PITTSTON — The Pittston Frontier Girls Troop are doing everything they can to help sick children, even if it’s just providing a small gift.
Through the Jared Box Project, the local girl scouts will organize the collection and distribution of small boxes containing little knick-knacks to donate to children at the Janet Weis Children’s Wing at the Wyoming Valley Geisinger in Wilkes-Barre.
“They’re for kids with cancer or leukemia in hospitals,” said troop member Katie Konnick, 12. “They don’t usually get to have a lot of fun so we give them toys.”
According to Jared Box Project’s website, a Jared Box is a plastic storage box filled with small gifts, toys, games and fun activities and contains items selected for a specific age and gender.
The Jared Box Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and was started in 2001 named after a boy named Jared who passed away in November 2000 due to an incurable brainstem tumor.
The idea for the troop to undertake the project came from Heather Cherasaro, one of the troop leaders, who had a child on the receiving end of a Jared Box.
“I had a foster daughter and she had a really high fever and my husband had to take her to the emergency room at Geisinger,” she said. “She was only 2 years old, so while she was there… they gave her a Jared Box. My husband brought it home and it was really neat looking.”
The money to help the troop fund the boxes came from an anonymous donor and the girls used the money to go out and buy items to put in the boxes.
Mia Contardi, 10, said the boxes may be little, but will have plenty of items in them.
“There are puzzles, card games and for the old kids we have journals,” she said. “There are some miniature coloring books and coloring supplies, puzzle books and things like that.”
The troop began making the boxes in early November and will distribute them to the Wyoming Valley Geisinger throughout the weeks until Christmas.
Cherasaro said though the girls will not be able to personally deliver the boxes to the children, they know their work is appreciated.
“The important thing is the kids who need them will get them,” said Sharon Konnick, fellow troop leader and Katie’s mom.
The girls said they enjoyed doing the Jared Box Project, but Katie said she would like to possibly do another project for sick children next year.
“Mom and I did Operation Christmas Child just recently and I was thinking this was kid of similar and thought maybe next year we could do that,” she said. “You pack toys in a shoe box and distribute them to children in third world countries who don’t get to have a Christmas.”
While the girls have been buys with the Jared Box Project, Sharon said they will be doing other projects for the holidays as well such as collecting canned food for Rosie’s Furbabies and writing cards for solider veterans at the VA Hospital in Wilkes-Barre.
“We usually have a pretty busy holiday season,” said Sharon.
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher