Donation Bells Ring in Lycoming Mall

MUNCY TOWNSHIP -- Our online shopping habits could be affecting more than just stores this time of year.

Newswatch 16 spoke with a few bell ringers hoping to collect donations from shoppers at the Lycoming Mall near Muncy.

You'd expect to see shoppers around the mall carrying bags filled with gifts, but when we caught up with Tony Perotta from the Salvation Army, he was carrying a red kettle. Year after year, volunteers with the Salvation Army collect money.

"They always say nickels, dimes, quarters, dollars. It doesn't really matter. All is very much appreciated as we raise money through the Christmas season and throughout the year," Perrotta said.

With two anchor stores gone and Sears closing after the new year, the mall has fewer storefronts open this holiday season. Perrotta says it hasn't affected donations.

"I'm surprised at how busy it was. Saturday was one of best days at the mall," Perrotta said. "The weekends it's a little busier, but on the weekdays it's pretty slow."

On the other side of the mall, Joseph Reifsnyder set up camp next to an American Rescue Workers chimney. Reifsnyder says he would stand, but he has multiple sclerosis. He volunteered with the nonprofit last year, too.

"This year seems to be a little slow in the mall because of the store closing," Reifsnyder said.

"We had some concerns about being here at the mall, but I'm presently surprised again with the generosity," said Mike Kane, American Rescue Workers.

American Rescue Workers relies on money and toy donations from the community, especially this time of the year.

In the next few weeks, the group will hand out hundreds of meals and thousands of presents for the holiday.

"We give toys to over 1,100 children. It's a huge operation. It brings a lot of Christmas joy to a lot of families who otherwise would not have it," Kane added.

Both nonprofits will be at the mall most days collecting donations until the end of the month.