Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Red Cross Receives $25K Grant from CommunityAid

Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Regional CEO Ellen Kyzer (pictured) was presented with a $25K grant check from CommunityAid during a special event held at Colonial Park Mall in Harrisburg on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. CommunityAid awarded over $400,000 to area nonprofits during the event.

“The partners receiving checks today are doing so much good in our communities,” noted Glenn Chandler, CommunityAid Executive Director. “All we ever wanted to do was to help them to do more by removing some of the financial burden.”

The primary purpose of CommunityAid is to raise funds for distribution to local schools, churches, synagogues, temples, and nonprofit charitable organizations. They accomplish this by partnering with area businesses and organizations that agree to host clothing collection bins. Items donated through the bins are sold at one of three area CommunityAid thrift stores, with the proceeds being returned to the community in the form of grants.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Local Girl Scouts Donate Comfort Kits

Girl Scout Troop 10368 in Middletown visited the Harrisburg Red Cross office to drop-off 200 Comfort Kits (100 adult and 100 child) that they had assembled on Saturday, June 20, 2015. They also brought additional items to be used in future kits.

Comfort kits are handed out to individuals and families following all types of disasters and contain items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, washcloths, razors, and deodorant. Children’s kits, depending on the age for whom they were meant, might have diapers, baby lotion, pacifiers, coloring books, and crayons.

“To collect the items the girls did a presentation at our monthly community meeting, asking their sister troops to donate specific items or cash,” commented Marilyn Taylor, the troop’s leader. “We made a flyer that the girls handed out to all of the troop leaders detailing what was needed. The girls then took the flyers home to pass out to friends and family.”

Marilyn noted that one of the girl’s aunts posted the flyer at her place of employment and received two bags full of items and $80 in cash donations to be used on additional items! Another girl created a stand at a family picnic and raised $60.

“Initially, the girls decided to use $200 of their troop’s funds for a shopping trip to purchase some of the items,” Marilyn stated. “When we realized even after receiving a lot of donations from our sister troops and family members that we were still short of what was needed to fulfill our goal, the girls decided to skip their year-end trip and use that money to purchase the rest of the items to complete the kits.”

Before the girls unloaded the kits from their car, Disaster Program Specialist Chris Doty explained how they would be used. He then gave a tour of the emergency response vehicles.

Marilyn concluded, “The Red Cross helped a lot of families in the Middletown area during Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, and the girls wanted to give back to help other families during their time of need. One of our girls said it best when she told me, ‘They help people in need, so we have to help them to help people.’”

Friday, June 19, 2015

Volunteers Help Out in York

Twelve community volunteers visited the Red Cross office in York as part of The United Way’s Day of Action on Friday, June 19, 2015. The group washed five Red Cross vehicles inside and out, wrote and sent thank you cards to recent blood donors, called blood donors to remind them of upcoming blood donation appointments, and sorted and organized items for comfort kits.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Red Cross South Central PA Chapter Seek Local Heroes

The American Red Cross South Central Pennsylvania Chapter is seeking nominations for its annual Heroes of South Central PA Awards. This special recognition event honors local individuals for their heroic and selfless acts performed in either Adams, Franklin, Fulton or York Counties. 

Nominations will be accepted for the following categories:
  • 911 Dispatch
  • Adult Good Samaritan (over 18 years old)
  • Animal (a person who aids or saves an animal or vice versa)
  • Aquatics (a situation that occurred in or around water)
  • Community Impact
  • Fire Fighter
  • Law Enforcement
  • Medical
  • Military (heroic action could have taken place elsewhere)
  • Youth Good Samaritan (under 18 years old).
In order to be considered, the heroic act must be ongoing or have been performed between August 18, 2014 and August 18, 2015. Nominees must live, work, or have performed their heroic acts in Adams, Franklin, Fulton or York Counties.

The nomination deadline is August 28, 2015. 

Submissions should include the nominees’ deeds, as well as how they impacted the community or others around them. Any supporting evidence or documentation (such as photographs, videos, police reports, and news articles) should also be submitted, as should the names and contact information for any witnesses who could help provide more information if necessary.

Honorees will be recognized at the 13th Annual Heroes of South Central PA celebration to be held in November. To nominate a hero, or to obtain a nomination form, contact Ashley Martz at 717-771-3572 or

You can also download a copy of the Nomination Form.

New North Central Board Meets For First Time

The American Red Cross North Central Pennsylvania Chapter held the first meeting of its newly consolidated Board of Directors on Wednesday, June 17, at the Chapter Office in Lewisburg. Joining the Board at the meeting were two representatives from the Williamsport Red Cross Club.

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Red Cross,” commented Chapter Executive Director Tom Szulanczyk. “It’s great to see representatives from our ten counties coming together as one to further our mission and outreach in the communities we serve.”

