PLAINS TOWNSHIP -- Workers at the VA Medical Center near Wilkes-Barre were sorting through bags and bags of gifts, including winter hats, toothbrushes, crossword puzzles and more. All of it was donated for its homeless veterans program by Jonathan Harpster of Milton.
“They fought for our country, they could have died while they were fighting for their country, but they took their whole life to make sure this country is still free after it all,” said the seventh-grader.
Officials with VA Medical Center say the items will go to help the roughly 70 homeless veterans in northeastern Pennsylvania.
“It's a pretty unique circumstance that a 13 year old would have awareness of such a significant problem,” said Crystal Arcarese, a coordinator with Healthcare for Homeless Veterans.
Jonathan asked students from his school, Meadowbrook Christian in Northumberland County, to donate to the cause. He was inspired to take action after learning about homeless veterans from his grandfather who served in the military during Vietnam.
“I thought it was good because you don't see young kids like that who do things for the veterans, so it makes a big difference,” said his grandfather, James Allen.
Jonathan also hopes his actions inspire others to do the same and lend a helping hand to those in need.
“It's going to be cold and stuff and they might not have coats and might get cold and stuff,” he said.
“It goes a long way for people who have nothing, I mean, veterans, I mean they got nothing,” added his grandfather.
Now, Jonathan plans to collect donations for homeless veterans every year.