- Upon hearing about Alonzo Wood, a four-year-old boy who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), Vanessa DeGori, owner of The Milanville Store, wanted to help out.
"I felt I was in the perfect position to let people know and ask them to help me help the Wood family," DeGori said. "The idea was to collect monetary
donations along with gifts, and our goal was to fill a tractor with Christmas gifts for Alonzo and his 14-year-old sister Carissa."
And that's just the beginning.
Another Damascus resident, seven-year-old Aaron Hocker, noticed what the store was doing for the Wood family and decided to help out.
"I got a call from his mom telling me that Aaron was making some jewelry and selling it to relatives, teachers and neighbors," said DeGori. "He was trying to make enough money to buy Alonzo the new iPod touch for Christmas."
Aaron recently met his goal and dropped by The Milanville Store to show DeGori the items he bought.
She said that Aaron is continuing to sell the jewelry and raise money.
"I'm at a loss for words," DeGori stated. "The whole community is coming through."
So far, "over $800 in monetary donations alone," have been raised.
"I'm going to be buying gifts for the family as well as gift cards for gas, Walmart, etc," she said. "All of the donations will go to the family in one form or another."
DeGori added that someone dropped off a $100 gas card and PennDOT gave a large tractor that Alonzo can ride on.
"The community is coming together and pitching in," she said.
"Aaron says this is the biggest project of his life," stated his mom, Christi Hocker. "He's very excited about it."
She said that their family wanted to help out and Aaron decided he would make jewelry and sell it.
"He's always been into jewelry making," Hocker said. "He buys pieces for it and also gets stuff from antique places. He cuts them up and makes new jewelry from them."
Aaron is trying to raise enough to get the entire Wood family gifts.
"It's amazing what he's doing," Hocker said. "He's very thoughtful and inspiring. It's great that a child at this age would think of others in that way."
To date, Aaron has raised over $260.
DeGori will also be holding a bake sale at The Dime Bank in Damascus on Dec. 7 starting at 10 a.m.
There are at least 15 people baking for the sale. DeGori says they will be there until the bank closes at 5 p.m.
Page 2 of 2 - "If there is anything left over I'll sell them at the store," she said.
If anyone has any questions they can call (570) 729-8390.