The collected items will be used to create care packages for military service members with ties to Greater Hazleton who will be stationed abroad for the holidays. Student Action Committee members are urging the public to contact CAN DO with the names and addresses of any local friends or family members who are serving in the military.
CAN DO Director of Administration and Student Action Committee co-advisor Nancy Stasko said, “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. We are asking that family members or friends of military personnel abroad contact us so we can thank our soldiers for their service with care packages at the holidays.”
Operation: CAN DO began in 2005 as an idea that was mentioned by one of the students during a Student Action Committee meeting. The students wanted to find a project where they could help the community and began by reaching out to schools for donations. The drive has since branched out to include donations from businesses and the community.
CAN DO has partnered with the Freeland American Legion since the drive’s inception. The American Legion manages the shipping of the items to the soldiers abroad. Members of the Student Action Committee once again expressed their gratitude on Thursday to Commander Gerald Gaffney and other members of the Freeland American Legion in recognition of their continued assistance with the program and their dedication to the men and women of the United States military.
CAN DO President Kevin O’Donnell said, “This annual Operation: CAN DO drive would not be possible without the partnership we have with the Freeland American Legion. On behalf of CAN DO, I’d also like to express our gratitude to everyone who organized a collection or made a monetary donation to help us honor our military members.”
Student Action Committee members expressed special thanks to Arc Electric for providing warehouse space for the collection and CTC Manufacturing for donating a vehicle. Some additional donors included: Altadis, Arthur Street Elementary Community Service Club, BestCigarPrices.com, Bradley Caldwell, Inc., Drums Elementary/Middle School, Early Learning Center, Fabri-Kal, Freeland Elementary/Middle School Builders Club, Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences, Hazleton Elementary/Middle School, Hazleton Site Contractors, Immanuel Christian School, Johns Manufacturers & Employers Association, Manville, Marian Catholic High School, MMI Preparatory School, PA Monument Company, PF Nonwovens, PSI Container, Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 44, TC Continental (Coveris) and Tech Packaging.
The Student Action Committee is made up of local high school students appointed to serve as members of CAN DO’s board of directors. This year’s Operation: CAN DO co-chairs are 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. Charles Burkhardt also serves as a Student Action Committee adviser.
The CAN DO Student Action Committee helps coordinate several programs and events in the community. One of those events is the annual CAN DO Community Christmas, which will be held Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church in downtown Hazleton.