From the Jared Box Project
For over 20 years The Jared Box Project has delivered smiles, laughter, and hope to children in hospitals across the country. Now, we are honored and thrilled to announce that one million Jared Boxes have been made! Jared Boxes have been made in all 50 states and given to children in more than 500 hospitals.
The Jared Box Project is a nonprofit organization that aims to bring joy and smiles to children in hospitals across the country. Jared Boxes are plastic shoe boxes filled with small gifts, toys, cards, games, and other fun activities. These boxes are made by local community groups and given to children in emergency rooms, hospital rooms, surgical centers, and clinics. Although The Jared Box Project has reached its millionth milestone, the joy that these special boxes bring to children and their families is immeasurable.
The project was started in 2001 by the children of Our Lady of Victory School in State College, Pennsylvania, to honor their classmate, Jared, who battled cancer with courage and faith. Jared was diagnosed with an incurable brainstem tumor in 1999. He carried a backpack full of toys and games to all appointments and questioned why the other children didn’t bring toys to their exam rooms. Jared shared his toys and invited the other children to join him in a game of UNO. At just 5 years old, he demonstrated faith, wisdom, and compassion for others.
After Jared passed away, his classmates decided to honor him by creating Jared Boxes. The school children made 81 Jared Boxes for the children at Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital in Danville, Pennsylvania. Soon after that, other community groups started making Jared Boxes. They picked up where Jared left off and shared toys with children in the hospital. This wave of kindness quickly took off and spread across the country.
The Jared Box organization connects hospitals throughout the country with local community groups (Scouts, Kiwanis, Rotary, schools, churches, universities, businesses, and other civic groups) to make the boxes in each area. Thousands of groups have made Jared boxes for hospitals in their own communities.
“Just imagine, 1 million smiles, all inspired by the kindness of one little boy. It truly is such a beautiful story that showcases the kindness of others,” explained Cindy Kolarik, executive director of The Jared Box Project. “We felt it was important to commemorate this extraordinary milestone with a celebration! While thousands of volunteers from across the country played a part in this joyous achievement and Jared Box is nationally recognized, we felt it was important to revisit where it all began—at Jared’s elementary school.”
The One Million Smiles Celebration will be held on Sunday, August 6, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Our Lady of Victory School Gym, 800 Westerly Parkway, State College, Pennsylvania. The event will be open to the public and admission is free. Many fun activities are planned, and attendees will have the opportunity to make Jared Boxes on site.
“We are expecting a huge turnout, as the Jared Box Project is a beloved community service project here in Happy Valley,” Kolarik added. “We hope that you can join us as we celebrate Jared’s legacy.”
The Jared Box Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. To learn more, visit www.thejaredbox.org.