Jan 5, 2024
Giving Tree participants at one of the tree locations, Family Dollar in Clearfield. Pictured, left to right, are Christina Shaffer, owner of New Image Tattoo Studio; Julie Curry, assistant chief, Clearfield Regional Police; and Bernice James, manager of Family Dollar.
CLEARFIELD, PA. – Nearly $16,000 was accumulated to help seniors and families keep warm this winter by individuals, businesses, and organizations who supported the Giving Tree.
The Clearfield Regional Police Department and the Mature Resources Area Agency on Aging, Inc. (MRAAA) partnered again this year to create “Giving Trees” for area elderly. Senior citizens in Clearfield County, many of them living alone with no close family members or no family at all, benefited from the generosity of the community. Tags were also distributed for grandchildren living with grandparents that are receiving services from the agency.
Seniors enrolled in services with MRAAA are able to submit requests for items that they or grandchildren need or want for Christmas. Those requests are then printed on tags, and those tags hung on trees at sites throughout the community, where individuals can take a tag, and purchase the listed gift for a senior in need. These tags included the requests for heating assistance, as well as items ranging from clothing and shoes, to household items.
For the 2023 holiday season, tags were placed on trees at Family Dollar, Shaw Public Library, New Image Tattoo, and Spanky’s Courthouse Café, all of Clearfield, as well as South Side Subs of Curwensville, and Leyo’s Supermarket of Coalport. The employees of CNB Bank, PennDOT, and Mid Penn Bank, also had their own trees and collected gifts internally.
Many individuals and organizations came together to provide truckloads of gifts and financial assistance for heating. Nearly 400 gift tags for local elderly and grandchildren they care for were filled, in addition to the $16,000 collected and sent directly to local fuel and utility suppliers to make certain seniors stay warm in their own homes this winter. In some instances, individuals pooled money together to purchase larger gifts such as a lift chair, a bed, and a bicycle.
“The generosity shown by people in our communities is nothing short of amazing,” said MRAAA Chief Executive Officer Kathy Gillespie. “The amount collected to cover heating costs alone is incredible – and this is in addition to all types of other gifts that provided comfort to families in need this Christmas. This level of support can only come from a community full of compassion and kindness. We are all blessed to live here.”
In 2016, MRAAA first partnered with Clearfield Borough Police, which would eventually merge with Lawrence Township Police to create the current regional department, launching the Giving Tree. Seargent Nathan Curry of the Clearfield Regional PD recalled conceiving the idea, saying, “During the winter of 2016, I came across several seniors of the community who had to make decisions of whether to pay for food, or for fuel to heat their homes. With the creation of the Giving Tree, more seniors are able to afford food and fuel to keep them warm. The outpouring of support from the members of this community is humbling. I have seen families make sacrifices of their own just to make sure that others have heat. It's a true blessing.”
Mature Resources provides a host of services to senior citizens in Clearfield County. A full spectrum of adult medical care is offered at the Susquehanna Wellness Clinic, affordable senior housing is provided at the Dimeling Senior Residence, through shared housing options, and Village of Hope in West Decatur. The agency also provides nutritious meals to individuals in Clearfield County who find travel difficult, with Meals on Wheels drivers delivering up to 800 meals each day. The innovative Adult Day Center provides care for people who need assistance during the day while their families are at work, school, or taking care of other responsibilities. The Centers for Active Living provide a place for seniors to socialize and participate in fun and stimulating activities.