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A Very Megan Christmas

By Staff | Dec 12, 2008

If you could look up “cheerful giver” in the dictionary, you would probably find a picture of Meg Murray. For a decade, the lively 25-year-old Hughesville resident has been dedicated to anonymously spreading Christmas joy to area children through her charity “Meg’s Box.”

Murray’s experience with her eighth grade homeroom’s service project spurred her on to find her own way of spreading goodwill to others.

“That January, I came up with the idea of collecting (Christmas gifts) year-round,” Murray says. The first year, she kept the project personal, using her own allowance money to buy gifts. Accumulated items were placed in a plastic bin in her closet; when Christmas time rolled around, the 36 presents piled in that original “Meg’s Box” were donated to the YWCA’s Wise Options shelter.

In the nine years that followed, the project grew exponentially. “It’s become a community project now. It’s not just me,” Murray says. “It’s the whole community.”

This year, Murray’s fundraisers included a yard sale, bike raffle at the Ashkar Elementary Spring Fling, and dress-down days at Ashkar and the Hughesville High School. Muncy and Hughesville’s Beta Sigma Phi sorority donated wrapping paper and tape. Adelyn’s, a Williamsport gift shop, donated dolls. Monetary gifts were given by Appalachian Rehabilitation and the Sunday school classes of Picture Rocks United Methodist Church–whose penny drive netted $95 for the charity.

Murray said that about 20 other individuals gave gifts of money, clothing, or toys. All of the money that is received by Meg’s Box is used to buy items to be given to needy children at Christmas.

Murray always sets some of her own money aside each year so that she can take advantage of the after-Christmas sales and begin to prepare for the next December. Although she says she likes “everything about the program,” some of her favorite times are spent with family and friends “wrapping the gifts the first Friday in December, and then delivering them.”

“We have dolls, Hot Wheels sets, sleeping bags, clothing to age 18, backpacks full of stuff, lots of Barbies, stuffed animals, games, basketballs, footballs, and about thirty coats,” Murray said, giving an abbreviated list of this year’s gifts. “The toys and clothes are labeled for boys or girls and the age.”

A team of 16 friends and relatives–Meg’s own Christmas elves–gathered to wrap the gifts last Friday evening at 7 p.m. By the time the last toys were wrapped and loaded into several vehicles, it was midnight.

On the morning of Dec. 6, about 300 of the 544 presents collected in 2008 were dropped off at Muncy’s Son-Light House. The remainder will be donated to the YWCA’s Wise Options shelter in Williamsport.

Murray looks forward to attending the annual community Christmas party at the YWCA. From the back of the room, she is able to observe children unknowingly unwrapping the gifts she has donated. “It’s neat because they bring things and show them to you,” Murray says with a big smile.

Her mother, Sue, points out that Meg’s personal experience of living with cerebral palsy has contributed to her compassionate nature and generous spirit.

“She understands those who can’t do everything or don’t have everything,” she says of her daughter.

When she graduates from Penn College next spring with a degree in human services, Meg plans to work with children. Meanwhile, she will continue collecting–and spreading–the joy of Christmas wherever she may go.

A Very Megan Christmas

By Staff | Dec 12, 2008

If you could look up “cheerful giver” in the dictionary, you would probably find a picture of Meg Murray. For a decade, the lively 25-year-old Hughesville resident has been dedicated to anonymously spreading Christmas joy to area children through her charity “Meg’s Box.” Murray’s experience with her eighth grade homeroom’s service project spurred her on to find her own way of spreading goodwill to others. “That January, I came up with the idea of collecting (Christmas gifts) year-round,” Murray says. The first year, she kept the project personal, using her own allowance money to buy gifts. Accumulated items were placed in a plastic bin in her closet; when Christmas time rolled around, the 36 presents piled in that original “Meg’s Box” were donated to the YWCA’s Wise Options shelter. In the nine years that followed, the project grew exponentially. “It’s become a community project now. It’s not just me,” Murray says. “It’s the whole community.” This year, Murray’s fundraisers included a yard sale, bike raffle at the Ashkar Elementary Spring Fling, and dress-down days at Ashkar and the Hughesville High School. Muncy and Hughesville’s Beta Sigma Phi sorority donated wrapping paper and tape. Adelyn’s, a Williamsport gift shop, donated dolls. Monetary gifts were given by Appalachian Rehabilitation and the Sunday school classes of Picture Rocks United Methodist Church–whose penny drive netted $95 for the charity. Murray said that about 20 other individuals gave gifts of money, clothing, or toys. All of the money that is received by Meg’s Box is used to buy items to be given to needy children at Christmas. Murray always sets some of her own money aside each year so that she can take advantage of the after-Christmas sales and begin to prepare for the next December. Although she says she likes “everything about the program,” some of her favorite times are spent with family and friends “wrapping the gifts the first Friday in December, and then delivering them.” “We have dolls, Hot Wheels sets, sleeping bags, clothing to age 18, backpacks full of stuff, lots of Barbies, stuffed animals, games, basketballs, footballs, and about thirty coats,” Murray said, giving an abbreviated list of this year’s gifts. “The toys and clothes are labeled for boys or girls and the age.” A team of 16 friends and relatives–Meg’s own Christmas elves–gathered to wrap the gifts last Friday evening at 7 p.m. By the time the last toys were wrapped and loaded into several vehicles, it was midnight. On the morning of Dec. 6, about 300 of the 544 presents collected in 2008 were dropped off at Muncy’s Son-Light House. The remainder will be donated to the YWCA’s Wise Options shelter in Williamsport. Murray looks forward to attending the annual community Christmas party at the YWCA. From the back of the room, she is able to observe children unknowingly unwrapping the gifts she has donated. “It’s neat because they bring things and show them to you,” Murray says with a big smile. Her mother, Sue, points out that Meg’s personal experience of living with cerebral palsy has contributed to her compassionate nature and generous spirit. “She understands those who can’t do everything or don’t have everything,” she says of her daughter. When she graduates from Penn College next spring with a degree in human services, Meg plans to work with children. Meanwhile, she will continue collecting–and spreading–the joy of Christmas wherever she may go.