2011 Visions of Joy

09-12-15-003abcThe shopping’s over and the gifts have been delivered!  Our VOE “elves” had another successful year and we want to thank Boscov’s Department Store and their amazing employees for the wonderful job they did again this year to make Visions of Joy such a success!  We served 24 families with 61 children and over 183 gifts were delivered before Christmas Day so that the children could wake up and have gifts under their trees on Christmas morning.  We also provided the families with cameras and asked them to take pictures of the children on Christmas morning so we could enjoy the looks on their faces.  Thank you to everyone who had a part in making our 2011 Visions of Joy program a successful, memorable event.

PA Guitar Quintet Concert A Huge Success!

Thank you to Pastor Dolich and the members of Hope Lutheran Church in Tatamy  for hosting the wonderful PA Guitar Quintet concert on December 4.  The event raised over $1600 for Visions of Eagles.  The concert was a first class event and we received a lot of positive feedback from the people who attended.  Hope Lutheran Church continues to be one of our greatest supporters and we cannot thank them enough for their faithfulness to our ministry.   Take a look at our Gallery section to see some pictures from the concert.

VOE Pocket Crosses Span the Globe!

Most people know Carol Seaton as one of our VOE committee members and our Nazareth Area Food Bank liaison.  What some of you may not know is that she is the creator of our VOE pocket crosses.  Carol has been making these crosses for about two years now and she recently made her 1,000th cross!  The crosses contain a poem and also contact information for Carol and VOE.  Carol has received calls from all over the country for information on how to make and obtain her crosses.  She has been giving her crosses to people at our VOE events, area Church services, and Chamber events and recently her crosses were included in packages that were sent to our service men & women in the Middle East.  Carol does not sell her crosses but will accept donations to VOE for them.  She is amazed at the stories that people tell her about how special her crosses are to them and the comfort that they are bringing to people in need.  Take a look at our gallery at the Chick-fil-A Spirit Night pictures to see a picture of our special “pocket cross creator”, Carol.  We thank her for this special ministry that is taking VOE all around the world!

WBPH TV Channel 60 VOE interview

An important announcement from Visions of Eagles — Tom Fehnel, President of our Board of Directors and our organization’s founder and Sally Jablonski, Vice President and Treasurer, were recently interviewed by Channel 60.  The results of that interview will be broadcast on August 30th and again on September 2nd. 

If anyone is interested in viewing our interview, it is available online at the links below:

http://takingtheinitiative.com/index.php/taking-the-initiative/

http://www.wbph.org/video-online/taking-the-initiative-videos/

All of us at VOE thank you for your continued interest and support.

 

 

VOE Angels of White

Handcrafted white angels are our latest fundraising event!  These beautifully decorated white angels have been made by our VOE committee and auxiliary members.  There are only a few left and they can be purchased for $10.

Our goal for our Angels of White is to have one displayed on every home in the Nazareth Area.  Your purchase of these angels will help us continue our ministry in the Nazareth Area School District and you can proudly display them and show your support for your neighbors in need.  Below is a poem that you will receive with your Angel of White:

The Visions of Eagles and our Angels of White,

Are both there to help you, for each can take flight.

Our Eagle can spot the persons in need,

And our Angel can help deliver good deeds.

Buy one for family, neighbors and friends,

So the Vision of Eagles can help needs end.

 

 

 

VOE Hosts Celebration Event

On May 21, 2011 our Foundation held its first annual celebration event at the Hampton Inn in Easton.  Sally Jablonski welcomed our VOE committee members, area business leaders, chamber members, and VOE donors.  Four care receivers were also in attendance and graciously shared their stories.  Bud Donnelly gave the invocation after which our guests enjoyed a scrumptious brunch.  After our brunch, Sally Jablonski shared a year in review with our guests which highlighted our past and future fundraising events, total donations and care receiver distributions to date.  Tom Fehnel, VOE’s founder, shared closing remarks and future VOE initiatives such as a Visions of Eagles learning academy which will be located in downtown Nazareth and a no charge medical clinic.  The event closed with an original composition written by Gary James and performed by Linda Norris titled “Visions of Eagles”.  Representative Charlie Dent stopped by to congratulate us for recognizing the needs of families and individuals in the Nazareth area.  This event will be held on an annual basis with our next celebration being held in the Spring of 2012.  Take a look at our gallery for some photographs of our celebration event.

Another Successful Adult Soapbox Derby Race!

The weather was great and there was a lot of excitement in the crowd!  There were approximately forty entrants in this year’s race and some racers were extremely creative!  My personal favorite was the “Chicken Man”!

Thank you to everyone who bought hot dogs and snow cones.  We raised over $300 which will be used to help the residents of the Nazareth Area.  Another huge thank you to the Soapbox organizers who named VOE as the main benefactor of this year’s event.  We look forward to participating again next year.  Check out our gallery for some great pictures!

A special thank you to our student volunteers, Daniel and Mikaela.  They worked tirelessly for many hours serving snow cones and we look forward to working with them again in the future.  Thank you again Daniel and Mikaela!!

Ressler’s Hoagie Sale to benefit VOE

OUR RESSLER’S HOAGIE SALE HAS BEGUN!!

VOE committee members are armed with tickets for Ressler’s original hoagies.  The price is $3.50 per ticket and $1.00 will be donated to VOE to continue to help those in need in the Nazareth Area School District.

