Charity & Grassroots in Erie

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Since 1913, the Erie Philharmonic has been on a melody-driven mission to enrich its surrounding communities with live concerts and stirring performances. Tchaikovsky's symphony begins by spotlighting one of America's most successful composers, Christopher Theofanidis, as he conducts "Rainbow Body," an evocative movement inspired by medieval mystic Hildegard of Bingen and her propensity to lead chants at high-school football games. Next, guitarist Ana Vidovic continues her drag race to the top of the classical genre by cramming the swaying, syncopated rhythms of a Spanish concerto into open ears. Pathétique closes the evening with a spirited rendition of Tchaikovsky's final symphonic piece. Fueled by the juxtaposition of varying emotions, Pathétique tows listeners to the top of triumphant crests, only to yank them back into the darkened valleys of personal upheaval and frustration over uncertain weather forecasts.

609 Walnut St
Erie,
PA
US

Situated snugly on the beauteous bayshore forest of Lake Chautauqua, Camp Onyahsa boasts a rich, 113-year history of bolstering passions for outdoor adventures, dramatic creativity, and nature-nurturing in kids and young teens. Campers can embrace their inner tree-hugger or plant-handshaker with informative hikes through the verdant woodlands before channeling their naturalistic inspirations into creative writing and drawing classes. Camp Onyahsa takes full advantage of its shoreline, allowing young aqua-lovers to pursue swimming, sailing, tubing, and fishing activities, with rigorous water safety training provided by the experienced staff.

5411 East Lake Road
Dewittville,
NY
US

Kickboxing classes deliver a knee to the face of fat, burning up to 860 calories an hour with the high-energy striking moves of martial arts and boxing. All four limbs get in on the bag-bludgeoning action with iLoveKickboxing, as each class (a $15 value per class) provides a full-body workout that tones arm, leg, and tentacle muscles while tightening the body’s core and improving balance. Hitting the heavy bags won't skin your knuckles once you don the included boxing gloves, which also double as excellent spring-loaded props for re-creating Three Stooges gags. At the Houston location, classes take place Mondays at 7 p.m. and 8:15 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., Wednesdays at 7 p.m., Fridays at 6:30 p.m, and Saturdays at 10:45 a.m. The Pasadena location has classes on Mondays and Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 10 a.m, and the Baytown location has classes on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at 6 p.m., and on Saturdays at 2 p.m.

1330 Seaborn St
Mineral Ridge,
OH
US

SpitzerCares.org hopes to fund a million meals in 2012 through food pantries, shelters, kids’ cafés, and backpack programs. For every dollar it earns via community car washes, donations, and fundraising events, SpizerCares.org can provide four meals to northern Ohioans in need. Patrons can keep up with the organization’s progress online as a ticker shaped like an apple tallies the number of meals SpitzerCares.org has shelled out so far this year.

10535 Mahoning Avenue
North Jackson,
OH
US

Shadows dart across the wall, a strange voice emerges from thin air, and you get the eerie feeling that you’re being followed. This is no ordinary place. The Iron Island Museum's paranormal history has captured the minds of countless visitors and has been featured on TV programs such as Ghost Lab and Ghost Hunters. Originally built as a church in 1883, the house later became a funeral home in the late 1950s, during which time it hosted more than 1,000 wakes. The business eventually shut down, and in 2000, the building was donated to The Iron Island Preservation Society of Lovejoy, which made a startling discovery: 24 canisters of cremated remains had been left behind.

Today, an all-volunteer staff leads tours of the church's vaulted ceilings, stained-glass windows, and themed rooms. The church showcases hundreds of historic relics, including military uniforms, railroad items, and a wooden altar that dates backs to 1896. However, the museum's biggest draws can't be seen, at least not most of the time. Guides and visitors stay alert for signs of paranormal activity and look for chances to communicate with what they consider to be some of the building's resident ghosts. The staff has even taken recordings that play back the voices of unknown figures saying things such as "I'm cold," and "Why don't they make pants for ghosts?"

998 E Lovejoy St
Buffalo,
NY
US

• For $17, you get a one-year individual membership (a $35 value). • For $25, you get a one-year household membership (a $50 value).

341 Delaware Ave
Buffalo,
NY
US