Oil company surprises fire victim with Christmas dinner
COAL TOWNSHIP - Employees at the Shamokin branch of Superior Plus Energy Co. had already decided they'd pool their resources to buy Christmas dinners for three needy customers, continuing a company tradition of giving back.
Each employee was encouraged to jot down possible recipients, and the plan was to pull three names from a hat.
And then came news of last week's tragic fire on South Rock Street in Shamokin.
The fire took the life of 13-year-old Melissa Pangburn, and also displaced her family and three other people.
Among those left homeless was Mary Krzykwa, 84, who had lived at her home at 7 S. Rock St. for 60 years.
The Superior employees recognized Krzykwa's name because she's a long-time customer, and they worked her into their holiday meal giveaway.
"Hands-down, she was getting one," said Lisa Witcoskie, delivery supervisor for Superior, located along Route 61 south of Paxinos.
Wednesday morning, Witcoskie and co-workers David Pennypacker, manager, and Brian Yocum Jr., equipment representative, went to the Coal Township home of Krzykwa's daughter, Kathleen Smith, where she's living, with "a turkey and all the sides" - plus cookies.
"That was so unexpected, and so lovely," Krzykwa said later Wednesday.
She said there were a lot of canned goods, boxes of pasta and more. "I couldn't believe it," she said.
Krzykwa, who has five children, said the food will be used in the family's Christmas dinner, which she had always hosted but will be held this year at the home of her grandson in Mifflinburg.
Son Ed Krzykwa, a chiropractor in Vicksburg who's been spending time at night trying to salvage family mementos, said this wasn't the only act of kindness shown his mother. He said a group of women out to eat at Brewser's SportsGrille last week were discussing the fire situation and, on the spur of the moment, threw a collection of money together and walked up West Walnut Street to Smith's home to present it.
Mary said such gestures have been plentiful.
"The people are really wonderful. I don't even know half of them," she said.
Superior Plus drivers, technicians and office personnel contributed to make all three meal giveaways possible. The two other meals were delivered later Wednesday, Witcoskie said.
Last year, Witkoskie noted, the company gave 100 gallons of heating oil to a customer in need.
As for helping Mary Krzykwa, she said, "Knowing she has lost everything in the fire, this was the best thing we could do. (We're) hoping she has a little peace of mind during the holidays that she will be taken care of."