The CAN DO Student Action Committee recently celebrated the launch of its 14th Operation: CAN DO drive, an annual program that creates and ships care packages to military members with ties to Greater Hazleton who will be stationed abroad for the holidays, and is requesting help from the community to gather the names of service members so packages can be sent to them for the holidays. The Student Action Committee conducts the annual drive with assistance from the Freeland American Legion Post 473.
CAN DO Director of Administration and Student Action Committee co-advisor Nancy Stasko said, “The amount of items and monetary donations we receive from the community every year for Operation: CAN DO is truly incredible. But a crucial component of the success of this program is having a list of servicemen and women to ship the packages to and we need help from the community to do that. In the past, we were able to obtain service member names and contact information from military recruitment offices. However, for security reasons, they are no longer able to provide that to us. So, we’re asking the public to please reach out with the contact information for any family members or friends with ties to Greater Hazleton so we can thank them for their service with care packages at the holidays.”
Committee members kicked off this year’s campaign earlier this month when they sent letters to area schools and businesses requesting goods or monetary donations. Items for the Operation: CAN DO drive will be collected through October 26 at schools throughout Greater Hazleton, at the CAN DO offices at 1 South Church Street in Hazleton Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and at the Arc Electric offices at 123 Warren Street in West Hazleton. All donations collected by October 26 will be transported to the Freeland American Legion building on Thursday, November 1, where they will later be packaged for shipping overseas.
Individuals and businesses wishing to participate by making a monetary donation are asked to make checks payable to Operation: CAN DO and send them to Operation: CAN DO, c/o Nancy Stasko, 1 South Church St., Suite 200, Hazleton, PA 18201.
The Student Action Committee is made up of local high school students who are appointed to serve as non-voting members of the CAN DO Board of Directors. Operation: CAN DO is being coordinated by co-chairs Morgan Long of MMI Preparatory School and Francine Lamasko of Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences.
Additional committee members are: James “JT” Vozar and Marin Dremock of Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences; Angelina Joseph, Vincent Damiano, Jasmine Beiler and Daniella Guillen of Hazleton Area High School; Saraiha Rossi and Yokaira Concepcion of Immanuel Christian School; Isabella Schwabe, Grace Mussoline, Alexander Kubishin and Julia Kreisl of Marian High School; Macy Zenier of MMI Preparatory School, and Nikki Polivka and Rachel Caccesse of Weatherly Area High School.
In addition to Stasko, Charles Burkhardt also serves as an advisor to the committee.
The CAN DO Student Action Committee also coordinates the annual CAN DO Community Christmas celebration, which will be held on December 5 at Christ Lutheran Church in Hazleton.