Howard family receives over $10K from spaghetti dinner fundraiser | News, Sports, Jobs

PHOTO PROVIDED Emanuel Yoder and his wife Jess, rear, are shown with their daughters, Alexis, MacKenzie and Autumn. The family received an Easter basket of donations from a spaghetti supper benefit that was held on April 1.

HOWARD — Usually you can expect an Easter basket to be filled with candy, colorful eggs and small toys that delight children. One special Easter basket that was presented to a Howard area family last week was also filled with love, prayers and an enormous surprise.

Patti Long, acting on behalf of the Howard United Methodist Church, presented Emanuel Yoder and his family with a basket that held gift cards and checks that totaled $10,825 which were donated by family, friends and those of the community who ate a spaghetti supper that was held as a benefit for the family. The benefit was held on April 1 to assist the family with their needs and expenses as Emanuel prepares to undergo a stem cell transplant to combat cancer.

Yoder was first diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in October, 2018 and had his first stem cell transplant in May, 2019. This type of myeloma is a blood cancer that forms in the white blood (plasma) cells. These cells, when healthy, help the body to fight off infections. During the first transplant, the transplant team of doctors and oncologists removed his own cells and then treated them before reintroducing them back into his body so that they would grow and get into his bone marrow to begin making new, healthy blood cells.

Howard United Methodist Church held a benefit spaghetti supper back in 2019 for the family and saw as many as 300 people order a meal and stand in line to eat just to show their support.

So this year, when the church decided to hold a second benefit to aid the family, they were expecting to feed the same amount of people. When the meal was advertised the church wanted people to pre-order their meals so that there was some degree of planning involved in having enough food and coordinating the cooking preparations. Generally Patti Long, a congregation member who loves to cook, handles the meal preparations and she had already contacted DelGrosso’s to arrange for the noodles, sauce, meatballs, aprons and placemats to serve 300 meals.

PHOTO PROVIDED This little lady is Nora Long, the 17-month-old daughter of David and Lisa Long, who is a bit messy while learning to feed herself. Nora really enjoyed the spaghetti supper that was held by the Howard United Methodist Church to benefit the Yoder family of Howard.

As the advertising went out and as each day went by with Long receiving one call after another reserving meals — some changes needed to be made.

“I called DelGrosso’s and increased the number to 400,” said Long. She picked up the supplies from DelGrosso’s in Tipton on Thursday and stopped at Sam’s Club for the other ingredients she’d need for preparing the meal.

And her telephone kept ringing with more and more individuals requesting meals, so it was back to Sam’s Club she went for more spaghetti, sauce and the fixings that she’d need to ensure she’d have enough food as more calls kept coming in.

“Sam’s Club was out of spaghetti by then, so I went to Walmart and bought all they had, and am I ever glad I did,” said Long.

On Friday, Long started cooking the noodles at 10:30 am because they had received calls from the Waste Water Treatment Plant employees in Bellefonte Borough where Emanuel’s father, Alvin, works. The WWTP employees all ordered the meal for their lunch to show their support to both Alvin and Emanuel.

“Our church volunteers helped to make up the salads and packaged them, cut the 35 cakes that had been donated and put the cake pieces into containers and bagged the rolls that went with the meal while I put things on to simmer,” added Long.

“I had four or five pots on the stove boiling all day long with noodles cooking and I think the last pot finally came off at 6:45 pm I believe it was 120 pounds of spaghetti noodles that we cooked. We handled the pre-orders first and told those coming to wait in line that we’d let them know once all the pre-orders had been filled and they could purchase meals until we ran out”said Long, remembering her day-long kitchen spree.

In all, there were 500 meals sold for the benefit and “people were giving us extra donations of cash and checks made payable to the Yoder’s. Some handed over gift cards for the family to help out while they are traveling to doctor appointments and for when they will be staying in Hershey,” said Long.

“It was an absolutely wonderful day and I feel so blessed that I could be a part of it,” Long told of her experience with the spaghetti supper and how the community came out to help one of their own.

Emanuel was scheduled to have the stem cell transplant in mid-April, but that has been delayed a few weeks because his oncologist wants him to have more chemotherapy and radiation before doing the transplant to have a better chance of a successful outcome. All of the diseased cells need to be destroyed, but by doing that, good cells are also killed. This also causes his immune system to be depleted and makes him more susceptible to infection.

A donor has been found in the donor data base who is a very good match with 8 out of 8 Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA). 6 of 8 HLA’s is considered a good match. Emanuel’s younger brothers, Levi and Joel, were both tested to be donors. Levi was a 5 of 8 match and Joel was a 4 of 8 match.

Emanuel is a graduate of Bald Eagle Area High School and is on short-term medical disability leave from UAJA right now. He and his wife, the former Jessica McCloskey, have been married since September 2006. The couple has three daughters, twins Alexis and Autumn, who are 14, and MacKenzie, age 8.

Emanuel, Jess and their parents, Alvin and Sheila Yoder and Scott and Tammy McCloskey, are overwhelmed with the concern and support that has been shown to them during the past four years. The families are so very grateful for the funds that will help to ease their minds as they await the stem cell transplant.

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