Names and contact information for military members with ties to Greater Hazleton that are serving our country overseas are currently being accepted as part of the 15th annual Operation: CAN DO drive.
The CAN DO Student Action Committee spearheads the annual program that creates and ships care packages to military members with ties to Greater Hazleton who will be stationed abroad for the holidays. The public is encouraged to submit 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 members of the Freeland American Legion Post 473 who package the items and ship them abroad.
CAN DO Director of Administration and Student Action Committee co-advisor Nancy Stasko said, “Due to security reasons, military recruitment offices are no longer able to supply us with contact information, so gathering names and addresses has become difficult in the past few years. However, the response we received from the community last year was overwhelming and that’s why we’re reaching out again to let everyone know that we are accepting the names and contact information so we can honor these military members with a care package this holiday.”
Student Action Committee members kicked off this year’s campaign last 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 28 at schools throughout Greater Hazleton, at the CAN DO offices at 1 South Church Street in Hazleton every 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 28 will be transported to the Freeland American Legion building on Thursday, November 7, 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. For further information you can call CAN DO at (570) 455-1508
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 Julia Kreisl and Alexander Kubishin, both of Marian High School.
Additional committee members are: Marin Dremock and Allison Gottstein of Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences; Jasmine Beiler, Daniella Guillen, Isabelle Ritz and Alivia Platek of Hazleton Area High School; Yokaira Concepcion and Cleidy Castillo of Immanuel Christian School; Maxwell Schwabe of Marian High School; Macy Zenier, Christian Badamo and Noah Long of MMI Preparatory School; and Rachel Caccesse and Kelly Royer 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 4 at Christ Lutheran Church in Hazleton.