LEWISTOWN - A Mount Union woman is hoping to make Christmas a little fuller for area kids in shelters this year.
Stacy Flaherty has placed numerous toy donation boxes in the tri-county area, with three key locations in Mifflin County: DP's Music Center in Lewistown, J.P. Edward's Grill and Bar in Burnham and Harshbarger's Sub N' Malt in McVeytown.
"It's a way to give back to the community and to see people happy," Flaherty said, who first started collecting donations several months ago for victims of house fires.
Sentinel photo by MEGAN BOLLINGER
Stacy Flaherty stands with Sierra Ryan, bar manager at J.P. Edward’s Grill and Bar in Burnham, where one of Flaherty’s toy donation boxes will be located until Dec. 4. Flaherty is seeking toy donations that will go to local shelters to be distributed in time for Christmas.
Flaherty said she heard about a family in the State College area who lost their home in a fire through a Yahoo Web site group called Freecycle. The Web site allows users to post items they need, which enabled Flaherty to collect only the specific items the family needed.
Although Flaherty is now focusing on collecting toys for children in shelters in Mifflin, Huntingdon and Centre counties, she still actively donates other items to shelters and families in need. Flaherty said she contacts local people who are having yard sales and offers to take their unsold items when the sale is over.
Flaherty said because most people just want to be rid of items they weren't able to sell at their yard sales, many accept her offer to take the items, which she ensures stay in the area through donation to only local shelters.
Visit one of the Mifflin County businesses: DP's Music Center in Lewistown, J.P. Edward's Grill and Bar in Burnham and Harshbarger's Sub N' Malt in McVeytown.
Flaherty said all donations collected at locations in Mifflin County will go to Shelter Services Inc., which operates a shelter on Depot Street in Lewistown. Donations collected at other spots in Centre and Huntingdon counties will be sent to Centre County Women's Resource Center in State College, Huntingdon House in Huntingdon and Mary Alexander Outreach in Mount Union.
Flaherty said she isn't asking for any specific toys but does ask that the toys be new and not stuffed animals.
"Educational toys are great," Flaherty said. "Because these kids aren't getting the extra learning support outside of school that other kids have."
Flaherty also hopes that people will remember the older children in shelters as well when buying toys to donate.
"Everyone buys baby toys because they are so cute, but we need a wide variety of toys," Flaherty said.
Other locations where toys can be donated: Appleby's Drug Store and Dollar General Store in Mount Union; Dunkle's Antiques and Crafts and Original Italian Pizza in Huntingdon; Holiday Bowl in Mill Creek; Original Italian Pizza in Mapleton; Nittany Eye Associates locations in State College, Spring Mills, Greys Woods and Tyrone.
Anyone interested in donating items in addition to toys, such as clothes and household items, should contact Flaherty at (814) 386-2628 to arrange a pickup time and date. Businesses interested in receiving a donation box to place at their location also should contact Flaherty.