Tickets can be purchased from any VOE committee member.  This is a great way to support your community while enjoying Ressler’s delicious hoagies.

March 16, 2011 Nazareth Patch Artlcle

‘Visions of Eagles’ Helps Bridge the Gap Between Despair and Hope

by Mallory Vough

It helps with the simple fixes; a new set of tires, a new house window that blew out or pellets for a stove.

But it also helps with the big fixes; furnishing an apartment while a Lower Nazareth Township family rebuilds its fire-ravaged home and paying to bring a doctor from Philadelphia to Lower Nazareth to help an autistic boy learn how to eat.

The small and big fixes are all bandaged by a local foundation, Visions of Eagles.

The homegrown, not-for-profit corporation was established in October 2008 and operates as a public charity, according to Tom Fehnel, president of its board of directors.

The 501(c)3 provides temporary assistance to individuals and families living in the Nazareth area including the borough, Stockertown and Tatamy and the townships of Lower Nazareth, Upper Nazareth, and Bushkill, according to Carol Seaton of Nazareth, Fehnel’s sister.

Visions of Eagles, which comprises 11 local committee members, has assisted 50 individuals and families so far.

According to Fehnel, the group recently surpassed $50,000 in caregiving costs, and raised $24,000 through fund raising in 2010.

For a small, local foundation, Fehnel and Seaton have amazing stories to share.

“A woman in Tatamy was literally crawling around her house,” said Fehnel, a 1962 Nazareth Area High School graduate.  “We got her a power scooter and worked with the Carpenter’s Community Church.  We purchased the materials and the church built a ramp for her.”

But most rewarding is, “She not only gets around her house now, but she can also visit her neighbors.  She’s as happy as can be,” Fehnel said.

He also remembers the time Visions of Eagles, along with Fogel’s Fuel Service, helped a woman who went without hot water for several months.

“She hadn’t had hot water for five months because her furnace was dysfunctional,” Fehnel said.  “When committee members went down to interview her, she was sitting in front of a space heater with quilts to keep warm.”

While Fogel’s helped fix the woman’s furnace, the foundation helped the woman get set up with the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), he added.

When Visions of Eagles steps in to assist, it routinely looks to local Nazareth businesses for help.  Vally Tire, Moore Tire Center, Boscov’s, Nazareth Plate Glass, Fogel’s Fuel Service and others have all helped the foundation assist local individuals and families in different ways.

During the holidays, “Visions of Joy” works closely with Boscov’s, Seaton said.  “Boscov’s has been fantastic to us.  It has given us discounts and has brought in people to wrap gifts specifically for us,” she said.

And although the Visions of Eagles’ brochure states, “Flying With the Vision of Eagles on the Lookout for Those in Need,” Fehnel has another favorite motto:  “We are here to assist individuals and families cross the bridge from despair to hope.”

For the curious bunch, there is one paid Visions of Eagles employee, Bud Donnelly, who is paid $200 per month, according to Fehnel.

“I would say that 90 percent of every $1 that is received by Visions of Eagles is provided to care for receivers,” Fehnel said, adding that each month about $50 goes toward a phone bill, $200 goes to Donnelly, and once a year a required payment is made to the IRS.

December 16, 2010 Visions of Joy on Christmas article in The Express-Times

Charity Distributes Gifts to Needy Children in Nazareth Area

by Tony Nauroth

The borough-based nonprofit group Visions of Eagles delivered 183 presents Wednesday to needy families living within the Nazareth Area School District boundaries.

Each child on Christmas will get three packages.  Two hold clothing, Visions Chairman Bud Donnelly said.  The third will be a toy, music CD and sports equipment for older boys or jewelry for older girls.  Donnelly said he got the idea for that third “fun” gift from an old Reader’s Digest story about a boy on Christmas who opened box after box of clothing.  He finally got down to the last box and held his breath, hoping for a toy.  It was a pair of socks.  As the boy trudged to his bedroom, his mother asked him where he was going.  “Up to my room to play with my socks,” he said.

The Visions of Eagles staff should deliver the last of the items by Friday morning, Donnelly said.  The program, in its third year, is called Visions of Joy.  Here’s how it works:  volunteers identify families that can’t afford Christmas presents for the children.  This is done through Visions’ database of needy families already being helped by the group with their everyday living needs, Donnelly said.  The volunteers spent about $2,000 this year for all the gifts using money donated by community members and donors far from the school district boundaries.  “We had one person from Florida who gave $500,” Donnelly said.

According to the Visions of Eagles mission statement, the public charity identifies needs in the Nazareth area.  “Our membership feels that those who have been blessed should be sharing their blessings with those in need,” the statement reads.  The Visions of Joy program is a growth industry for the volunteers.  The first year it provided gifts to eight children.  Last year it was 54, according to the group’s website.

Visions of Eagles is a state-recognized charity created by successful computer entrepreneur Thomas Fehnel, of Florida, who wanted to give some of his success back to his native Nazareth.  In a previous interview, Fehnel said that the idea for the name came from a vision he imagined of “an eagle hovering over Nazareth seeking out needs.”

Asked why he volunteers and donates, Donnelly said, “The people we help often tell us, ‘Thank you very much.  I don’t know what we would have done for Christmas without you.’  “That’s why we do it,” Donnelly said.

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