Saturday, December 19, 2020

Volunteers Help 6 Families by Spreading Christmas Cheer

"Project Cheer" lived up to its name on Saturday and brought holiday cheer to local families. 

Three years ago, Heather and Anthony Kankowski, introduced and started "Project Cheer". The project was started for a way to spread  happiness and cheer to a family that was in need for the holidays. 

This year "Project Cheer" raised enough money to help six local families, which includes 13 school age children in the Frackville area. 

"We both came from backgrounds that were similar to these families and seeing our parents struggle and not always having things under the Christmas tree, and knowing now that being blessed, we can help others.  Seeing the smiles on the kids' faces, the look in their parents' eyes, it makes it all worth it.  We love this community, we grew up in this community, we want to build this community, and this was a great way to start." said Cyndi and Joes Thurs, who held a pop up vendor event earlier in the month, with proceeds going towards the organization. 

Due to COVID-19, the group was unable to deliver directly to the recipients homes like other years, but instead, the Gilberton Fire Company allowed the group to provide a central location for families to meet with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.

All of the children received an individual gift from Santa along with a personalized elf and ornament. Pizza was provided for all of the families also. 

Santa read Twas' the Night Before Christmas as all the children sat around to listen. 

Before leaving, each of the families were surprised with a large bag of presents for each of the children. The children were advised by Santa himself, that the gifts can not be open until Christmas day. 

Along with the gifts for the children, each family received all the fixings for a Christmas dinner. 

"Even though we are in a pandemic, all of our businesses and families came together.  We want to thank everyone that helped at the Pop Up Vendor Event, the Holiday Cheer Program, and everyone from the community that helped out" said Heather Kankowski.

Local business who helped make this event possible are Adams Chiropractic, O'Connor Law, Bova Property Maintenance, The Quart House, Hidden River Credit Union, Ladies of Auxillary of Friendship Fire Company, Holiday Cheer Pop Up Event hosted by the Thurs Family, Kowalonek's Kielbasy Shop, Shawn Cantwell of Primerica, Rae of Sunshine Boutique, Pizza Place, Unity Food Mart, along with many private donors. 

The members of "Project Cheer" hope to continue the event in 2021.  Anyone wishing to join or donate, can email or reach out on Facebook at