PITTSTON TWP. — The Pittston Area girls basketball team is all business. The team won the school’s first district championship this past season. All this time, however, the Lady Patriots have found ways to help the Greater Pittston community.
Over the weekend, the team visited the Pittston Commons on South Township Boulevard in Pittston Township to spread holiday cheer. Each year, coaches and players make donations and perform random acts of kindness.
This year, the team visited K-Mart and the Dollar Tree in the Commons to help spread the holiday cheer.
“We wanted to give something back to the community,” Pittston Area coach Kathy Healey said. “The coaches pulled the money together and the players contributed.”
Autumn Lynn, of West Pittston, was shopping with her 10-year-old son and her 8-year-old daughter Sunday at K-Mart. The family was approached by a Pittston Area girls basketball player, who handed them a $20 bill and explained what the girls were doing.
After receiving the money, Lynn went back to layaway to pick up a Christmas gift. She said she never paid any money on the gift; however, the cashier said she owed just two cents. The Pittston Area players also paid off several other layaway balances that day.
“At first, I didn’t know what to think,” Lynn said. “You see a younger generation doing it – I was really touched by it. I did walk away from the girl and had tears in my eyes.”
In light of all this, Lynn’s 10-year-old son told her he wanted to go home and take a few of his old toys and donate them so someone else can have them for Christmas. Lynn said she was “extremely” thankful for the Pittston Area team.
“I have three children and things are tight,” Lynn said. “This came at the perfect time.”
When Lynn and her children walked out of the store, they witnessed a woman in her 80s or 90s receiving money from the team. The lady had tears running down her face, Lynn said.
The team split up into three groups and spread out through the Pittston Commons. One group stopped at Dollar Tree. There, the team held doors for customers and handed out money. Pittston Area senior Jamie Chisdock and several of her teammates gave the cashier $20 for the next customer. That $20 paid for the customer’s purchases.
“I’ll never forget the smile on her face,” Chisdock said. “I can’t even describe how it made us all feel.”
Being out there on the holiday is special, Chisdock said.
“It felt great to give back to some people that aren’t as fortunate,” she said. “It felt great as a team to go out there and do anything we can.”
During it all, the Patriots are in the midst of a successful season. Although Healey and her team are committed to success on the court, helping others off the court is just as important to them.
“It was like magical,” Healey said. “Everyone was so thankful.”
Chisdock said it helps bring the team together.
“We all had a mission that day to make people smile during the holidays,” she said. “By coming together outside of practice, it really helps us out in the long run. We bonded as a team.”
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick