By Karen Blackledge
The Daily Item
DANVILLE — Despite Tuesday’s snow, high school and college students volunteered to sort and pack donated food for people staying at the Ronald McDonald House.
Susquehanna University students from Alpha Phi Omega already cook dinner for people staying at the house on Tuesday nights and make breakfast for them on Sunday mornings, said member Deb Gravina.
“This is the first time we have been unpacking,” she said of sorting foods in the garage and carrying the items into the house on the Geisinger Medical Center campus. The Ronald McDonald House is a home-away-from-home for parents and families of children hospitalized for treatment of cancer and other serious illnesses at area medical facilities.
The nonperishable foods and cash donations valued at $21,078 will last a year, said house board member Karen Rippon. “The house provided meals for almost 11,000 people last year,” she said.
Because of the weather, Clearfield County Farm Bureau officials planned to deliver their items today.
Donations last year were valued at $20,815.
Rippon said Tuesday’s donation was the largest for the house for the year.
Susquehanna students with Gravina were Lauren Hendricks, Danielle Huscher, Jennifer Tims and Tara Lobianco.
Members of the Danville High School FFA collected $1,450 worth of food and other donations, such as paper products, for the home, said FFA adviser Mike Shultz. FFA members also sorted and packed foods in the garage and carried them to the house. They included Brett Taylor, Easton and Hunter Latranyi, Chris Sees, Kolby Whitenight, Michael Wintersteen and Amber Walter.
Their donations included $209 from a teachers’ dress-down day in the Danville district. Food was collected at the district’s four schools and at a basketball game.
Representing the Montour County Farm Bureau were John and Linda Zeager.
“We are very blessed that people still keep us in their stewardship. These groups and organizations are vital to the house,” Rippon said.
This is the 15th year that Farm Bureau members and students have taken donations to the house in celebration of Food Check-Out Week. With Tuesday’s contributions, donations since 1999 total $260,177.
Northumberland County Farm Bureau members, who were unable to attend, gave $950 worth of items to the house. Union County, represented by Susan Hauck and John Walter, contributed items valued at $1,360.
Bob and Vicky Heimbach and Linda Fisher, of Snyder County, announced donations worth $2,808, including contributions from the Selinsgrove FFA and churches.
Yoachim said Bradford County’s total was $8,377. Barb Warburton said Sullivan County’s collection was $1,445. Bonnie Beck, of Clinton County, announced their total of mostly cash was $1,525. Lycoming County, which wasn’t represented, collected $1,800 worth of goods.
In thanking people for their donations, house board Treasurer Jerry Sandel lauded their “wonderful, enthusiastic efforts and support for our house to raise awareness of how important farm families are.”