Many in this community support Santa’s Bookbag

To the editor:

This year’s Santa’s Bookbag project was very successful due to the hard work and generosity of many people. Working with The Sentinel, the Salvation Army, and local Community Christmas Project, we provided books at Christmas for 638 children.

Each child received one new and many used books. A special thanks to the Mifflin County School District which, through the support of principals and administrators, allowed us to conduct a book drive in the schools. The Title 1 Language Arts teachers and many classroom teachers helped make the book drive a success. Special thanks to Diane Shearer and the Association of Mifflin County Educators for their help.

Many schools conducted highly successful book drives. The Mifflin County High School National Honor Society and Key Club helped to clean and sort books as did members of the Choir and Cantore. Thanks to their advisors, Sonya Riden, Randy Fluke and Sherry Morgan for coordinating these efforts. The young people who donated books and helped are to be commended. They represent the very best in our schools for compassion and going above and beyond during a very busy season.

The following students from Mifflin County High School helped: Dustin Peachey, Maria Fowler, Emily Hurlburt, Kendra Fultz, Kirstie Fultz, Makenna Pollock, Kaitlyn Eckley, Brenna Shilling, Corinne Roman-White, Kezia Loht, Jacob Spickler, Jadon Boyer, Andrew Traxler, Michelle Olson, Kelly Fox, Maddie Rutherford, Amelia Schaeffer, Nathan Loudenslager, Jadon Boyer, Jenna Snyder, Mahesh Pai, Jonathan Chester, Cullen Kanagy, Caleb Druckemiller, Jeremy Stundon, Kaitlyn Dreese, Andrew Kline, Allison Besch, Alex Smith, Sara Munsen, Justin Adams, Evan Seby, Hayden Hidlay, Hannah Kerstetter, Michaela Wilson, Maggie Staronka, Katie Staronka, Alana Felten, Allison Sheetz, Aaron Stricker, Jacob Fultz, Kelsee Russler, Megan Ingram, Kyle Harshbarger, Anne Harshbarger, Matthew DeBenedetto, Sage Heckendorn, Alana Felton, Philip Rearick, Jared Michaels, Michaela Wagner, Finnian Sayler, Kati Dreese, Shelby Lyter, Miranda Prough, Jordan Kratzer, Grace Wagner, Mickey Holthaus, Blake Yoder, Paige Spicher, Jensen Graham, and Kevin Cahill.

Many students helped on multiple occasions and are exemplary representatives of their school.

The following individuals helped to clean, sort, and match books : Marianne Hornyak, Doris Hidlay, Grace Kauffman, Kathy Hartley, Linda Dalby, Helen Lodanosky, Diane Hallinan, Cheryl Kauffman, Jan Criswell, Cindy Hefferan, Sheryl George, Karen Shelato, Kim Aurand, Sandy Adams, Nora Torquato, Kiara Noland, Cullen Russler, Jane Freed, Jean Abbott, Jane Rager, Tangeline Sechrist, April Montgomery, Mary Klingensmith, Linda Mohler, Sharon Armstrong, Carol Reardon, Beth Lambert, Jennifer LaMar, Sherry Morgan and Jan Headings.

There were others who helped and did not sign a list-thank you.

A special thanks to Karen Galbraith for her help in setting up a computer information system. Thanks to Linda Dalby, Bob and Lisa Long, Staci Moist, Marley Nichols, and Donna Thomas who tirelessly typed the information labels. Thanks to Darlene Rynkewiez who matched labels and lists and double checked our information. Thanks to Bernelda Winer who works year long at taking price tags off of new books and who taught us everything we know about cleaning books.

Special thanks to Diane Hallinan and Doris Hidlay who helped purchase and coordinate books throughout the year. Their knowledge of what books young people enjoy is a wonderful gift they give our community. Appreciation to Kathryn Wisegarver who keeps our records very accurate and is our treasurer. Special thanks to Sharon Armstrong for her help with our letters and files, and to Diane Wheeler for assisting with coordinating thank-you letters. In the mailing of fund-raising letters there may have been some past givers who were omitted. We are sorry for the oversight, however, we welcome your contribution.

Nancy Aurand and Mary Anne Stratton were also very generous in selecting the perfect books for young people.

Without the support and dedication of the Mifflin County Chapter of Pennsylvania School Retirees, this project would not be successful. Thanks to my family who year after year work in all the jobs of Santa’s Bookbag.

Thanks to Grace United Methodist Church for allowing us to use their community room to sort, clean, and match books. The tremendous cooperation and support from Grace Church members and Rev. Rick Bender are truly appreciated. Special thanks to Scott Fultz, advisor, and the Senior High Youth for their help.

A special thanks to Ed Williams, Ruth Eddy, and the entire Sentinel staff for their continued support, particularly for the transportation of the books to First United Methodist Church in Lewistown. A special thanks to Cassie Campbell and Janet Campbell for their help at the Alternative Gift Fair.

Thanks to Giant Foods in Burnham for donating plastic bags. The Salvation Army coordinated the list of children to receive books as part of the Community Christmas Project. Margie Smith, Helen Searer and First United Methodist Church in Lewistown did the final matching of books with other presents for children. This is truly a community effort.

A final thanks to those who made monetary donations to the program. Monetary donations can still be mailed to Ruth Eddy at The Sentinel. These donations help us purchase books for the 2014 effort. With the cost of books rising, additional funds will be needed. It is our opinion that giving a child a book might be the first vital step in promoting a lifetime of literacy.

Lauren Grego