The King’s College baseball team collected blankets to distribute to local nursing homes, assisted living facilities, retirement communities, and hospitals as part of their annual “Operation Stay Warm” service project. The team collected donations of new or gently used blankets at the main desk of the Scandlon Gymnasium through November 14.  The project aimed to help seniors stay warm during the cold winter months.

In an area where, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 16.2% of the population is comprised of senior citizens, this project is especially important.

Team captain John Wickiser explained that this donation drive “is for elders who may not have a family to buy them blankets or for those who cannot afford them.”

The baseball team has been participating in “Operation Stay Warm” for a number of years.  Both Wickiser and co-captain Christian Pack stated that the project has been going on as long as they have been at King’s.

According to Wickiser, Coach Gerald  Greeley chose the annual project “because it is a great way help seniors.”

Pack also added that this particular project is very important to the team.

“It is an extremely caring thing to do, and to give back to the community. It displays that playing collegiate baseball isn’t our main priority,” Pack said.

The King’s baseball team is no stranger to service.  Last year the team won the Leo Legacy Team Award for combined success in competition, academics, and community service.

Although “Operation Stay Warm” ended as the semester drew to a close, both captains look forward to the spring semester in which the team plans to continue their annual work with the national program, the Jared Box Project.  This project involves creating “Jared boxes” which are, according to the project’s mission statement, “plastic storage box[es] filled with small gifts, toys, games, and fun activities… that provide a special diversion for young patients in emergency rooms, patient rooms, surgical centers, and clinics as they receive chemotherapy and other medical treatments.”

Last year the baseball team was featured on two local news stations for donating a record-breaking 1,957 boxes to chronically ill children at the local Geisinger hospitals.  As of 2017, the baseball team has delivered over 10,000 boxes to local children in the past eight years and hopes to continue to give back to the community through this project.

Overall, the baseball team recognizes that service is part of the foundation of King’s College.  To the baseball team, these projects are more than just service.

“We [the team] enjoy involving ourselves with the community and being a key aspect for other people’s happiness,” Pack said.

“The team is extremely thankful to be able to give back to the community and we find it rewarding to be able to help others in need,” Wickiser noted.