12 days collage 2

~shared by J. Ranner

Whenever you might feel alone in the world, remember these words:

“Play a little part in something BIG.”

Whether we realize it or not, the cogs of the world and life are ALWAYS turning and the smallest things that we do- no matter how miniscule they may initially seem, can go on to impact the world in ways we never could have imagined.

Over the past month or so, I’ve had the pleasure of coordinating and participating in Woodloch’s inaugural “12 Days of Giving” initiative.  And truth be told, it was personally one of the most rewarding holidays I’ve ever celebrated.

But that’s getting ahead of myself.

The 12 Days of Giving program’s objectives spanned from icredibly simple to rather challenging- but all brought some form of joy into lives of recipients and givers alike.  I feel that they can be broken down into three different but equally important categories:

  • “The Greater Good” – together everyone achieves more.
  • “The Kindness of Strangers” – pay it forward…
  • “What Woodloch Does Best”– using our personal strengths to bring cheer!


1. Woodloch’s Hunger Relief Record Attempt – On November 23rd, 2013, guests, staff, friends and other volunteers assembled in our Heritage Night Club and rewrote history.  With the help of our friends at Pocono Pro Foods, we collectively assembled 656 hunger relief packages in one minute and 18 seconds, setting a world record. After celebration, volunteers from Woodloch and the Pike County United Way distributed all of the packages to chuches, rescue missions and food banks in the local area. 


2. Supermarket Tailgate Food Collection – Along the same lines of our world record, this objective brought together two of the basic cornerstones that have made Woodloch guests happy since 1958: “eatin’ & competin’.”  With the help of Gerrity’s local grocery stores, the Woodloch gang braved the cold December winds to have a “parking lot party”- grilled food, live music, games and giveaways drew crowds to donate canned and non-perishable goods.  After a great afternoon, donations were immediately dropped off at The Scranton Rescue Mission to provide those in need with a holiday feast.


3. Adopt-a-FamilyThey’re the first cheery staff members you’ll typically meet when visiting, so it’s no suprise that the ecclectic family at our Front Desk spent a good deal of time and resources to adopting not one but TWO local families in need this season.  Together, they collected what they could- toys, clothing, and food items to be directly handed to local families in need.  


4. Operation Christmas Child – in conjunction with local churches, Woodloch started their own drive for “Operation Christmas Child” shoeboxes.  Basically, shoeboxes are filled with essential items for children – including soap, socks, toothbrushes, shirts, paper and writing utensils – as well as toys.  The boxes are then shipped to children around the world in need and distributed.  It’s a fun way to help a child that has almost nothing to his or her name. After weeks of strong efforts, Woodloch pooled 31 boxes together and sent them away. “Every box means a child didnt have to go without a Christmas present,” says Tammy Compton of Woodloch Reservations. “Every box lets a child in a third world country know that they are loved.”


Here’s PART 2 of our 12 Days of Giving!


Woodloch’s Hunger Games: Breaking a Guinness World Record from Endless Echo on Vimeo.