Kutztown junior’s collection drive benefits Safe Berks
Hoodies to help keep clients warm, bring smiles to their faces
Kutztown Area High School junior Rachel Rabenold, 16, collected 82 new and gently used hoodies for residents and clients of Safe Berks. She partnered with ARCpoint Labs, which organized Hoodies for the Holidays for Safe Berks.
“These hoodies will help keep our clients warm and will also bring smiles to their faces,” said Francine M. Scoboria, communications coordinator at Safe Berks. “Hoodies are a very popular and requested item, and can be worn throughout most of the year.”
Scoboria said hoodies are popular with children, teens and women. Some clients arrive at Safe Berks with only the clothes they are wearing, so a nice hoodie is very appreciated, she said.
“I am thrilled by the number of hoodies Rachel collected, both at Kutztown High School, and throughout the Kutztown community. For a high school student to take the time and effort to make this happen, that really means a lot to everyone at Safe Berks,” said Scoboria.
She noted that the Hoodies for the Holidays donation drive was founded by Annmarie and Al Dallao, owners of ARCpoint Labs, Reading, who have been collecting items for Safe Berks since 2016.
“The Dallaos already collected and donated more than 100 hoodies for Safe Berks. We are incredibly grateful for their support and positive energy!”
Scoboria said Rabenold met Annmarie at an event held by the Northeast Berks Chamber of Commerce.
“I think this is a great example of how positive things happen at Chamber meetings, and other networking events. When people meet other people, and communicate about projects and how to help the community, exciting and positive things happen,” said Scoboria.
Rabenold’s community service project began in November, after hearing Annmarie talk about Hoodies for the Holidays during a Northeast Berks Chamber breakfast, at which Rabenold was one of five high school students being recognized by the Chamber.
“Safe Berks provides a safe haven and an ongoing support system for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. We accepted new and/or gently used hoodies in all sizes for children, teens and women in hopes to bring warmth and comfort to those in need. Some of these people left their homes with only the clothing on their backs. It is so nice that they we could provide something comfortable for them to wear and keep for themselves,” said Dallao. “I was very impressed that Rachel approached me after the breakfast to see if she could adopt our project for her school. She asked for my business card and said she would follow-up with more information on her drive.”
Rabenold created posters and decorated donation boxes at school, and she also promoted the donation drive in the community.
“I haven’t experienced the situations that the people Safe Berks are going through but I’ve always wanted to help,” said Rabenold, who hopes to go into international business and marketing after graduating from college. “I tried to get as many sweatshirts as possible.”
She collected 82 sweatshirts to add to Dallao’s collection of about 100.
“I was overwhelmed how well Rachel’s collection went,” said Dallao. “She did an awesome job coordinating her hoodie drive.”
“I learned that it feels really good to help those who need it because although they’re just sweatshirts, it’s going to make them feel a lot more comfortable,” said Rabenold. “I really want to stand up and make a difference.”
Rabenold hopes this helps other see that helping each other is nice and it can really make a difference in the lives of others. She is also involved in Kutztown Strong, Leo Club, dances at Rhythm in Motion and is a member of the high school soccer team, Rifle team and track team, as well as a swimmer on the Kutztown Pool Swim Team.
Rabenold is glad she reached out to Dallao.
“This is a really good thing that she’s doing and I’m glad that I was part of it because it really made me feel good about helping Safe Berks,” said Rabenold.
“Everyone at Safe Berks is very grateful for the efforts of Annmarie Dallao and Rachel Rabenold, and to everyone who donated hoodies to Safe Berks,” said Mary Kay Bernosky, CEO of Safe Berks in a release. “The generosity of the community helps us continue our mission of serving survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.”
The Hoodies for the Holidays collection at ARCpoint Labs runs through Saint Patty’s Day, at which time Dallao will pick a spring theme. ARCpoint Labs serves as a drop off spot for Safe Berks donations throughout the year. Donations can be dropped off at ARCpoint Labs of Reading, 2208 Quarry Drive, Suite 207, Reading.
Safe Berks, formerly Berks Women in Crisis, was founded in 1976. Services, which are free and confidential, include a Safe House for adults and children who are in danger, a 24-hour Hotline, individual and group counseling, legal services and advocacy, and educational programs. Last year, Safe Berks served about 4,000 survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. An estimated 800 people stayed in the Safe House last year, including about 400 children, according to a Safe Berks release.
Kutztown Area High School junior Rachel Rabenold collected 82 new and gently used hoodies for residents and clients of Safe Berks. She partnered with ARCpoint Labs, which organized Hoodies for the Holidays for Safe Berks.
The Hoodies for the Holidays collection for Safe Berks runs through Saint Patty’s Day. Pictured is the first group of donated hooded sweatshirts sent to Safe Berks by ARCpoint Labs.