Community Giving Trees help seniors in need


Ms. Vaughn and Assistant Chief of Police Nathan Curry

Kendyhl Luzier, Staff writer

This year the Clearfield Borough Police Department and the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging have partnered together to create Giving Trees for our community. This has been a project that they have partnered on since 2016 to bring some holiday cheer to the local elderly citizens who may otherwise be alone for the holidays.

I reached out to the CCAAA fundraising and events specialist, Ronda Vaughn for some information about the Giving Trees and she kindly reached out to the Assistant Police Chief Nathan Curry who she has been working alongside with, to provide even more backstory on the Giving Trees.

Asked about how long these two community groups have been partnered together on this project, Assistant Police Chief  Curry provided a short backstory on the origin of the giving trees. He stated, “There was a single incident that brought this event to the forefront of my mind. My partner and I were dispatched one freezing cold winter day to a trailer. We were sent there because one of the neighbors noticed water running from underneath this woman’s trailer. We arrived on scene and discovered that a water pipe had frozen and burst. We made contact with the owner who was found to be an elderly female. The female was dressed in layers as it was very cold and windy that day. We found that her furnace had malfunctioned and was not working. She was very nice and said that she was warm, but we knew that she wasn’t as the temperature inside was around freezing.

“We were able to converse with her while we made contact with some resources that could assist us. She didn’t want to leave her residence as that was her home. She talked about herself and her accomplishments in life. She did not have any family around anymore. I discovered that this poor woman had to make decisions of whether to use the money she had to purchase food, fuel, or use it to have her furnace fixed. These seniors are the ones that built this community, taught our kids in school, patrolled our streets, or nursed the sick back to health. They deserve to be remembered and appreciated. It is our community’s way of saying ‘thank you,’ and that ‘we remember you.”

The purpose of the Giving Trees is to help elderly citizens in the community, many of whom live alone or have no family around, receive essential things and other gifts during the holiday season that they otherwise would not.

How do the Giving Trees work? Ms. Vaughn explained: “Our Care managers will fill out a Consumer Needs form for the Elderly that we service in the area that they feel could benefit from this project. We then print tags for the items that they need or may just want for Christmas and distribute them out to the Giving Trees.” She also explained that these individuals could benefit greatly from a small act of kindness and that the Giving Trees are used as a way to bring them some holiday cheer.

The Giving Trees were located in four places: the Clearfield Pharmacy, CVS in Clearfield, South Side Subs in Curwensville and the CNB Bank had a tree for their employees. The deadline to return gifts to the Giving Tree locations was set as Dec. 10 but Ms. Vaughn explained that they often receive gifts even after that.

COVID-19 effected the project this year, said Ms. Vaughn. “We had to close our Senior Centers because of COVID-19, so it makes it a little more difficult to get the packages delivered, but our team is making sure it gets done. All in all, we have a wonderful community that has been very giving this year. Even through COVID-19, our tags were all taken from the trees and we have had several donations to our Fuel/Utility Fund. We will make sure all of our Seniors wishes get filled”. This is a great example of how our little community never fails to come together to support others, even in the crazy times that we are currently living through.

The Giving Trees are also not the only projects that the Clearfield County Agency on Aging is holding during this holiday season. They also currently have a Tree of Stars Campaign going on and Ms. Vaughn explained that with this campaign you can honor or remember a loved one this holiday season by having their name added to a tree of stars which will be located at their office on Front Street.

The Giving Trees and the Tree of Stars Campaign are just two of the many projects that the Clearfield County Agency on Aging puts together during a year to help support our local elderly citizens. Ms. Vaughn explains that everyone involved is incredibly thankful for our community and its ability to always step up and help those in need. She explains that it is appreciated that the community continues to support their local elderly, especially throughout this pandemic and the holiday season.