Organization grants holiday wishes for local needy families
ATLAS - In the basement of a local fire company Tuesday night, six women begin to assemble their list. And soon, they'll check it twice.
They are volunteers with Children's Christmas Wish List of Mount Carmel Township, an organization created five years ago that purchases Christmas gifts for needy youngsters in the township. Christmas Wish List was created in honor of a fallen friend.
"It was started by my granddaughter, Dana Aliberto, who just lost a friend in Randy Zigarski, and wanted to do something for the children," charter member Pat Bartos said from the basement of Atlas Fire Company.
Zigarski, a Mount Carmel Area student, died when he slipped and fell in a pit in Mount Carmel Township in 2004.
Christmas Wish List collects monetary donations from local businesses. Those donations are used to purchase toys and school clothes for those in need, said organization president Lisa Fiamoncini.
In 2004, when Christmas Wish List was in its first year, Bartos says a special ceremony was held at Atlas' town park gazebo, where the group began to collect toys. Bartos says a sign from above let everyone know they were doing the right thing.
"As we went to throw on the switch to light the Christmas tree, a light snow came falling down," she said.
On Monday, group members made plans to go on their annual shopping trip. After shopping, the group will prepare the gifts for parents to give to their children on Christmas morning.
Gift bags are purchased from Birthright of Sunbury, an organization that offers pregnancy testing, prenatal care, emotional support and more to women of all ages.
Township residents who would like assistance can sign up from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Atlas Fire Company.
How to help
Send donations to: Children's Christmas Wish List of Mount Carmel Township, c/o Lisa Fiamoncini, 408 W. Saylor St., Atlas 17851.
Anyone who knows of a name that can be added to the list is asked to send along that information as well.