women’s Wellness Day.
Massage for a cure (chair massage) was also a big event at their re-grand opening in August as H&M raised over $500 for ProMedica’s Light the Night Fundraiser for Leukemia and Lymphoma. H&M also reached out to a local family when their son tragically passed away in a fire. H&M raised around $300 for the family to help get through the holidays.
Looking back on the tragic fire of Vail Meadows Equestrian Center, H&M was able to raise approximately $200 for their fundraiser to help them rebuild.
In another notable cause, H&M also provides massage to local veterans through a program called “Hands for Heroes,” a foundation helping veterans who are overcoming PTSD or many of the other ailments that many veterans may be suffering from.
Thirteen businesses and organizations were honored, including the Toledo Metropolitan Council of Governments, which received a General Excellence Award at the Prism ceremony.
Others nominated were Northwood Jewelers, Motor Carrier Service and Miracle League of NW Ohio, both of Northwood; Croghan Colonial Bank, S & D Capital, and C & W Tank Cleaning Co., all of Oregon; and Martin and Martin Insurance Agency, The LaBuhn Center, and Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center, all of Toledo.
The event is sponsored by the Eastern Maumee Bay Chamber of Commerce and honors excellence in this area’s businesses and organizations. Paul Toth, president of the Toledo/Lucas County Port Authority was the keynote speaker and retired local news broadcaster Chrys Peterson was emcee. The Prism Award trophies were designed by artist Steve Messenger of Messenger Fine Art Glass.