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This year, the Favors Forward Foundation stepped up to support 22 families facing life-altering hardships. Photo courtesy of Shoneez Frelin, Executive Director of the Favors Forward Foundation

Thousands of volunteers across Lycoming County work with the Favors Forward Foundation, which aims to help individuals and families who are facing life-altering hardships. With the help of school guidance counselors and social workers throughout Williamsport and Jersey Shore who provided referrals, the group just completed their annual Adopt a Family for the Holiday program.

The Adopt a Family Program works with over 30 businesses as sponsors including Fish Real Estate. Overall, the Foundation sponsored 22 families with the Adopt a Family Program last month. One notable group receiving assistance was the family of Katie McDowell, whose 16-year-old son was recently shot to death. Katie received Christmas gifts for her two daughters and a complete Christmas dinner provided by Cracker Barrel. 

Maria Katzmaier was a sponsor for the Favors Forward Foundation herself before seeking their assistance last month: she developed an extremely rare heart cancer and also took in a 14-year-old boy who had a difficult family life. Maria was advised to seek treatment at the MD Cancer Center in Texas, which is not covered by her insurance and comes with a $37,000 out-of-pocket cost for her first appointment. Her family received a precooked Christmas meal and $1,450 in donated gift cards, as well as an additional $1,670 donated to Maria's Go Fund Me account for her cancer treatment.

Outside of the holiday season, the organization primarily runs through submitted requests: those in need apply for assistance with the organization, and the Foundation runs a few background checks to assess the legitimacy of the request. Once the request is approved, the request is then sent to the Foundation's huge volunteer pool.

Upcoming Favors Forward Foundation events will include the Raise the Region fundraiser in March and the April Clean-Up Day, which is coordinated with Steve Wiser - Lycoming College's football coach. Over 150 college athletes will visit the homes of elderly or infirm individuals and perform yard work, help with installing air conditioners and furniture, etc. The Foundation is accepting referrals for anyone who could use the help; contact them online or call them at (570) 447-5697 to be put on the list.

This story was compiled from information supplied to us and not written by a particular staff writer. To see a list of our editorial staff please go to our Staff directory.