Sunday, December 18, 2022

Project Cheer Celebrates 5 Years of Sharing Christmas Spirit

For the fifth year in a row, Project Cheer continues to bring "cheer" to Schuylkill County families like no other in Schuylkill County.

Five years ago, Frackville Police Officer Anthony Kankowski and his wife Heather, co-founded "Project Cheer".  The couple came up with the idea as a way to spread happiness and cheer to a family that was in need for the holidays. 

What started out as helping one family during their first year has grown to helping 6 families this and putting a smile on the faces of 18 children.

The original plan for this year was to help 4 families but after a devasting fire in Shenandoah on November 28th, 2022, two more families with children were added.

This day was the culmination of a year of work by the Kankowskis collecting donations and organizing the event.

In September, Project Cheer begins accepting nomination of deserving families.

The families were treated to a meal on Saturday at the Gilberton Fire Company and were also provided food for a Christmas meal and some extra treats.

Santa and Mrs. Claus also attended to spread some cheer.  Santa brought one present for each of the children that they were able to open right away.  Each child also received a sac full of toys to take with them, with the only rule being they couldn't open them until Christmas morning.

The children were also treated to a reading of the Night Before Christmas by Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Christina Carl, of Frackville, and her two boys were one of the families nominated said "Many tears of joy after thinking we might not have much of a Christmas this year. I never expected, and I completely appreciate and thank whoever nominated my boys, and Tony and Heather and everyone else who made it possible for them to have a Christmas this year!"

Project Cheer specifically wanted to thank the local businesses that donated which included the Ladies Auxiliary Club of the Friendship Fire Company, Kowalonek's Kielbasy Shop, Friends & Family Walmart Transportation Team 7830, Swift Transportation, Shenandoah Knights of Columbus, Rae of Sunshine Boutique, O'Connor Law, The Beauty Bar, Gilberton Fire Company, SCI-Frackville, Unity Mart, A to Z Food Mart, DM2 Security, Frackville Police Department, Anthony's Pizza, the Pizza Place, and Mrs. T's Pierogies.

Santa's helpers/elves helping out this year were John Cooney, Devin Dellock, Jordan Sharp, Haley Leitzel, Aaron Sharp, Ronald Wentworth and Kirsty Kankowski.