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Families Surprised With Christmas Dinners

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JERMYN -- More than 100 families in Lackawanna County received a surprise letter in the mail with a voucher for a free Christmas dinner.  The only thing the families have in common is that someone thinks they may need something to make their holiday brighter.

One thing that does not discriminate, we all need a little help sometimes.  There was a whole lot of "help" piled up in a room at The Wright Center in Jermyn.

The competition to collect canned goods amongst employees at the medical center has a twist.

"We have a lot of patients here that don't have a lot of money, especially for the holidays. And if you think about just Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas dinner you think about all the money that goes into that. We have patients here that can't afford $5 to spend for their medication," said Dr. Seleena Rashid, a physician at The Wright Center.

The employees pooled canned goods and raised the cash for 115 turkeys. The recipients did not need to apply. They only needed a ticket that came in mail unannounced.

"It was a surprise, and it was nice though. It was a very nice surprise. I'm grateful," said Christine Tripp of Olyphant.

Tripp plans to use the food for Christmas dinner.

"Have a nice family get together, since my husband's not doing well," she added.

Each Wright Center employee was given a letter that they could send out to any three families, a patient or just someone in the community who may need a leg up this Christmas.

"It could have been our neighbors, somebody from our churches, somebody in the community, somebody who needed a little spirit uplift for the holidays, so it was no problem nominating. The girls had the papers all in within two days," said employee Gerri McAndrew.

Ryan Seidof got a call, not a letter. He doesn't know which staff member picked him.

"It was great. This is a great thing. It's a great feeling. I mean, it's a really kind-hearted gesture that somebody did," Seidof said.

This is the first year The Wright Center employees have handed out the surprise turkeys. They're certain it will become a holiday tradition.

"II thought it was great. I thought it was a fantastic help and everything for the holidays. It's something definitely I could use," Seidof added.