By MARGIE NETZEL - firstname.lastname@example.org
JEFFERSON — The generosity of many people has been a blessing in a time of great sorrow for the Newhart family.
Nicholas Newhart, 11, died of an unknown cause at the Cleveland Clinic. The son of Michael and Jamie Newhart of Ashtabula, Nicholas was a Geneva Middle School fifth grader.
Friends and family will host a benefit dinner and raffle for the Newharts Friday at Mugs Restaurant in Jefferson, but an unexpected outpouring of auction items and ticket sales has split the event between Mugs and the Jefferson Community and Senior Center for the raffle and as an overflow area for take out orders, grandmother Nancy Newhart said.
“There are too many items for the raffle to display in a restaurant,” she said. “Everyone really has been generous and we are extremely grateful for the response. Nicky’s sweet spirit touched many lives while he was among us and he continues to touch many still. His parents, Mike and Jamie, are overwhelmed and amazed how many people — strangers, family, or friends — who have expressed their sympathy in so many meaningful ways. This event is turning into a real celebration of Nicky’s life.”
The family is struggling with Nicholas’ funeral and medical expenses.
Nancy Newhart said the raffle will include gift certificates to auto parts stores, repair shops, golf courses, tanning salons, hair salons and for massages. Many gift baskets will also be included in the raffle.
The event will be 4 to 8 p.m. It will include a chicken and biscuit dinner, salad, beverage and dessert, as well as an item raffle and 50/50 raffle. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets can be purchased by calling Nancy Newhart at 645-4585.
The food has been donated by Jefferson Golden Dawn, BiLo, Giant Eagle and Smokin T’s.
Donations to the family can also be made at Northwest Savings in Ashtabula Ohio under the names of Sharon Jones and Stacie Newhart. All funds will go to Nicholas’ parents. Donations can be made online at www.gofundme.com/2ms8xs. A donation can is available at Deb’s Diner on State Road in Ashtabula, and donations can also be mailed to Ray Newhart, P.O. Box 481, Jefferson 44047.
Nancy Newhart said her grandson touched many hearts in his short life, and gave life to five other children through organ donation.
“Nicky had a way about him that touched the hearts of everyone he met and even now he’s still touching the hearts of those who never met him,” she said. “So many people and businesses have been generous with donations to his family. And because he gave five children a chance at life upon his passing, Nicky will continue to live on every day.”