GIVING BACK

High school student raises thousands for Beacon House

Beacon House CEO Mary Tavernini Dowling, left, and LeeAnn Mantta, a student who has raised nearly $4,000 for the Beacon House, are shown. (Courtesy photo of the Beacon House)

MARQUETTE — As part of her National Honor Society service project, LeeAnn Mantta, a junior at Jeffers High School in Painsedale, recently delivered a second donation to the Beacon House in Marquette of nearly $400 worth of toiletries, office supplies and other items on Beacon House’s wishlist. Mantta is also close to raising $4,000 in monetary donations.

“At my school we have the National Honor Society,” Mantta said in a release. “We get to do a service project each year, so I chose the Beacon House because I thought it would be a perfect candidate for that.”

The NHS is a nationwide organization dedicated to recognizing students who strive in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership and character. Participating high school students are challenged to develop their character through civil service, the NHS website states.

Beacon House CEO Mary Tavernini Dowling said Mantta decided to donate to the Beacon House because her parents were guests during her father’s stay at UP Health System-Marquette while he was getting radiation and chemotherapy treatment. Mantta’s father, Robert, was diagnosed with cancer and traveled to Marquette for frequent oncology appointments, “using Beacon House as a home away from home,” Dowling said.

Beacon House operates on a donation basis and guests are expected to donate at a level that is comfortable for them. The nonprofit organization is the Upper Peninsula’s only hospitality house, serving patients of UPHS-Marquette and the Upper Peninsula Medical Center from every county in the U.P. A large portion of Beacon House donors reside in the Copper Country, where Mantta is from.

“Our plea to everyone in the U.P. is to do whatever you can and LeeAnn who was incredibly moved by that plea used the opportunity through the National Honor Society at her school,” Dowling said. “They challenged their students to do some things so she decided that she’d reach out to different businesses to see who could donate the things that are on our wishlist and then ended up fundraising as well. I believe she has commandeered about 40 cases of toilet paper, things we need, consumables. She reached out to businesses and had a special donation through her church, reached very close to $4,000, and she said she’s not done.”

While collecting donations, Mantta said she often got positive feedback from people in the Copper Country who either once stayed at Beacon House or knew of someone who stayed at Beacon House, and that everyone was excited to donate to her NHS project, according to the release.

“I chose the Beacon House because my dad was in the hospital and they let my parents stay there, which was pretty nice, so I wanted to give back,” Mantta said. “I collected things mainly through Holy Family Church Catholic Church in South Range and St. Ignatius in Houghton and did monetary collections as well.”

On behalf of NHS, Mantta collected bar soap, kitchen items, copy paper, toilet paper and cleaning supplies for Beacon House amounting to around $400 in value. Mantta also went to businesses located around the Copper Country and raised $1,900 for the organization. She then did a collection at church and raised over $1,400 from parishioners.

“It’s nice to pay it forward, because not everyone has everything you have,” Mantta said. “I encourage people to definitely donate, because Beacon House is pretty snazzy.”

For more information about contributing to Beacon House’s Wishlist visit upbh.org/wish-list.

Jaymie Depew can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.