Abington campus food drive collects enough for more than 7,700 meals

Penn State Abington's faculty, staff, students and alumni have been busy helping Santa spread holiday cheer to those less fortunate throughout the Delaware Valley. Thanks to their efforts, there will be plenty of canned goods in the food pantry and presents under the tree for sick kids.

According to Erica Pulaski, associate director of enrollment and retention, the Lion Ambassadors were able to provide more than 7,700 meals to the homeless by participating in a popular Philadelphia radio station's food drive.

"This is the fifth year that our students have participated in the official 93.3 WMMR Preston and Steve Camp Out for Hunger. With the generous support of our faculty, staff, alumni and current students, the Lion Ambassadors were able to make a donation of 2,576 pounds of food -- our most successful food drive yet. All this food will go to our area's largest nonprofit food bank, Philabundance. They informed us that with just one pound of food they can feed three people. Our donation alone is going to go a very long way."

The Lion Ambassadors, for which Pulaski is adviser, aren’t the only ones spreading holiday cheer this holiday season. Jim McCloskey, lecturer of finance at Penn State Abington, has been bringing holiday joy to terminally ill children on Christmas Eve for the past 26 years. Having spent a lonely Christmas Eve in a hospital after being wounded during the Vietnam War, McCloskey was determined to help others avoid such an experience.

Working with the Committee to Benefit the Children organization from St. Christopher's Hospital in Philadelphia, Secret Santa McCloskey, Penn State Abington student volunteers and others deliver presents to kids with life-threatening diseases -- home from the hospital just for the magical night -- in the Philadelphia area. Not only do they bring presents to the delight of the sick children and their siblings, but they also deliver food and Christmas trees, much to the surprise of the whole family.

"To see the kids' perennial smiles, well, they're magnetic," said McCloskey. "It also is a great experience for the Penn State student volunteers; they get to witness the true meaning of Christmas."

For more information on Philabundance and WMMR's Camp Out for Hunger, go online at http://www.philabundance.org/. To learn more about the Committee to Benefit the Children, visit http://www.cbckids.org/ online.