PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A relatively small box is making a rather big difference in the lives of sick and injured children. Hundreds of those boxes showed up Thursday at a hospital to help mark a major milestone.
King’s College Pitcher Nick Deno is working on a different kind of delivery. His baseball team and other volunteers are bringing a large batch of boxes to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center. “It’s definitely something to feel good about to be a part of just to be able to give back when we can,” said the sophomore hurler.
Giving back is part of “The Jared Box Project” — a national, non-profit program started in 2001 in memory of a central Pennsylvania boy who died of cancer. King’s College Head Baseball Coach and Pocono Mountain School District Teacher Jerry Greeley organized the first delivery of Jared Boxes in northeastern Pennsylvania. Now, eight years later, he’s part of an astounding 10,000th Jared Box delivery to Geisinger Wyoming Valley. “We’re just extremely excited,” he said.
Volunteers and the community donate items for the boxes including toys, coloring books and crayons or other age-appropriate items for pediatric patients. Mr. Greeley said, “This past year we hit 1,957 which is just absolutely unbelievable how it just keeps growing every year.”
The boxes have evolved through the years… so much so that not only is there more on the inside but also there’s a whole lot more attention paid to what’s on the outside. Geisinger Pediatric Hospitalist Lisa Holtz, MD makes sure she’s armed with a specially decorated Jared Box when she sees a child in the Emergency Department. “It’s very intimidating for children. But when I bring in that box, you can see the children’s face light up.”
The Jared Box brings a special kind of healing for a 7-year-old boy named Owen who is being treated for a seizure disorder. “He’s tied to a bed. He’s got wires on his head. He can’t move around,” said Owen’s father Paul Thompson. “So, being able to color, play with toys. He’s in there playing with a watch he got right now.”
Lifting spirits of children in the hospital one box at a time. “The Jared Box Project” has donated more than a quarter-million boxes combined in all 50 states to children in hospitals.