The Jared Box project was started in 2001 by the children at Our Lady of Victory School in State College, Pennsylvania to honor their classmate and friend, Jared. He was a brave little boy who battled cancer with courage and faith.
Jared was diagnosed with an incurable brainstem tumor in 1999. At just 5 years old, he demonstrated faith, wisdom and compassion for others. Jared maintained his sense of humor and the joys of childhood through play. 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. Jared's battle ended on November 12, 2000 while listening to his favorite song, "You'll Be In My Heart."
Jared's Mom, Ruth, explains that a Jared Box is the gift of play to children in the hospital. "Play is important, and a life threatening illness shouldn't interfere with the need to play," she said.
Every year, teacher Amber Weaver-Panetta, organizes a service project during Catholic Week at Our Lady of Victory Catholic School in State College, PA. Amber is a Boone County native and attended Scott High School.
"I wanted to give back to my hometown hospital," said Panetta. "My classes; Monkey (2 years), Penguin (3 years), Polar Bear (3 years) and Frog (4 years) made the boxes," she explained.
A Jared Box is a plastic shoe-sized storage box filled with small gifts, toys, games, crayons, coloring books, and fun activities. Each box contains items selected for a specific age and gender. The boxes are given to children in the hospital to provide a special, fun diversion.
"Amber has graciously delivered Jared Boxes to Boone Memorial the past few years," said Public Relations and Marketing Director, Karlie Belle Price. "We divide the boxes evenly among our Emergency Room, Inpatient Floor, Family Medical Center and BMH Medical Clinic. Kids and parents alike are so thankful to receive these boxes."
According to Jared Box founders, the boxes symbolize the importance of play and are filled with well wishes, hope and love. The boxes calm nerves, lift spirits and bring smiles and laughter to children in the hospital.
"We would love for local grade schools to start making boxes as well. They go quickly," said Price.
To learn more about The Jared Box Project visit:
To coordinate future donations to Boone Memorial Hospital, contact Karlie Belle Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-369-1230 Ext. 5506.