Clarion Woman Sells Candy Sleighs to Support Homeless Vets in Clarion County
Joan Kriebel (pictured above) makes sleighs out of multiple pieces of candy and sells them to raise funds for Veterans Services in Clarion County. In 2020, she raised $1,000.00 for Community Action’s Supportive Services to Veterans and their Families (SSVF) project, and in December 2022, she donated $1,200.00 raised from candy sleigh sales.
“It’s all about giving,” Joan said. “Christmas is a time of giving, and several years ago I started making these sleds for other purposes and luncheons that we did for another organization. When those luncheons ended, I wondered what can I do with these sleds, because they were just such a cute gift.”
“The veterans are very near and dear to my heart for the service that they provide to keep us free. I switched gears and (now) donate the proceeds to help our homeless veterans in our area. It is touching to be able to say ‘thank you’ in a small way.”
SSVF is a support service for veterans and their families. a program for veterans who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. The program involves intensive case management and housing and attempts to find affordable housing. If they have an eviction notice, the program may be able to help them resolve the eviction notice, or if they have a utility shut off, the program may help to assist in turning the utility back on.
“We help them out with job searching to find employment,” explained Cheryl Craft, Homeless Services Coordinator with the Clarion-Jefferson Community Action. “We do the intake interviews, and there are some eligibility requirements and case management.
“Joan’s contributions are only used for homeless (or at-risk) Clarion County veterans. Her contributions help in different ways. It may be to provide emergency shelters until we can find an affordable apartment for them, or it could go for clothes or shoes needed for a job or a job interview.”
Making the sleighs
Joan and her sister, Jayne Daugherty, sat down one day and first made 200, and they were sold within three days. In 2022, 213 were sold.
“We had our little workshop and glue guns hot and heavy in our hands, ready to make them.”
The sisters have stations for making the candy sleds, putting them in boxes, and then selling them from their cars.
“I met one lady at the post office, and she said she bought sleds last year and wanted to buy some for this year. As long as I can get the supplies, we’ll work at it, and I was able to get them. My biggest concern was Kit Kats, but I was able to get them from a vendor in Shippenville.
“This is my third or fourth year of donating to Community Action.
“Folks are very generous if they don’t want to buy one, they will donate to the project. I think it’ll be an annual event, and I think people now are looking forward to getting them. I know there are some homeless veterans in our area that this helps with whatever needs they may have.”
Joan, 65, is a licensed respiratory therapist and stays busy. She recently took a job going to veteran’s homes to do oxygen follow-ups within a 50-mile radius of Clarion and is a caregiver for an elderly woman.
She is also a volunteer with Wreaths Across America. She supervises five cemeteries in Clarion County, working with Noreen Shirey and Lisa Craig.
“I had an uncle that died in Pearl Harbor. His marker is in Fisher. It’s kind of a tribute to him from me.”
While Joan is proud of her Christmas sleigh project, she appreciates the support.
“It’s the folks that support the project because, without their support, it wouldn’t be possible.”
Cheryl Craft, Homeless Services Coordinator with the Clarion-Jefferson Community Action, can be reached at (Clarion) 814-226-4785, ext. 109, or (Punxsutawney) at 814-938-3302, ext. 215.
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