MONT ALTO, Pa. — It was gift-wrap central at Penn State Mont Alto Wednesday as staff worked diligently to wrap 200 presents for less fortunate families in Franklin County.
This was the first year for Mont Alto’s Adopt a Family program, in conjunction with Franklin County Children and Youth Service.
Penn State Mont Alto Director of Student Affairs Curtis Hoover spearheaded the holiday initiative just before Thanksgiving.
“A week before Thanksgiving didn’t give us much time to pull this together. But, I should have known that Penn State would rally behind this worthy cause. I had people respond to me immediately,” he said.
The cheerleading team contacted Hoover within an hour of his sending out his email.
“It was over their break. They weren’t even on campus. But, they went full out and adopted a family of six and purchased 45 gifts,” Hoover said.
Co-captain of the Cheerleading Club Brittney Wilson knew immediately that she wanted to help.
“I knew personally what it felt like to be on the receiving end of programs like this in my childhood and wanted to be able to pay it forward and give that experience to someone else,” Wilson said.
Wilson’s proposal to the cheerleading club was embraced with excitement.
“The cheerleaders are big on supporting others and huge fans of the holiday season. They saw this as an opportunity to give back, and I'm very proud of the effort we put forth in procuring items for the family we selected,” she said.
The campus adopted eight families.
The following campus clubs and departments participated: Business and Finance, Cheerleading, Honors Program, Faculty Senate, Human Development and Family Studies and Psychology, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Public Relations and Marketing, Student Affairs, Student Government Association, and Student Veterans Association.
Hoover asked Franklin County Children and Youth Service for families who might not have the means to celebrate the holidays this year.
“We did gifts for the whole family. A lot of the families were single-parent households, and we didn’t want to let the adults out of having a joyous holiday,” Hoover said.
Penn State Mont Alto staff, along with the Nittany Lion delivered the wrapped presents to the agency in time for Christmas.
“It’s important that we give back to our community and this is a perfect opportunity for us to do that,” Hoover said.
“On behalf of Franklin County Children and Youth Service, I would like to thank Curtis and the members of the Penn State Mont Alto's Adopt a Family program for their kind and overabundance of gifts for our families,” said Minnie Goshorn, assistant administrator for Franklin County Children and Youth Service.
There are so many families that need help, she said.
“A lot of times these parents struggle to get their kids gifts. We can help with the children, but the adults never get anything,” Goshorn said. “We really appreciated that Penn State Mont Alto provided gifts for the entire family, because everyone should have a gift to open on Christmas.”
This might have been the first year for the campus’ Adopt a Family Program, but it won’t be the last.
“Many staff said that next year, instead of buying gifts for an office gift exchange, they want to buy gifts for a family in need to give back to the community,” Hoover said.