Jared Box Project

Penn State A&BS Delivers Jared Boxes to Mount Nittany Medical Center

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Children who are patients at Mount Nittany Medical Center had their days brightened recently, thanks to the Jared Box Project and Penn State’s Auxiliary & Business Services (A&BS).

Heather Luse, executive pastry chef at the Penn State Bakery, got word from the Jared Box Project that boxes—plastic shoebox-sized containers filled with games, toys, and fun activities—were needed for children at Mount Nittany Medical Center. She spread the word among A&BS staff, asking anyone who was interested to donate items or money for the boxes.

The Jared Box project was started in 2001 by children at Our Lady of Victory School in State College, Pennsylvania to honor their classmate and friend, Jared, who battled cancer with courage and faith. The mission of the Jared Box Project is to lift the spirits of children who are in the hospital.

“Personally, my kids have had a few Jared Boxes from our emergency room visits, and it was so nice,” Luse says. “A few of us were talking in the Bakery and we thought it would be a great idea to open up our collection effort to the whole Housing and Food Services Building.”

Luse organized the project, collecting donations for the smallest patients: from infants to age 4. After gathering donations, she and a few employees assembled the boxes at her home and delivered them to Mount Nittany Medical Center on Monday, March 13 after work.

Boxes were delivered to children in the Emergency Department, Cancer Care Clinic, Outpatient Surgery, and patient rooms.

Cindy Kolarik, director of the Jared Box Project, expressed appreciation for the donations. “It is only through the kindness of others that this project continues,” she says. “What a joy it was to work with Heather. To assemble 50 Jared Boxes is quite a caring and generous effort! Auxiliary & Business Services employees are doing great things for the children in our community.”

“Our thanks go out to Heather for leading the way on this project,” says Gail Hurley, associate vice president for Penn State Auxiliary & Business Services. “She found time to make this happen, and because she did, some children in our community had a special treat at a difficult time in their life. That's a priceless gift.”

Luse was pleased with employees’ participation and willingness to give: The goal of 50 boxes was exceeded, with extra items Luse plans to save for a second Jared Box collection in August. “We’re going to shoot for 100 boxes next time!” she says.

“It’s initiatives like these that reaffirm what wonderful people we have in A&BS,” says David Gray, senior vice president for Finance & Business/treasurer. “They are people who truly care for and about their community.”