The youth of Providence Presbyterian Church delivered 55 Jared Boxes to patients at Pittsburgh Children's Hospital May 31 for its spring mission project.
A Jared Box is a shoebox-size plastic storage box filled with small gifts, toys, cards and games. Each box contains items selected for a specific age and gender. The boxes provide a diversion for young patients as they receive chemotherapy and other medical treatments.
According to thejared
box.com, the project was started in 2001 by the children at Our Lady of Victory School in State College to honor their classmate and friend, Jared. He was battling cancer at the time.
"The goal of the Jared Box Project is to lift the spirits of chronically ill children. The boxes symbolize the importance of play and are filled with well wishes, hope, and love," the website states.
The idea caught on and groups continue to deliver the boxes to hospitals where they are given to chronically ill children
Two boxes from the Providence Presbyterian Church youth group were created for two local boys, Jack Grassmyer, 2, and Dominick Devecchis, 7.
Jack, 2, of Altoona is the grandson of church member, Barb Grassmyer. He has been diagnosed with Lissencephaly, Miller-Dieker's Syndrome and has received treatment at Children's Hospital numerous times.
His Jared's box was given to his grandmother as he had been discharged from the hospital.
Devecchis of Hollidaysburg is being treated for osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. He was at the hospital at the time.
"Several of the teens in our youth group know him personally and wanted to create a special box for him," said Brigitte Donlan, youth group co-leader. Other co-leaders are Betsy Gallace and Rob Donlan.
The youth group, which consists of students in sixth through 12th grade, made Jared Boxes for patients from infants to teenagers with the items being different in each box.
For the contents, the teens shopped at Walmart using money they raised by holding a spaghetti dinner and a hoagie sale.