CCIU Community Creating Hope for the Holidays with Holiday Hope Chest
Downingtown, PA- Staff at all three Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) Technical College High School (TCHS) campuses, as well as the Child and Career Development Center (CCDC), gave back to the community this holiday season by hosting the Holiday Hope Chest program (HHC). Holiday Hope Chest is a charity event that provides a free day of shopping for Chester County residents in need.
The charity events for Holiday Hope Chest 2022 were held at TCHS Brandywine, TCHS Pennock’s Bridge, and TCHS Pickering campuses, and the CCDC. More than 800 families received a donation from the event and the value of all goods and money that was raised totaled over $55,000. During the month of December, nearly 300 CCIU volunteers devoted their time to wrap gifts for the families, set up the events and assist the shoppers.
Families in need are referred to the Holiday Hope Chest by community organizations and are then given a voucher to shop at the store, which consists of new and gently used clothing, accessories, toys, electronics and books.
Patty Knecht, former director of the CCIU’s Practical Nursing Program, and her husband Duane are the founders of HHC and have seen how their event has impacted both recipients and volunteers. “The Holiday Hope Chest’s motto is community helping community, which was exceedingly evident this year. There was an overwhelming response to donation requests, volunteers and agency participation in the outreach. Everywhere you turned there was a tremendous spirit of camaraderie – from the students who generously helped shoppers, to the Criminal Justice students who helped keep everyone safe, to the Engine Technology instructor who fixed the toy filled truck so it could deliver the toys on time for the event. Kindness prevailed amongst volunteers and shoppers alike,” said Patty Knecht.
Duane added, “The day of the events went very smoothly, and the people shopping were very grateful. We are extremely appreciative of the CCIU's support and cooperation with Holiday Hope Chest.”
According to Dr. Susan Mateka, Principal of the CCDC, “The Holiday Hope Chest is so important because it empowers parents and allows them to pick out their own gifts for their children rather than someone else just handing them donated gifts. My favorite part of the HHC is knowing our students and families will have a happier holiday because they were able to put gifts under their tree.”