The Leos of Governor Mifflin are strengthening the district, the community and the county by reducing, reusing and recycling.
Governor Mifflin High School now has a large container available for anyone throughout Berks County to use to recycle glossy paper, including magazines and catalogs.
The Leo Club wanted to give back to the community through collaborations with the Shillington Lions Club, and the Ronald McDonald House.
Leo Club Adviser Melissa Azzarello, a teacher at Governor Mifflin, spent time at the Ronald McDonald House when her son stayed at the Children's Hospital. Her son, Nick, was born premature, and spent five months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Hershey Medical Center. For the Azzarello's there is a personal drive behind the fundraising.
'We benefited from [the Ronald McDonald House],' Melissa Azzarello said. 'This is a good opportunity for kids to practice community service and give back.'
Lions Club member Steve Wagner, Shillington was intricate in bringing the recycling container to the area. 'It was an activity for the Leo Club [in Governor Mifflin High School], who are an outstanding group of young people looking to help others,' Wagner said.
The process works through a number of different entities. Once the recycling container is full with magazines, coverless text books, junk mail and catalogs, Consolidated Scrap Resources pick it up to recycle the materials. The revenue from the recycling is donated to the Ronald McDonald House located in Hershey. The Ronald McDonald House is available to families who have a child in treatment at the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital at no cost to the family. They have 35 bedrooms available.
Debra Berry, Marketing and Communications Manager of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Pennsylvania, said the money will be used to pay the facility's utility bills.
'We celebrate 30 years next year and [so far] have served 2,069 families living in Berks County,' Berry said. 'In 2012, 125 families came to the Ronald McDonald House [in Hershey].'
While the recycling program is not something new for Ronald McDonald House fundraisers, the Shillington recycling location is the first in Berks County. Since 2004, when the program began, over 7,500 tons of glossy paper has been recycled, which raised $233,000.
'We get a lot of junk mail -- instead of putting it in landfills, you can recycle it here,' Lions Club District Governor, District 14-P Patricia Kutz, Fleetwood, said. 'It's supporting a good cause.' Kutz said she is glad to see a recycling option in Berks County.
'The funding that comes [from the recycling] goes to the Ronald McDonald House. To me it's a no-brainer.'
Through the project and collaborations, the Lions Club has received amazing support.
'It's been well received in the community,' Wagner said.
'It offers saving on trash, and takes care of the environment,' Melissa Hinkle, Shillington Lions said. 'The Lions Club and Leo Club worked together. The Leos see how they can make a difference. I'm glad we can organize it.'
'It's an easy way to give back,' Shillington Lions Club President Todd Kaley said. 'Recycling is good for the environment and [the container] is centrally located at the school.'
A ribbon cutting was held on Tuesday, Nov. 19, where representatives of the school, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Pennsylvania, Governor Mifflin Leo Club, Lions Club and community were present to invite the community to recycle.
To find out more on how you can help, visit rmhc-centralpa.org.