Hundreds of Chester County families in need receive support from CCIU students – Daily Local

DOWNINGTOWN—The holidays have been a little brighter for Chester County families thanks to students and staff at Chester County Technical College’s (CCIU) three secondary school campuses, Child Development Center and Career (CCDC) and Holiday Hope Chest Program.

The Holiday Hope Chest is a charity event that provides a free day of shopping to residents of Chester County who are in need. The event took place at each of four locations: TCHS Brandywine, TCHS Pennock’s Bridge, TCHS Pickering and the CCDC. Over 550 families benefited from the event and the value of all donated goods and money raised totaled over $50,000.

Throughout December, hundreds of CCIU volunteers volunteered their time setting up the event, assisting customers and wrapping gifts for families. Students made up most of the volunteers and played an important role in fundraising, bringing in donations and working on the event to make sure it ran smoothly and was enjoyable for the participating families. .

“The Holiday Hope Chest began in 2003, at a time of growing unemployment, and was founded by Duane and Patty Knecht and their friends. It was created to provide community members and/or entities with the opportunity to improve the lives of families in need by facilitating the collection and distribution of new and gently used items during the holiday season.In recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has renewed unemployment and financial needs for families of our community and has shown the need for the Holiday Hope Chest program more than ever,” said Brian Hughes, Principal of TCHS Pennock’s Bridge Campus.

Families in need are referred to the Holiday Hope Chest by community organizations and then receive a voucher to shop at the store, which consists of new and gently used items such as clothing, accessories, toys, appliances electronics and books.

Founders Patty Knecht, former Director of CCIU’s Practical Nursing Program, and her husband Duane witnessed the impact of the event on recipients and volunteers. “We see the Holiday Hope Chest program as the community helping the community and we all receive gifts from the event. Families are there to bring a physical gift, but we receive the emotional gift of being able to participate and interact with them. We also love the synergy and great opportunity the event provides for high school students. In fact, they embrace it and there were so many students who commented on how they really enjoyed being a personal shopper and connecting with the family they worked with,” Patty Knecht said.

Patty added, “We would not be able to put on this event without the great support of the Chester County Intermediate Unit and the four buildings, which host the Holiday Hope Chest events.”

The Holiday Hope Chest was held on December 4 at TCHS Pennock’s Bridge and has helped over 200 families. On December 10, CCDC supported approximately 300 families while on December 11, TCHS Brandywine supported approximately 250 families. TCHS Pickering, which held its event on December 18, supported over 100 families.

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