Helping the Helpless


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It does its important work quietly; you may not even know it exists. But it can use a helping hand.

The Children’s Advocacy Center of Northeastern Pennsylvania, based in Scranton, is a private, non-profit, charitable organization whose mission is assessment and treatment of child abuse and neglect. It is the designated child abuse center for Lackawanna County, and also provides forensic medical assessments and forensic interviews for cases referred from Luzerne, Monroe, Wayne, Carbon, Susquehanna, Pike and Wyoming counties.

This week, officials at the center are celebrating their 15th year of helping children in need.

The center is the first stop for children before entering the justice system. In the safety of a calming environment, full of toys and childhood comforts, they can speak of the unimaginable. They can provide medical treatment, counseling, court services and mental health services.

In 2012, the center provided services to 1,107 children, of which 84 percent were sexual abuse cases, 11 percent were physical abuse and the remainder were both or serious neglect. The center has helped more than 8,000 children and adolescents since opening its doors in 1998.

As is the case with so many charities in our region, the center constantly needs donations of supplies, in this case clothing, toiletries and more.

One group answering the call is the combined Social Concerns Committee of Holy Cross Parish in Olyphant and Blessed Sacrament Parish in Throop.

“The Social Concerns Committee invites you to join us in support of these children,” the group said in a statement. “When it comes to making a difference in improving children’s lives, there is a place for everyone to contribute. Child care and protection is a community responsibility.”

Residents can donated items individually, or they can buy a backpack, sling bag, duffle bag, messenger bag or a tote bag and fill it. The items can be dropped off in the vestibule of Blessed Sacrament, 215 Rebecca St. in Throop and Holy Cross, 200 Delaware Ave. in Olyphant, through Sunday, Sept. 29.

Items needed for young children include new (not used) clothing, including shirts, sweatshirts, T-shirts, pants, shorts, dresses, socks, underwear, pajamas, coats/jackets, children’s shoes and hats.

There is a greater need for boys clothing and larger sizes.

The little kids also need stuffed animals, children’s books, stickers, small toys, puzzles, activity and coloring books, art supplies (markers, crayons and construction paper; no scissors) and school supplies (pens, pencils and tablets).

While any items are appreciated, there is a large need for items for teen age boys and girls who may be aging out of the foster care system.

Some of the items they need are new clothing in all sizes, including sweatshirts, T-shirts, pants, socks, sleepwear and personal hygiene products, including deodorant, toothbrushes/toothpaste, combs/brushes, hair ties/ribbons, shampoo/conditioner/hair products, skin care products (cleansers, toners, moisturizers, acne products), grooming kits (clippers and trimmers; no razors) cosmetic bags, toiletry bags, soap/body wash/lotions, small packets of tissue and hand sanitizing wipes.

Other items needed include gift cards to local pharmacies, grocery or department stores, light blankets, sleeping bags and first aid kits.

The kids love snack items, including bottled water, juice boxes and individually packaged non-perishable snacks (goldfish, pretzels and animal crackers, for example).

To make a donation or for more information call 489-0752 or 489-1963.

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