Students assemble care packages for area shelters.

Members of the Penn State DuBois HDFS Club sort items and assemble care packages to deliver to area shelters for the holidays.

Image: Steve Harmic

Students Deliver Holiday Care Packages to Those in Need

Members of the Penn State DuBois Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) Club have made efforts to make the holidays brighter for some area residents. The club members packed up and delivered care packages on Thursday to four organizations that serve people in need, including people who are homeless, those going through a crisis, and youth being counseled at a residential youth center. Those organizations are Haven House in DuBois, Capsea in Ridgway, Pentz Run in DuBois, and Crossroads in DuBois and Punxsutawney.

"A lot of these organizations are non-profit and they may not be able to always get the things they need to keep them operating or to serve the people they help," said student club member Kasie Fields.

To help those organizations provide their clients with everyday services, the students sought donations of household items to make up the care packages. Those items include nonperishable food, personal hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, and toothpaste, paper products, cleaning supplies, and more.  All told, the students collected more than $600 worth of items, which will benefit dozens of individuals through the four organizations served.

"This is needed everywhere, not just in our area," Fields said. "This is our way to contribute to members of our community, especially around the holidays."

The impact the project has on students is close to home for HDFS majors.  Students in this program are studying to enter careers in social work, as counselors for addiction treatment, behavioral health, and probation. In their careers, they likely will be involved with organizations and their clients such as the ones they have touched through this project.

"The students get to see why they are earning that degree. That they're making a difference and helping people," said Jessica Clontz, an HDFS instructor and advisor to the HDFS Club. "This is the second annual care package collection the club has done. We saw last year that there was a real need, so we made this an annual event because there was a real impact."

Clontz said the collection effort was something community members got behind, too. She said, "The community had a great response to this and to making donations.  We're thankful for the support we got from the community."