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PennDOT spreads holiday cheer to communities statewide

December 21, 2017 12:00 AM
By: Larissa Newton

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​At PennDOT, we strive to be a part of our communities in every way possible. Whether it's working closely with municipalities on transportation projects through PennDOT Connects, or keeping roads safe and passable during winter storms. During the holidays, our offices across the state find various ways to give back to our communities.

Central Office — Harrisburg

Earlier in December, PennDOT's Central Office participated in the 28th annual Holiday Wish Program gift drive, which provides donated gifts to about 200 families and 100 seniors across Pennsylvania. The families and older adults sponsored for the event were identified through case workers at county assistance offices, a senior citizen complex serving older adults in need, and a community action agency. They list a few gifts they would like to receive, and state employees then choose to sponsor a family or individual.

District 1 — Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango, and Warren Counties

More than $3,300 worth of wrapped Christmas gifts were given to Community Services of Venango County for its Adopt-a-Family project. PennDOT employees sponsored two families with a total of 16 family members.

Throughout the month, district employees were invited to decorate a Christmas tree in the lobby of the Oil City district office with winter gloves, mittens, scarves, and hats. More than 500 of those items were donated by employees for distribution by Community Services of Venango County and the Oil City Salvation Army.

Also housed in the lobby was a large box where employees could leave pet food and other supplies for the Venango County Humane Society.

District 2 — Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Juniata, McKean, Mifflin, and Potter Counties

A cubicle-decorating contest in District 2 raised $350 for Toys for Tots. Each participant paid a $1 entry fee, and then fellow employees voted for their favorite with monetary donations.

The district also participated in a Senior Giving Tree, which provided gifts for 35 seniors in the Clearfield area. And around 60 toys were donated to Toys for Tots.

District 3 — Bradford, Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, and Union Counties

The District 3 office participates in several holiday programs:

  • It is donating almost 50 bicycles to local children from needy families. This is an annual fundraiser in memory of late Lycoming County Maintenance employee Bill Craver, and it has resulted in the donation of hundreds of bikes over the years. This program also collects toys that are given to Toys for Tots.
  • District employees "adopt" children in the care of local foster care agency Families United Network and then fulfill those children's holiday wish lists. More than 35 children are adopted each Christmas Season.
  • The district holds a Christmas "food fight," which raises money and non-perishable goods for local food pantry Footprints of Montgomery. The district unit that collects the most food wins. Footprints of Montgomery is run by district Plans Engineer Mike Bender and his wife, Jennifer.

District 4 — Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming Counties

PennDOT's northeastern district delivered gifts to about 50 children at the West Scranton Head Start. Santa was on-hand to help deliver the presents.

District 5 — Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, and Schuylkill Counties

The District 5 office adopted a family of five through the Holiday Wish Program. A total of $569 was collected for the single mother and her four children. That money was used to purchase all of the family's requested items.

District 8 — Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, and York Counties

Employees in our District 8 office decided to keep it in the family this year — choosing to collect for the families of two PennDOT employees who are struggling this holiday season. One employee from the Perry County Maintenance Office has been dealing with his wife's cancer diagnosis, while another employee from the Dauphin County Maintenance Office recently had a serious accident leaving her unable to work for an extended time. Monetary donations and gift cards were collected for both families.

District 9 — Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, and Somerset Counties

For the third year, District 9 participated in the "Toasty Toddler" program organized by the Blair County United Way. The program provides new warm winter clothing for young children in need. The district donated 27 coats and many sets of hats and gloves to the program.

District employees also donated toys and gifts as part of the Holiday Wish program.

District 11 — Allegheny, Beaver, and Lawrence Counties

The annual District 11 food drive amassed an impressive collection of food items and nearly $3,000 in monetary and gift card donations benefitting the Wallace Memorial Food Pantry.

The district also sponsored a family from the Holiday Wish Program. This year the office was paired with a family of three — a mother along with her 6-year-old son and infant daughter with health issues. The family received everything on their wish list, plus $685 in cash and gift cards.

The District 11 Civil Engineer Council also sponsored a family from the Holiday Wish Program. The disabled mother and her three young children had no beds to sleep on. Through the generosity of the CE Council, the family acquired two full beds, a twin bed, bedding supplies, and toys for the children.

Have a safe and happy holiday from everyone at PennDOT!​

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