The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

December 16, 2012

Person of the Week: A season for giving: Helping the needy at Christmas is teen’s goal

JOHNSTOWN — Last year during the Christmas season, Shawn Gindlesberger oversaw the delivery of two carloads of donations to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Now, at 16, the Richland High School sophomore is just finishing this year’s drive and he’s hoping to top his previous collection.

“He’s on track to meet his goals,” his mother, Jeanne Gindlesberger, said.

He came upon the idea while searching for a service project to do as part of his confirmation process at St. Benedict Roman Catholic Church in Geistown.

“Me and my mom were thinking of an idea, and she came up with this, and I immediately started working on it,” the Johnstown teen said. “I wanted to do something that would help people. I wanted something that would be long term.”

Gindlesberger made fliers and passed them out to his family, friends and his Johns-town neighbors.

“I asked for anything that would make the less fortunate have a better Christmas,” he said.

Donations have included gifts for children and adults, cleaning supplies, groceries and personal items as well as monetary donations.

A neighbor, Mary Driggs, said she was impressed with Gindlesberger’s efforts.

“I can’t even tell you how many people he contacts,” she said. “He does it all on his own.

“In today’s world, so many young people are involved

in themselves and their activities.”

Sister Cindy Burns, CCW, director of high school religious education and confirmation preparation at the church, called Gindlesberger a really good kid.

“Shawn has done a wonderful job putting this whole thing together on his own,” she said.

“This turned out to be an absolutely wonderful project.”

Burns said she is pleased that he is doing the project again this year.

“It tells me that he is really embracing the meaning of service,” she said. “Not to do just the minimum, but to do it in its fullness.”

Jeanne Gindlesberger said she and her husband, Denny, are very proud of their son.

“He really put a lot into it,” she said. “He’s very kindhearted.”

For his efforts to help the less fortunate at this time of the year, Shawn Gindlesberger is our Person of the Week.

The teen is not sure that his efforts will be over when the last load is delivered to St. Vincent de Paul.

“I would love to do this every year,” he said.

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