During the last two weeks, angels have been busy. Many generous people in our community have made time in their bustling holiday schedules to reach out to others by responding to needs on The Morning Call's annual Be an Angel wish list.
Published Nov. 28, the list includes wishes from nonprofit agencies throughout the region for items that will help them better serve people in need in our community.
''Thanks a million to Be an Angel,'' wrote a very grateful Shelly Nahrgang, with news from Planned Parenthood of North East Pennsylvania.
Actually, it's not the campaign that deserves the thanks so much as the person who decided to be an angel. This selfless individual earned wings by volunteering to update the organization's Web site a task that would have cost Planned Parenthood money that can now be better spent serving 20,000 clients in a nine-county region.
Nahrgang was one of many agency contacts reporting donations in the first two weeks of the campaign.
''I am thrilled to report that we've had two of our three wishes granted,'' wrote an equally elated Karen Goldner, a nurse at Trexler Middle School who volunteered to be our contact person for the Allentown School District School Nurses. To better serve the health needs of more than 17,000 students in the district, the group received a wheelchair from Molly Trimble of Allentown and an ice machine from James Vorosmarti of Center Valley.
Angels seem to be as excited about the campaign as the recipient agencies. ''We found an angel! Evelyn Edwards of Northampton is very enthusiastic about being a volunteer librarian for the Moravian Historical Society,'' wrote Sue Dreydoppel, the society's contact. Dreydoppel, who was hoping to get help in the beginning of the new year, says Edwards wants to start sooner: ''She's coming to talk to us and get down to work next week.''
Pat DiLusio Jr. of Victory House of Lehigh Valley reports that his organization has had two of its three wishes fulfilled. Earlier this week, this agency that provides shelter to homeless men and helps them become self-sufficient, received a phone system to update old equipment and a snow blower to clear its parking lots.
Historic Bethlehem Partnership also has had responses to two of its three wishes, reports Myra Saturen. An angel dropped off a microwave oven for the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts. And two prospective angels called to inquire about volunteering to be tour guides at the partnership's historic sites.
Within a week of the wish list publication, ''Broughal had an angel! A very generous one, too!'' wrote Kim Carrell-Smith from the Broughal Middle School Instrumental Program. ''Last year, a family gave a donation in memory of a family member who had been a musician. This year, they responded to our wish list again this time with a donation of $300.'' A gift that will keep on giving, the donation will help children learn to play instruments their families would not otherwise be able to afford.
Also within the first few days of the campaign, an ''anonymous lady donor'' dropped off a pack of diapers, a carton of formula, infant spoons, two infant toys and a set of disposable sippy cups at the Allentown Health Bureau for its Nurse-Family Partnership Program. Trish Knoblauch, our contact at the Health Bureau, hopes this one generous angel, who responded to all three items on its wish list, will inspire even more angels to help. Multiple donations are needed to help the program serve first-time, low-income moms in Allentown by providing supplies for their infants.
Eight women responded to the call of the Auxiliary of Lehigh Valley Hospital Muhlenberg for material, stuffing and thread needed to make about 1,000 Huggie Bears to distribute to patients in the post-anesthesia care and pediatric ambulatory units. The bears, made by the auxiliary, help ease the pain of coughing after surgery. Three of the angels who called already have delivered material and stuffing for the bears, says our contact, Sylvia Hajewski.
St. Luke's Pediatric Rehabilitation Department, which provides physical, occupational and speech therapy to children, received five calls promising donations and inquiring about specific items needed, says our contact Grace Ocampo. Two of those angels delivered their donations ''lots of tissues'' and art supplies, including items such as Play-doh, crayons, glue, scissors, coloring books and ''even a Crayola Fun Factory.'' One of the angels told Ocampo that she took her son shopping with her to purchase some of the items donated so that ''he could learn about giving.''
''We are so grateful
so overwhelmed by the generosity of these people,'' says Ocampo. ''I know these may seem like a little thing, but it's a big thing when you get something your really need.''
The Catholic Social Agency's Refugee Resettlement Program, which helps refugee families settle in the community and become self-sufficient, ''has received several donations of household items, including a TV, a VCR, a microwave oven, a table, a lamp, dishes, towels, silverware, a coffeepot, curtains, a tablecloth, sheets, towels and personal-care items,'' reports Marla Sell, our contact and a refugee resettlement caseworker at the agency.
The Association for Animal Protection Legislation & Law Enforcement (AAPLLE), which rescues badly abused animals, received two donations. One angel donated a crate, which ''we so desperately need,'' says Judy Kreibel of AAPLLE. And the other angel called to volunteer to help the agency with its homeless pets a wish not listed but really appreciated. For agencies with tight budgets, the service provided by a volunteer is a donation that's priceless.
Sandy Holben of St. John's Day Care Center also was thrilled to receive a ''bonus'' donation. An angel donated a computer desk, which was on the wish list. And, when the donation was picked up, the angel also gave a computer chair and a computer two items that weren't on the list but are greatly appreciated.
Hanover Township Community Center received two calls in response to its list. One angel offered a piano, the top item on the center's wish list, and another offered an item it couldn't use.
The Morning Call hopes that second angel didn't give up but, instead, went back to the wish list to find another organization that might need the item offered. With 300 nonprofit agencies and 900 wishes, many with multiple items, chances are there's an organization that can use it.
If you have items to give and you have access to a computer, finding a home for your donations, new or lovingly used, is easy with our online database. Go to www.mcall.com and click on the Be an Angel icon. You can search by item, by agency, by category (Health Care, Family, etc.) and by location.
A few housekeeping issues: If you'd like to make a donation to the Miller-Keystone Blood Center, call Mary Liz Bauer at 610-691-5850, Ext. 211. The number on the Wish List is incorrect.
The following wish was omitted from the list for the Catasauqua Area Lions Club: Walgreen's gift cards or cash donations to help the club defray costs for a Christmas shopping spree for underprivileged children. Please tell them you are making the donation through the Be an Angel campaign.
These organizations and hundreds of others are hoping to hear from you soon. Only a few weeks remain. The campaign ends on Jan. 2. The donations reported today have put only a small dent in the massive wish list. So many more angels are needed to fulfill a multitude of needs.
Agencies, if you received donations that haven't been reported, please notify us so we can share your good news. Angels, if you've made a donation we haven't mentioned, we'd like to hear from you, as well.
Irene Kraft, lifestyle editor
Campaign off to a good start with numerous wishes fulfilled
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