Students from elementary/middle and high schools throughout Greater Hazleton teamed up with the CAN DO Student Action Committee to collect dozens of boxes of non-perishable food and personal hygiene items as part of the 13th annual Operation: CAN DO drive. The items collected will be used to create care packages for military members with ties to Greater Hazleton who will be stationed overseas for the holidays.
Students in the Freeland Elementary/Middle School Builders Club have organized a collection for several years and collected items from students in every grade in the school. Club members say they were thankful for the donations and feel a sense of pride to be able to give back to the military members. Builders Club adviser Nathan DeBalko said that the club members always find this to be one of their most rewarding projects of the school year. “I would like to thank CAN DO for organizing this project annually. Operation: CAN DO is a great way to thank our troops who sacrifice so much,” he said.
The items will be transported to the American Legion Post 473 in Freeland in November. Members of American Legion Post 473 have been assisting the CAN DO Student Action Committee with the project since Operation: CAN DO’s inception and will once again assist with packaging the items to ship to the service members.
The Student Action Committee is made up of local high school students appointed to serve as members of CAN DO’s board of directors. Michael Kulish, of Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences, and Alexandra Rentz, of Hazleton Area High School, served as this year’s Operation: CAN DO co-chairs. Additional members of this year’s Student Action Committee are: Stephanie Mazurek, James “JT” Vozar, and Francine Lamasko of Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences; Mark Abdelmalek, Angelina Joseph and Vincent Damiano of Hazleton Area High School; Christopher Danishefsky and Saraiha Rossi of Immanuel Christian School; Corrin Dagostin, Isabella Schwabe and Grace Mussoline of Marian High School; Jakob Schwabe and Morgan Long of MMI Preparatory School; and Jillian Bartel and Nikki Polivka of Weatherly Area High School. Charles Burkhardt also serves as a Student Action Committee adviser.
The CAN DO Student Action Committee also coordinates the annual CAN DO Community Christmas, which will be held Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church in Hazleton.