Every once in a while, a business comes around in a community that becomes something more than just brick and mortar. It becomes a symbol for the community. It becomes a port in a storm. As cliché as it sounds, it becomes the place where everybody knows your name. You can’t walk in without running into at least five or six people that you know.

West Pittston is blessed to have all of those things and then some in the form of a family-owned restaurant named Agolino’s. Our community shines a little less bright with the recent passing of Agolino’s owner and community icon, Joe Agolino. I was fortunate enough to know Mr. Agolino as a friend of the family. I’m sure that everyone who has ever walked through the doors of his restaurant feels the same way. Whenever I would walk in, he would either be holding court on the bench in front of the restaurant or inside sitting down at a table and having a conversation with someone who was sitting down and eating a delicious meal.

Joe loved West Pittston. He was our biggest advocate. When the flood hit in 2011, he wasted no time renovating the restaurant so it could go back to serving the community. About three months later, around Christmas of that year, the restaurant reopened. It was a joyful event, filled with friends and neighbors mingling and it gave everyone a sense of normalcy that we were all so desperately craving in the few months after the flood ravaged the community.

I had a similar feeling of hope and normalcy when the restaurant re-opened with outdoor seating and take-out orders during the pandemic.

Joe was the town’s mascot. For decades, he poured his heart and soul into serving West Pittston. He was our biggest cheerleader. He always had a warm smile when he would come over to talk to you, and when he did, you could feel that he truly cared about how you and your family were doing. He was there to celebrate in the town’s victories and to grieve during its defeats.

Whatever Joe did and wherever he went, his love for his family and for his community always shined through. And I believe that may be the best way to honor his legacy. To have an undying love of our family and a relentless pride of our community. I have no doubt that the Agolino family will continue the legacy of serving the community and continue to make Joe proud.

Corpus Christi Parish news

The parish Food Pantry shelves are always stocked and ready to serve our community when needed. If someone calls for help with food, they are never refused. Loyal volunteers always have food boxes/bags filled and ready for distribution. It is now that time of year when we begin thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas food distribution. As in the past, the pantry is asking for donations of any non-perishable foods, with emphasis on items everyone wants on their table for a Thanksgiving feast — boxed potatoes, yams, cranberry sauce, stuffing mix, gravy, canned vegetables, pie fillings, and pie crust mixes. Donations may be left in the vestibules of the churches or dropped off at the rectory from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

The parish is continuing its Norwex cleaning product fundraiser. Among the items available is the Norwex Veggie and Fruit Scrub Cloth to clean food of wax, dirt and debris. To order, visit www.corpuschristinepa.com, click on the Norwex link on the right side of the homepage, click on the link to shop, place products in your cart and checkout. To ensure the parish receives credit, click on “Add Party” and select Corpus Christi Church Party One.

For a catalog or if you do not have access to a computer, call Lori at the rectory 570-654-2753.

Valley Alliance news

Valley Alliance in West Pittston is in the planning stages for a Light The Night event. They are carefully monitoring safety regulations in the planning process for this event. So far a thematic trunk or treat for the little ones is being planned in addition to live entertainment and refreshments for all in attendance.

Library news

West Pittston Library will offer the following activities:

Craft Corner: Sugar Skull Painting — 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20. Let your inner artist loose with this colorful painting tutorial. Register for your take- home kit full of all the supplies needed.

Day of the Dead — 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27. Craft along as you learn the cultural significance of all the elements of this special celebration. Register for your take-home kit full of all the supplies needed.

BYOB Book Club: Bring Your Own Book Club will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29. Bring your own book and chair to the library’s side lawn for a casual book chat. Kendra-Lee will lead the discussion with the books she has read through the month. Read each month’s recommended reading or read something different, but bring a snack, drink and some juicy book recommendations for a relaxing evening. Call the library to register.

October’s books are “Death on the Nile” by Agatha Christie and “The New One: Painfully True Stories from a Reluctant Dad” by Mike Birbiglia. A few scary stories also will be discussed in the spirit of the holiday.

John Bubul writes about West Pittston. To list an item, email jbubul@pittstonprogress.com or call 570-301-2187 by Monday.

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