Bald Eagle

On Centre | Bald Eagle Area: Third-grader helps lead Jared Box collection

Christina Houtz, of Mount Nittany Medical Center, and Mountaintop Elementary student Savannah Sowers stand in front of the Jared Boxes that were donated to the hospital for ill children receiving treatment.
Christina Houtz, of Mount Nittany Medical Center, and Mountaintop Elementary student Savannah Sowers stand in front of the Jared Boxes that were donated to the hospital for ill children receiving treatment. Photo provided

Students at Mountaintop Area Elementary School in Snow Shoe delivered some special holiday cheer to children at Mount Nittany Medical Center last month by giving rather than receiving.

The idea came about last year. Third-grader Savannah Sowers thought inside the box and proposed raising boxes full of gifts, called Jared Boxes, for children staying at the hospital.

Savannah pitched the idea to the school’s building committee, which decided to follow through with creating the boxes in the month of December because of the giving nature of the holiday season, said first-grade teacher and committee member Nicole Spear.

Savannah played a big part in every step of the project, she said.

“We included her in all the planning because it was her idea,” Spear said.

What went into each box depended on the age of the child or whether the youngster is a boy or a girl. Items like toys, games and crayons were common.

The entire school pitched in, with each grade collecting things for a specific age range. Everything that went into the boxes was collected by students’ families and sent in instead the class having a gift exchange.

The expectation was to raise 24 boxes. There were 66 by the time collection ended.

“It was more about giving than receiving, and we wanted to stress that to the kids and we appreciate the families donating,” Spear said.

Cristina Houtz, from The Foundation for Mount Nittany Medical Center, received the boxes. They will be distributed through several health center locations and are always a “big hit” with the children who receive them, foundation interim director Melissa Aungst said in an email.

“This kind, thoughtful and generous donation will go a long way toward cheering up children who are receiving care through Mount Nittany Health,” she said.

Spaghetti dinner to benefit Special Olympics

A spaghetti dinner sponsored by Sheetz to benefit the Special Olympics is set for Friday night at the Milesburg Community Center. Tickets are $6 and can be purchased before the event at State College, Bellefonte, Tyrone and Bellwood Sheetz locations, or at the door the day of the event.

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