Penn State Mont Alto spreads holiday cheer

Community initiatives bring campus together to impact neighbors
Presents on a table
Credit: Penn State Mont Alto

MONT ALTO, Pa. — As the holiday season ushers in the spirit of giving, Penn State Mont Alto embraced the opportunity to make a positive impact on the local community. This year, faculty, staff and students joined together to bring warmth and joy to those in need through several initiatives.

Thanksgiving basket drive warms hearts

The Penn State Mont Alto community assembled Thanksgiving baskets. With donations of food, cooking supplies and gift cards, 10 thoughtfully curated baskets were crafted by dedicated faculty and staff. Half of these were delivered to Franklin County Children and Youth, ensuring five families could enjoy a festive Thanksgiving feast. The remaining five baskets found their way to a local church, supporting families facing challenging times.

Adopt a Family program brightens the season

In collaboration with Franklin County Children and Youth, the campus community overwhelming responded to participate in the Adopt a Family program. Thirty students, faculty and staff participated in the initiative. Their efforts resulted in the collection of 75 gift items for three families, including clothing, shoes, coats, blankets, games and toys for the children and a vacuum and cleaning supplies for the entire family. These items were delivered to Franklin County Children and Youth on Thursday, Dec. 14, spreading holiday cheer not only to the families, but also to those from the campus community who helped to make it happen.

Student Veterans Association hosts toy collection and fundraiser

Throughout November, the Student Veterans Association hosted a dog toy collection and fundraiser, donating pet toys to two organizations: Operation Save a Vet, Save a Pet, and the Military Working Dog Team Support Association. Service dogs provide vital emotional and physical support to veterans dealing with the challenges of post-service life. These dogs help with mobility, provide comfort and companionship, and offer a lifeline to those who may be struggling with the invisible wounds of war, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. The Service Dog Toy Drive ensures these incredible dogs have the toys they need to stay active, engaged and happy as they continue to change the lives of veterans. The campus community rallied behind the cause, contributing over 65 toys, as well as essential items such as shampoo, treats, leashes, water bowls and grooming tools.

“Our campus community never fails to support,” said Jay Arcuri, chief student affairs officer and director of student affairs. “I could not be prouder of our Penn State Mont Alto community’s dedication to the greater Franklin County area.”

The Penn State Mont Alto campus is pleased to play an active role in positively impacting lives in our surrounding communities during the holiday season and throughout the year! These initiatives not only reflect the spirit of community service of our students, faculty and staff, but also embody Penn State values. As we celebrate this holiday season, let us remember the joy that comes from giving and the profound impact it has on creating a stronger, more compassionate community.