Community Outreach: Helping Children in Need Throughout Lancaster

Cori Steiner, Manager of Resident Services at Willow Valley Communities and chair of the Willow Valley Community Outreach Committee, can’t hide her passion for helping children throughout Lancaster County.

It all started 13 years ago when she decided to wrap a few presents for a Christmas party for children in need. Today, Cori and her committee of ten coordinate three annual events throughout the year: Sneakers for School, Corn Hole for a Cause, and the Holiday Gift Giving Project. The work of the committee helps thousands of children through several Lancaster area organizations.

Dr. Damaris Rau, (third from left) Superintendent of the School District of Lancaster smiles as Willow Valley Communities residents and team members deliver sneakers to Families in Transition at Carter and MacRae Elementary School.

Sneakers for School provides hundreds of pairs of new sneakers and socks to children for their first day of school. Cornhole for a Cause raises money to help high school seniors take their next step toward long-term success after graduation. The annual Holiday Gift Giving Project party is a wonderful holiday celebration for children and their families, providing hundreds of practical gifts.

Willow Valley Communities’ residents and team members work together closely to plan, prepare for, and execute the events—collecting, wrapping, shopping, and serving, to make each one successful and meaningful. Cori says that since Willow Valley Communities’ residents come from a wide variety of backgrounds and geographical regions across the country, the committee benefits from their wealth of experience and breadth of ideas. Willow Valley Communities’ clubs and organizations help, too, by donating their time and talents with special projects through volunteer work in Lancaster, PA.

Cori is proud of the impact the committee has.

“Every penny we raise, every item we collect, helps a child in need in Lancaster County,” she said. “It makes a huge difference.” Cori went on to explain that poverty often has an impact on three generations of a family. “Sometimes this lifestyle is all a family knows.”

Dr. Damaris Rau, Superintendent of the School District of Lancaster accepts a check from John G. Swanson, CEO of Willow Valley Living.

Cori highlighted Willow Valley Communities’ latest initiative, Cornhole for a Cause. Monies raised during this fun tournament go toward the fees that are often associated with a high school graduate transitioning to life after school. “There are always costs associated with a graduate moving on to higher education or a place in the workforce,” Cori explained. “Whether it’s college application fees, or work boots for a trade job, sometimes these costs can literally keep a child from taking the next step in life. Cornhole for a Cause helps break that cycle of poverty.” Cori is also appreciative of the support she receives from Willow Valley Communities’ vendors during Cornhole for a Cause.

Cori has saved each “thank you” note she has received from every child and every organization that has been helped by Willow Valley Communities. “People are truly thankful for what we do,” said Cori.

Cori is always looking for new causes and new ways to help the children of Lancaster County. She’s grateful for all the support she receives from Willow Valley Communities’ residents and team members— but she’s really not surprised. “This is our culture at Willow Valley Communities,” she explained. “We serve and we help any way we can.”

There’s a culture of volunteerism at Willow Valley Communities. Come for a visit and we’ll show you! Call 877.503.0774 or email, and plan your visit. 

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