Family’s spirit inspires fundraiser for flood victims

Inspired by the Jenkins family’s spirit after their Halloween decorations were slashed, a group of organizations is collecting donations to help victims of last week’s flooding.
Inspired by the Jenkins family’s spirit after their Halloween decorations were slashed, a group of organizations is collecting donations to help victims of last week’s flooding. Centre Daily Times, file

Generally, Halloween is a kind of greedy holiday, all about getting something for yourself.

In Centre County this year, a bunch of people want it to be about what you can give others.

Inspired by a family’s positive spirit, a group of organizations is hoping to provide assistance to those affected by last week’s flooding.

It started with the Jenkins family, who lives on the 2100 block of West College Avenue, putting up five large inflatable Halloween decorations in their yard recently.

Each one of the inflatables was slashed. The family, who is new to the area, said they felt violated and angry. But others pulled together online to try to help the family recover.

But days later, more families were suddenly in real need after devastating flooding in areas like Boalsburg, Milesburg and Park Forest. The effort behind helping the Jenkins evolved into something more. The family wanted to see their Halloween celebration become one all could enjoy.

“Now, I want to cover every inch of grass with decorations. I want to invite everyone here for a big Halloween bash. We’re decorating, giving out candy and maybe we’ll do other things, too, on the night of trick-or-treating,” said Suzie Jenkins.

That brought others into the process. David Wells, publisher of State College Magazine, helped organize the effort along with the Centre Daily Times. Other local media outlets, the Centre County Gazette and Seven Mountains Media, have joined in to help spread the word, raise funds and collect items.

“I was so moved by the response the Jenkins family had to the destruction of their Halloween decorations last week. Their positive attitude in the face of a pretty terrible situation and ability to make something good out of it is what this community is all about,” said Janet Santostefano, Centre Daily Times president and publisher.

“Their spirit was the inspiration for this effort and seeing businesses, event organizers and citizens from all corners of the county quickly mobilize to support the flood victims couldn’t be a more perfect representation of that. I’m proud to be a part of this effort and look forward to seeing the good that is done,” she said.

The countywide effort is collecting funds and dry goods for the American Red Cross and the emergency food pantry at the FaithCentre Food Bank in Bellefonte.

Donations for the following items are requested: easily prepared, shelf stable microwavable meals; easy-open soup cans; single-serve oatmeal and cereal boxes; granola bars; peanut butter; shampoo and conditioner; toothpaste; toothbrushes; and new socks.

Donations, including monetary donations, will be collected through Monday.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz

Donation drop-off locations

▪ Ace Hardware, 150 Rolling Ridge Drive, State College

▪ Bellefonte YMCA, 125 W. High St., Bellefonte

▪ 70th annual CRPR Halloween Costume Parade, 6:30 p.m., Sunday, downtown State College

▪ Jenkins family’s home, 2100 block of West College Avenue, 6-8 p.m., Monday (trick-or-treat night)

▪ Moshannon Valley YMCA, 113 N. 14th St., Philipsburg

▪ Seven Mountains Media, 160 W. Clearview Ave., State College

▪ State College Municipal Building, 243 S. Allen St., State College

▪ State College Magazine, 1001 University Drive, No. 3, State College

▪ State College YMCA, 677 W. Whitehall Road, State College

▪ State College Spikes’ Safe & Seen in the Ballpark family trick-or-treating event, 4-6 p.m., Saturday, Medlar Field at Lubrano Park

▪ Centre County Gazette, 403 S. Allen St., State College

▪ Centre Daily Times, 3400 E. College Ave., State College

▪ The UPS Store, 19 Colonnade Way, No. 117, State College