The American Red Cross North Central Chapter serves Bradford, Clinton, Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Sullivan Tioga, and Union Counties. Board members include:

  • Michael & Joanne Benjamin (Danville)
  • Chad Hebrink (Berwick)
  • Marty Miller (Danville)
  • Debb Lutz (Mifflinville)
  • Tom Marks (Danville)
  • Henry Baylor (Lewisburg
  • Robert Benion (Milton)
  • Rick Wible (Lewisburg)
  • Jonelle Wetzel ( Hughesville)
  • Chris Olson (Lewisburg)
  • Howard Lauver (Port Trevorton)
  • Karen Gardner (Lewisburg)
  • Kim Olszewski (Lewisburg)
  • Craig Kremser Company (Muncy)
  • Greg Cummings (Corning)
  • Tom & Carole Livingston (Mill Hall)
  • Mike Loeh (Lewisburg)
  • Nate Smyth (Lewisburg)
  • Al Smith (Williamsport)
  • Charles (Chip) Plankenhorn (Williamsport)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Thank You Gold’s Gym in Hanover

Gold’s Gym Hanover General Manager Chris Simoncini (pictured above left) presented Red Cross South Central PA Chapter Executive Matt Leininger with a check for $2,400 that represented the money raised during a 5K Road Race held last month in Hanover.

“The Red Cross and Gold’s Gym share similarities in its mission of outreach and support to those in need. Our goal at Gold’s is to support our local community through promoting and educating our members on living a healthy and active lifestyle,” noted Simoncini. “Through our partnership, our 5K is able to generate necessary funds to assist the Red Cross in carrying out its mission in preventing and alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies.”

Monday, June 15, 2015

State College Youth Soccer Teams Support Nepal Relief

Two State College youth soccer teams, State College Celtics and Soccer Shots, joined together to raise over $3,500 to benefit The American Red Cross Earthquake Relief effort in Nepal. Their effort was spearheaded by parents and four players after hearing about the devastation from a teammate, Shushant Dahal, and his family who are from the affected area.

Initially, the plan was to hold a bake sale and soccer tournament. But after Drew Kogelman, Will Kogelman, Joel Torbic and Luke Torbic, third graders from the team, approached their teacher at Corl Street Elementary School in State College to learn more about Nepal, they asked if there was anything the school could do to help with the relief effort. Working collaboratively, the entire third grade class then joined forces with the rest of the school to raise nearly $900 through a simple penny drive that was ultimately donated to the soccer team’s bake sale and tournament. Rapid Transit Sports added to that impressive total by throwing in a $500 donation of its own.

Thanks to all who worked together to provide much needed financial support to help the people of Nepal through this tragic situation.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


Would The American Red Cross be able to respond quickly and efficiently if a major hurricane were to hit Pennsylvania, spawning four tornadoes and causing widespread flooding and destruction in communities throughout the Commonwealth?

A disaster drill simulating that exact scenario played out in all three Pennsylvania regions of the Red Cross over the past several days. With Harrisburg serving as the command center for the operation, volunteers and staff worked together with people in the community to set up shelters, secure and move supplies, and act quickly to mobilize wherever and whatever was needed.

Disaster scenarios and updates tagged with “EXERCISE***EXERCISE***EXERCISE” arrived via email often, each defining a situation or crisis that was immediately handled by event participants. The motion was fast paced, allowing everyone to have a better feel of exactly what would be expected if an actual disaster of that magnitude were to hit our area. Systems, plans, and people were put to the test in what can only be described as the training experience of a lifetime.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Giving not with your wallet, but with your heart

Suman Tamant, David Reed, Yadhav Subedi, Ram Shrestha, and Tika Dhungana, pictured with Barb Taylor, Chief Development Officer for the American Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Region, visited the Red Cross office in Harrisburg on Tuesday, June 10, to deliver a donation of nearly $4,000 to go toward the American Red Cross Nepal Earthquake relief effort. The group, consisting of mostly Bhutanese refugees who have settled in the area over the past several years, came on behalf of their recently established nonprofit, the Bhutanese Community in Harrisburg Relief Fund.

“We want to encourage the Nepalese by uniting with them in their struggle,” commented Tika, immediate past president of the organization, when explaining their desire to donate to this effort. “Most of our people are warehouse and hotel workers who do not have a lot. They did not give with their wallets, they gave with their hearts.”

The majority of the money was raised during a candlelight vigil that the group held for the people of Nepal in Harrisburg’s Lingle Park on Sunday, May 3. Close to 300 members of the Bhutanese community attended the event.

“We believe that service to mankind is service to God,” added Suman when explaining the tremendous generosity of the donations received from the local Bhutanese community and the desire to give to others through the American Red Cross as a show of appreciation for the support they received during their journey as refugees.

“The Red Cross is everywhere. Any disaster, the Red Cross is there,” noted Tika. “When we were forced to a refugee camp down by a river with no shelter and no food, it was the very generous people of the Red Cross who provided for us.”

The group’s liaison, David Reed, stated that the United States government initially said they would resettle 60,000 Bhutanese refugees. That number has increased, and today close to 80,000 have settled in the United States. In the Harrisburg and Lancaster area, Catholic Charities and Church World Service became the sponsoring organizations respectively, providing local support to the refugees during their first three to six months in the United States. While not all refugees initially came to the Greater Harrisburg area, many relocated here due to the welcoming community and numerous employment opportunities. Today, there are roughly 5,000 people from Bhutan living in the Greater Harrisburg area. They have formed a vibrant community that now seeks to help others.

Tika concluded, “I know the American Red Cross is the leading nonprofit organization to reach all over the world when people like us face different types of disasters. Our people have donated their hard-earned money on humanitarian ground to support the people of Nepal during this difficult situation.”