Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Community's kindness shows as volunteers gather Treasures

by JULIE E. MARTIN jmartin@indianagazette.net on December 11, 2013 11:00 AM

Despite a morning snowstorm, they traveled all across Indiana County — to banks and shopping plazas, churches and schools, commercial pharmacies and utility companies.

All had a single goal: to pick up gifts donated to the Treasures for Children program.

The program’s volunteers canvassed the area Tuesday. They retrieved dozens upon dozens of presents for children, special needs adults and senior citizens in need who are served by the program.

A holiday tradition in Indiana County for nearly 30 years, Treasures for Children is co-sponsored by The Salvation Army and The Indiana Gazette.

According to Treasures coordinator Linda Donnelly, about 10 volunteers traveled to the nearly 50 Treasures collection sites around the county.

Though the initial round of collections is complete, organizers said, it’s not too late to give. There is still a need for donations of all kinds.

About 30 percent of the tags are still out there, according to Donnelly, wife of Gazette publisher Michael Donnelly.

In some cases, tags have been selected, but the gifts have yet to be returned. Others weren’t selected from trees during the initial donation period and have been moved to one of two trees.

“We try to see if people would still like an opportunity to shop for those remaining,” Donnelly said. “If you would still like to help out and shop for one of the Treasures for Children recipients, we’re putting the remaining tags on just two locations.”

Tags are consolidated onto trees at the Kmart and Walmart stores in White Township.

Other donations — be they books, winter wear or popular items — are still needed and can be dropped off at either location.

A deadline to donate to the final collection effort will be announced closer to Christmas.

The Salvation Army has scanned each tag and entered the information into a computerized system.

That way, organizers can track each recipient and, in the end, ensure that all who signed up for the program receive Christmas gifts.

The program, Donnelly said, has never turned away anyone in need.

To have gifts for those who still remain unselected just before Christmas, Treasures for Children volunteers will hit the stores before the big day, buying presents with money that has been donated to the program.

In her experience, Donnelly has seen that Indiana County residents will continue giving through the Treasures program as long as they can.

“I do it every year, but I’m still amazed by how generous everybody is,” she said.

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