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Giving Tree Project keeps warming hands, hearts in Tamaqua

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    Tammy Sienkiewicz of Safer Streets for Tamaqua’s Little Feet replenishes winter clothing items on the “Giving Tree” at Depot Square Park. The individual plastic bags contain scarves, gloves, mittens, hats and slippers for anyone in need during the cold winter months. Volunteers will continue adding items to the tree, thanks to the generosity of the public, through the end of February. KATHY KUNKEL/TIMES NEWS

Published January 12. 2019 07:21AM


It’s year three for the Giving Tree Project in Tamaqua and the need is still great, according to Tammy Sienkiewicz of Safer Streets for Tamaqua’s Little Feet.

Since early December, Sienkiewicz and other volunteers have been placing approximately three dozen cold weather items every three days on an evergreen tree at Depot Square Park in the center of town.

“They are for anyone who needs them. We don’t ask questions,” she says.

The items are donations from the community, with collection boxes at the Tamaqua Salvation Army Community Center, Hope and Coffee bistro, the LCCC Morgan Campus and the office of Dr. Joanne Calabrese.

They include hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, socks and even slippers. Donated coats are too heavy to hang on the tree, so they are kept at the Salvation Army.

Each item is placed in a watertight plastic bag, with the contents clearly marked, before being placed on the tree.

“Safer Streets volunteers, including some recovering addicts, have really taken this project to heart,” Sienkiewicz says.

Created in 2016 by Tammy and her husband, John, after the overdose death of their daughter, Safer Streets is a volunteer, nonprofit group dedicating to fighting addiction, one step at a time.

The group’s main focus is on education.

“Education is key to stopping this epidemic,” John Sienkiewicz says. “By that, we mean adults, parents and children need to be educated on all aspects of addiction — what happens if you start, where it leads and what the end result will most likely be.”

They also offer support and hope to those whose lives have been forever changed by addiction. The “Giving Tree” is just one of the group’s many projects.

For more information, visit the group’s Facebook or Web page at


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