Students Help Needy Families, Build Trust with Police

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LEHMAN TOWNSHIP -- Students in Luzerne County are helping needy families for the holidays, and at the same time, also hoping to help police.

It's taken weeks to gather all the goodies and now Penn State Wilkes-Barre students are sorting through and organizing Christmas care packages for 23 needy families in Luzerne County.

"We have DVDs, coloring books, more DVDs, and crayons," said junior Matthew Caines.

The students from the university's Students for Justice Club not only have a box filled with toys for each family, but each box also has food in it. The children get a Christmas present and then can sit around a table with their family and enjoy a Christmas meal.

"We all want to help out," said senior Jesse Ragugini.  "That is why we are in this field. Whether we are going in as police officers, lawyers, researchers, we all want to help out."

The care packages strive to help needy families and help with police perception.

The students requested that officers from all over the county hand-deliver each care package to families from Dallas to Hazleton.

"A lot of what you see of police today is a little bit, a lot of negativity," said senior Daniel Deleo. "So we want to show that the Penn State Students for Justice Club and the police, we are giving back."

The care packages are going to families of recovering addicts, whose children don't always have the best memories of when police have come around. So, hopefully, having officers deliver these care packages during the holidays changes that.

Wilkes-Barre Police Officer Alan Gribble is one of the officers who jumped at the request, honored that the students cared to help their community and their local police departments.

"It's a very welcomed change from the normal reason I would show up to somebody's house," said Officer Gribble. "If we can do something like this and little more positive light to show that we are human also, it's a good thing."

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