Blast from the past gives back

GREENFIELD — Jill Ebbert knows a good idea when she has one — even if it keeps her up all night thinking about it. Just ask Ebbert, executive director of the Kenneth Butler Soup Kitchen. She went to bed brainstorming for a way to thank the community for its support. When the idea for a community sock hop came to her, she knew it was right.

She wasn’t tired at all from her sleepless night, Ebbert said. She was excited and energized to be doing the right thing at the right time.

Ebbert shared her idea with four other organizations — The Hancock County Boys and Girls Club, Meal on Wheels, God’s Open Arms and the Hancock County Food Pantry — and now all five groups are involved in the planning for Blast from the Past, a community sock hop.

From her years at the soup kitchen, Ebbert understands the importance of volunteers and community support.

“Nonprofits constantly have our hands out asking for donations and financial support because it’s the only way we can stay business,” Ebbert said.

With this event, Ebbert and her collaborators hope to give back to the community.

Blast From the Past, scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Boys and Girls Club of Hancock County, 715 E. Lincoln St.

The sock hop is purposely scheduled for the week before Thanksgiving.

“We want our donors, supporters and volunteers and everyone to know how incredibly thankful we are for them,” Ebbert said.

The sock hop is the featured event of the evening, but things get off to a bouncing start with a 15-minute mock basketball game between the sponsoring organizations. Each team will have five players, two reserve players and two cheerleaders. A referee sits in a swivel chair mid-court and will blow his whistle for every infraction he sees. The game becomes more challenging when the referee switches out the basketball for a soccer ball, a football or a tennis ball.

The sock hop features a DJ and music from the 1950s followed by a selection of retro, blast-from-the-past games. No electricity is needed to jump rope, play hopscotch, hula hoops, checkers or to shimmy under the limbo stick.

Attendees are encouraged to come in ’50s attire and compete for prizes in the costume contest. Ebbert and crew plan to select a king and queen for the sock hop — the oldest man and the youngest girl in attendance will have the honors.

Kathleen Vahle, executive director of Meals on Wheels, was excited when Ebbert contacted her about the sock hop.

“It’s a great idea,” Vahle said. “It goes right along with just who Jill is in regards to her open heart and giving spirit.”

Vahle expects a great turnout and hopes to build on the event year to year.

Ebbert’s target audience for the sock hop is families. Her goal is to go back to a time when families did things together and enjoyed one another, and it didn’t cost hundreds of dollars.”

“Families don’t do things together anymore,” Ebbert said. “They seldom even eat dinner together.”

“It’s not a fundraiser. It’s a thank you,” Ebbert said

Everything is free, Ebbert stresses, even the popcorn, candy and soda available at the concession stand for attendees to snack on, but she asks that each attending family bring something that is on the wish list of the participating nonprofits.

If you go

What: Blast From the Past

When: 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 19

Where: Boys and Girls Club of Hancock County, 715 E. Lincoln St.

Want to donate?

Each of the agencies are in need of a variety of things:

• Boys and Girls Clubs of Hancock County: Old oversized T-shirts/aprons for painting, pencils, copy paper, construction paper, paper towels

• Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen: Powdered lemonade, canned fruit, canned carrots, alcohol wipes, cake mixes

• Meals on Wheels: Small low-salt peanut butter jars, canned tuna, canned chicken, high fiber senior friendly cereal

• Food Pantry: Peanut butter, canned tuna/chicken, jelly, beef stew, toilet paper

• God’s Open Arms: Pairs of men’s calf-length tube socks, AA or AAA batteries, bleach, hand warmers, non-taper candles

Author photo
Christine Schaefer is arts editor and editorial assistant at the Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3222 or