Oxford Citizen of Year recipients include clothes recycler and nutritionist

Shana Rosenberg, Nancy Parkinson earn 2022 honors from Kiwanis Club.

OXFORD — Two long-time residents devoted a lot of hours and days this past year to projects within their own divergent areas of interest aimed at making this a better community. They are being recognized as recipients of the Citizens of the Year award for 2022.

Shana Rosenberg and Nancy Parkinson have each been involved in their particular interests for a long time, but 2022 found them both reaching new heights with their efforts — Rosenberg moving her fabric reclamation dream, called Thread Up Oxford from a storage unit to a storefront while Parkinson’s lifelong effort to educate others on good nutrition moved from her Miami University classroom to local sites with non-student residents receiving lessons on eating more healthily.

Shana Rosenberg

Rosenberg had long been concerned about the waste resulting from people throwing away clothing they no longer use. It is estimated the average U.S. consumer tosses out more than 80 pounds of clothes each year, amounting to more than 15 tons of textile waste. Several years ago, she began collecting textile items looking for ways to recycle them but the effort quickly grew too large for her basement and so she moved it into storage units.

In 2022 her “Thread Up Oxford” effort made an even larger step by moving into a College Corner Pike storefront focused on ensuring that people in need of clothes can access them at no cost. She works with craft supplies, donated yarn and many other products to ensure that they are “upcycled” into products that people can use in the Oxford community.

Mayor Bill Snavely wrote one of the nominations for her recognition as a Citizen of the Year. He noted an EPA statistic that textiles contribute more than 6 percent of all landfill waste.

“A used clothing (thrift) store is now in business and thriving. While the store is open for anyone, she creates ‘Karma Bucks’ so that needy people in the community can come in and get what they need to clothe their family,” Snavely wrote. “The Family Resource Center regularly refers clients to Thread Up.”

Another nomination submitted jointly by Sally Southard and Marion Schloemer explained Rosenberg’s unwavering commitment for reuse, recycling and community outreach led to originally forming Thread Up Oxford as an online education effort through a Facebook group. That evolved into her collecting textile items in her basement and setting the further growth into motion.

“Shana and a few committed volunteers began hosting ‘pop up’ shopping events at an underserved community in Oxford (Parkview Arms) to offer low-cost or no-cost clothing, coats,” the nomination read, continuing by saying the effort led to a new vision this past year as she created a board of directors and formed a first-of-its-kind nonprofit in Southwest Ohio. “Thread Up Oxford formed exclusively for charitable and educational purposes in accordance with Section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code.”

They cite the organization’s mission statement as, “to reduce textile waste through a combination of education, programming and redistribution to fill community needs.”

The writers of that nomination explain Rosenberg dedicates an average of 50 hours a week – unpaid – to keeping the retail/warehouse space available for the community. They also noted she works with the Talawanda School District providing students and their families with sheets, towels, clothing and shoes at a moment’s notice.

Miami’s Fashion Design department has embraced her message of recycling and reuse of textiles and she has provided “material grants” to them to create new clothing which were showcased at the end of the fall semester.

In addition to her work with Thread Up, Rosenberg serves as vice chair of Oxford’s Planning Commission and is a member of the city’s Housing Advisory Commission.

Nancy Parkinson

A registered dietitian nutritionist teaching at Miami University, Parkinson took her passion for encouraging good nutrition out of the classroom and into the Oxford community offering help to children and adults. It has spanned many years, but 2022 saw an even more concerted effort with the inaugural “Cooking Adventures with Nancy.”

“For many years, Nancy has presented programs for students at all three Talawanda elementary schools and the Talawanda Middle School. She also introduced hydroponic tree gardens to science classes at the schools. These programs earned her the nickname of ‘Nancy the Nutrition Nut,’ " wrote David Kullman in a nomination letter suggesting the Citizen of the Year honor for her.

Kullman also wrote that she was featured in an article in the international “Kiwanis Magazine” during the past year for her hands-on nutrition workshops for Kiwanis-sponsored Service Learning Programs.

The letter went on to explain Parkinson received a grant this past summer to start a nutrition program at Parkview Arms she called “Cooking Adventures with Nancy.

“Each month, there is a hands-on workshop that includes a kit with ingredients and supplies to make a recipe. This fall, with support from local churches and students from her Miami classes, Nancy has organized and prepared a series of monthly community dinners at the Oxford Center. Each dinner includes a lesson on the nutritional values of the foods being served and recipes to make some of them at home,” Kullman wrote.

On the Miami campus, Parkinson has organized a food pantry “pick list” program that allows students to choose ingredients to cook their own healthy meals at home, the nomination letter said, adding that the past semester saw the filling of more than 65 kits, including nine orders just before Thanksgiving. Some orders come from returning customers.

“She is also a strong supporter of the Miami Farm and fresh produce from the farm is likely to show up in her community nutrition workshops,” Kullman wrote.

Parkinson is an active member of the Oxford Museum Association, coordinating the apple butter demonstration kettles at the fall Apple Butter Festival and she serves as the faculty advisor for two Miami student groups — the Student Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics (SAND) and the Miami University Circle K International sponsored by the Oxford Kiwanis Club.

By doing that, the nomination observed, “She encourages students in both of those organizations to join her in many of the activities in the community and, by doing so, is helping to develop a new generation of leaders dedicated to community service.”

About the Author