OBERLIN — For nine years, radio stations “Kool Kat Oldies” and “Gold Country” have put up a Christmas tree with hopes that listeners would decorate it with kindness.
Some years, they ask for undies. Others they ask for socks. One year, it was pillows.
This year, WDLW 1380 AM/98.9 FM and WOBL 1320 AM/107.7 FM want to trim the tree with toiletries and cat treats.
The stations are working with charities Blessing Box and CATSS (Community Action to Save Strays).
The Oberlin-based CATSS is very special to the stations, said Vice President Lorie Wilber.
“A year ago, a cat showed up at the radio station,” Wilber recalled. “It was totally feral, but we felt bad. Winter was coming, so we lined the shed outside with straw and fed her and gave her fresh water. Come spring, she was getting a little chubby. I told everyone I thought she was pregnant, and a little while later, she had kittens.”
Three of those kittens survived, but they were feral, too.
In September, CATSS came out and trapped and fixed the animals, and paid for everything.
CATSS’ mission is to spay, neuter and care for stray and feral cats, help control the feral cat population, and find homes for adoptable cats in Oberlin and Lorain County.
“That’s definitely a charity we want to help,” Wilber said.
While still feral, the momma cat and her kittens are slowly becoming domestic living with station employees.
Wilber took in all three kittens, while another employee took in the mother.
“They are six months old now,” Wilber said of the kittens. “They’re very petite. They’re warming up to us, but when a stranger comes over, it still scares them.”
But the station isn’t just helping four-legged friends.
It’s also collecting items for Blessing Box, which operates all over Lorain County.
The Blessing Box mission is to help others in need … one box at a time.
“Doing what I do, being at the radio station, people call,” Wilber said of how she heard of Blessing Box. “Someone told me about them, so I checked it out.”
Renee Collins, with the help of Joe Pullin, started Blessing Box with the idea of putting small wooden boxes on poles around the county with everyday items that people may need. If someone needs all of the items, they can take all of the items.
“People like something different,” Wilber said of the eclectic themes of the trees. “I wanted to do something different this year. We’ll see how it goes.”
While the tree is still bare, in a few weeks, ramen will dangle from the branches like packaged tinsel. Squeaky mice will adorn the pine. And if they’re lucky, boxes of macaroni and cheese and cases of tuna will be stacked up below.
If you would like to help decorate the tree, donations can be dropped off now through Dec. 16 at the stations’ studios, 45624 U.S. Route 20 in Oberlin. Cash donations also are accepted.
For information, call Wilber at (440) 774-1320, ext. 23.