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The Danville News

February 19, 2014

Food Check-Out Week: Farm bureau drops off at Danville Ronald McDonald House

DANVILLE — MAHONING TWP. — Farm bureau representatives donated nearly $20,000 worth of food to the Ronald McDonald House on Tuesday.

The yearly contribution stretches throughout the year for the nonprofit house. In fact, they just began using the last of coffee donated from last year, said house board president Peggy Starkey.

“We stock the pantry and use as needed,” she said.

Donations this year were valued at $19,478 compared with $23,218 last year, according to Ann Blugis, house director of development and communications.

In the 16 years, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau has been donating food and other items to the house, the total value has amounted to $281,794.

Members of the Danville High School FFA delivered food, toiletries and gift cards to the house. They were collected at Danville schools and from a dress-down day. Food and toiletries were valued at $1,337, gift cards at $50 and the dress-down day by faculty and staff brought in $325, according to FFA adviser and agricultural  science teacher Kelly Smith-Wells. The total value of the items was $1,662.

Danville FFA members participating were President Easton Latranyi, Vice President Kolby Whitenight, Chaplain Mark Hilkert, Treasurer Michael Wintersteen, Sentinel Brianna Wells, Reporter Hunter Latranyi and Secretary Makaela Bickhart.

The value of other donations were $12,300 from Bradford and Sullivan counties, $1,293 from Union County, $550 from Northumberland County, $175 from Snyder County, $100 from Centre County and $2,089 from Clinton County.

Not on hand but reporting values of items were Lycoming County, $1,175; Columbia County, $50; and Clearfield County, $484.

While the donations were being announced, a mother and a grandmother staying at the house showed a picture of the mother’s baby being treated at nearby Geisinger Medical Center, Starkey said. “They couldn’t thank them enough for giving them a place to sleep, to shower and providing food,” she said. “They were so moved,” said Starkey. Privacy rules prevented her from identifying them.

The donations are presented in conjunction with the statewide Food Check-Out Week Celebration and with contributions to Pennsylvania’s four other Ronald McDonald houses in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Hershey and Scranton.

Food Check-Out Week, formerly called Food Check-Out Day, was established to bring to the attention of the public that food is affordable in part due to America’s productive farmers and ranchers. The Pennsylvania Farmers Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization with more than 53,000 volunteer members.

Starkey praised volunteers and the staff of the house which provides a home-away-from-home for parents and families of children hospitalized at area medical facilities for treatment of cancer and other serious illnesses.

“They are wonderful people. We wouldn’t get the kinds of donations we do,” she said.

She praised house Executive Director Michael Turlis and Blugis.

Also participating in the donation event were Dairy Princess Ashley Wetzel, Kathy Yoachim of Bradford County, Johanna Rohrer of the farm bureau and Jerry Sandel, house volunteer and former board member.

On Tuesday, the house was serving 43 people with five more families expected later that day, according to Joan Williams, program supervisor and volunteer coordinator. The capacity is 59 people.

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