Friday, December 27, 2019

Project Spreads Cheer to Three Families for the Holidays

"Project Cheer" for the second year in the row, spread some happiness to three families just before the holidays.

In 2018, Heather and Anthony Kankowski introduced and started "Project Cheer".  The project was started for a way to spread some happiness and cheer to a family that needed some for the holidays.  In it's first year, the Kankowski's teamed up with the Frackville Police Department, where Anthony is also a police officer, and brought toys to the children of a family in Gilberton that has recently lost their mother to breast cancer.

"Times are tough, and I see it everyday, especially in law enforcement.  We just want to spread some Christmas cheer and make sure everyone is happy for the holidays", said Anthony Kankowski.

In 2019, the Kankowski's and Frackville Police wanted to spread more cheer and try to help even more families.

In November, flyers were posted around the borough of Frackville as well as social media asking for the public to help donate toys to the project and for people to send nominations of families that were in need.

The response was so great that the project was able to increase the number of families they could help up to 3, with all three receiving toys for the kids and all the fixings for a full Christmas Dinner. .

Along with donations of toys, businesses and families also stepped up to donate to the cause.  For 2019, donors included O'Connor Law, Sean Cantwell from Primerica, the Friendship Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary, the Schuylkill County Courthouse, Boyer's Market's, and other private families.

On Christmas Eve, the Kankowski's, along with Frackville Police Chief Rick Bell, Jamie Wolfgang from O'Connor Law, and Sean Cantwell from Primerica, loaded up police cruisers, and visited the three families.

Santa and Mrs. Claus also tagged along too.

Greyson Bell, 9, and Sadie Monaghan , 19, also played elves to help deliver to the families.

Their first stop was the home of Jen and Clinton Brown in Mahanoy Plane where Santa met with Baylain, 8, and Sabrina, 9.  Santa handed out candy to the kids while Chief Bell brought in a sack full of wrapped presents for Christmas morning.

Their second stop, was at the home of Markus and Chanequa Vaughan in Frackville where Santa and Mrs. Claus brought presents for Messiah, 3, Vianne, 7, Giovanni, 10, and Omari, 12.

Their third and final stop was at the home of Nicole Wilner, Frackville, where they brought presents for her three children who are 3, 2, and 1.

Because of the donations and hard work of these individuals, these families were guaranteed to have presents under their tree and a Christmas dinner.

"Project Cheer" is expected to become an annual event and the organizers hope to expand it to helping more families.

"We've already received donations for next year, and more businesses are jumping on board", said Heather Kankowski.

Any family or business that would be willing to donate to the project is asked to send an email to