Where Centre County ranks among the most generous counties in Pennsylvania

Centre County is one of the top 10 most giving counties in Pennsylvania, according to a 2016 SmartAsset study.

What makes Centre County so giving, says the study, is the amount of money people donate as a percentage of their income, and the proportion of people who make charitable donations.

Out of 10 Pennsylvania counties, Centre County ranked 8th most charitable in 2016.

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That year, charitable contributions made up 22 percent of the average Centre County resident’s income. A healthy 49.5 percent of Centre County residents gave back some amount of money in charitable donations, giving the county a 41.9 percent on the most charitable counties index.

This year, a group of Centre County residents saw a need in their community and stepped up to fill it, channeling the county-wide giving spirit.

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St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bellefonte partnered with Bellefonte Elementary School to provide hats and mittens for children who were in need of warmth this winter.

“The principal said that often children are not dressed well for the winter,” said Ellen Dyakiw, the church’s Sunday School director and a former elementary school teacher.

Dyakiw and Bette Sughert, another member of St. John’s, decided to enlist the help of their local knitting group, Hooks and Needles, which meets weekly at the Centre County Library, to make the project a reality.

Soon, the group had knitted over 150 hats and several mittens for the elementary school children. They delivered the goods to the school in mid-October, as the weather started to cool, for children to take as they needed.

This is the first year St. John’s and Hooks and Needles have completed a project of this sort, and Dyakiw said the group’s members have a “see what happens approach” to any future donation projects.

Bellefonte Elementary “is our town school,” she said, and the church and community members want to support the children in whatever way they can.

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#GivingTuesday falls this Tuesday after Thanksgiving, giving Centre County residents even more opportunities to make charitable donations to local nonprofits, faith-based organizations, corporations, schools, foundations and small businesses. By going to the website and searching your location, you can find places to donate your time or money to Tuesday and beyond.