SCRANTON — Boscov’s is teaming with the Gino J. Merli Veterans’ Center and area high school students to raise money to make life better for veterans.
Boscov’s Scranton store, located inside the Marketplace at Steamtown, will host an event 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, May 24, to raise money for the resident welfare fund at the veterans center.
Kathleen Ambrose, deputy commandant with the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, said the money in the fund goes toward social activities for residents of the center, such as baseball games, fishing and bowling events, cookouts and providing shirts and T-shirts for veterans for parades and Armed Forces Day.
“It makes the lives of our veterans so much better,” Ambrose said.
Irene Kelly, regional public relations manager for Boscov’s, said the department-store chain works with the Gino Merli Center around Christmas. But someone approached her about doing a fundraiser for the welfare fund at the center.
“I thought ‘Wouldn’t it be great to do a fundraiser for the Gino Merli Center?’” Kelly said.
“And maybe not just this year, maybe every year.”
Kelly said Scranton Prep’s Veterans Outreach Club has helped with organizing the event, including making flyers.
“These young men have done so much,” Kelly said.
Michael Kaffka said he and one of his friends, Ben Worrell, started the Veterans Outreach Club this past fall after wanting to start a club to support local veterans. Worrell said Prep supports students in service, but there was a need to start something specifically for veterans.
“We wanted to go the extra mile,” Worrell said.
Ambrose said it was “heart-warming” to see the generosity of those supporting the fundraiser. She said the center houses veterans from across the state, and is open to veterans and their spouses. The center has 196 beds and currently has open space. The hope is it can reach more veterans who might qualify to move there.
The fundraiser will feature a Chinese auction, bake sale, and food sale. Some center residents will also be attending to meet members of the community and share their stories. Anyone interested in donating can contact Scranton Prep’s Veterans Outreach Club at 570-209-6705.
Reach Brigid Edmunds at 570-991-6113 or on Twitter @brigidedmunds