‘Leaf It To Us,’ says new student group

Matthew Gromala , Reporter

A group of volunteers is taking over fall chores for Back Mountain residents who need a hand.

The “Leaf it to Us” program is run by Open Hearts, Open Eyes, a university affiliated group  whose aim is to provide relief, support and encouragement to those residents of NEPA affected by severe weather, natural disasters and other local crises.
The group visited ill, disabled or elderly residents  Nov. 8 to help  rake properties of leaves.
OHOE is accepting donations, which volunteers will immediately use to fund other services and prepare for natural disasters.
“We could use the money we’ve collected to rent a wood chipper, to ease the cleanup of fallen branches in the community or, say, another flood occurs. We’d use our funds to stockpile on necessities, like blankets and water, to ensure that we are prepared to respond to our community in need,” said Casey Saylor, sophomore social work major.
Another goal of the group is to  promote projects of any partnering campus organization. Campus groups can work with OHOE to plan projects, and OHOE can be “a centralized hub” for service on campus.
OHOE has 25 members and students are always welcome to lend a helping hand.  Saylor said becoming an OHOE member or ambassador for an existing club or organization is as easy as checking  email.

The OHOE brochure helps spread the word by explain the simplicity of joining or partnering with the group.

“Currently, there are over 3,000 students enrolled at Misericordia University,” it says. “If only 10% of students joined OHOE and only 10% of our members were available to help at any given service project, that means we could provide a solid workforce of 30 volunteers with minimal participation!”

The group also will assist other campus clubs or organizations with their projects. “Please, use us as a resource!” the literature says. OHOE assists in coordinating service, which is important because it can direct clubs and organizations to underserved non-profit organizations in the region.

“Come winter we plan on identifying the elderly and disabled of the local Back Mountain community and making it a priority to shovel their walks and driveways , much like we are in ‘Leaf it to Us,’” said Saylor.
Saylor said if the group has extra funds at year’s end, OHOE will donate half of their funds to a local organization members feel would best be served with the money.

“Groups, college and community alike, should not be competing for resources. The real good is done when we come together, and we at OHOE hope to be that catalyst for partnership at Misericordia,” said Saylor.
Open Hearts, Open Minds reminds students on campus, “Don’t assume: Get to know your local community, find the need and meet it.”
Anyone who would like to make a donation, or would like to help out in any way, is encouraged to either call (570) 817-7360, email [email protected] or send any mail to Misericordia University c/o Jeff Passetti, 301 Lake Street, Dallas, Pa. 18612.