Every now and then, I hear about a Wyoming Area grad who has gone on to do amazing things. I’m sure there are many, but we don’t hear enough about them. I wish we could do surveys of grads every 10 years, like the census. That would be a better measure of our success than the standardized tests we force on kids.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned First United Presbyterian Church will host a talk by an expert on food insecurity. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that speaker is a WA grad who, if you followed WA sports, you will remember as swimmer Clancy Cash. Clancy graduated high school in 1993 and went on to Penn State. Among her accomplishments are an award-winning book, “Feeding Baby,” being a TEDx speaker, and founding two anti-hunger grassroot movements — Children Feeding Children Project and FARMU. She currently teaches at Pennsylvania State University and is chairwoman of the Political Action Committee for the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Clancy has appeared at congressional briefings, had reoccurring television segments, and has delivered national keynote speeches. She has been featured on Huffington Post, Today’s Dietitian, Food and Nutrition Magazine’s Stone Soup, Parents Magazine, Feeding American, and much more. I could go on, but you get the idea.
Clancy is a true advocate for food justice and one of her missions is to end the stigma attached to food assistance programs. When I taught sociology, we often discussed the plight of the “working poor,” and of middle class men and women who had good jobs but lost them due to no fault of their own, those who became too ill to work, or who had a family member with a catastrophic illness that wiped out the family savings.
I’ve been lucky. No major, life diminishing events. I can afford to see my doctor regularly. I get my teeth cleaned every six months and my vision checked yearly. For my high blood pressure, I pop a pill that I have no problem buying.
I know that I have my parents and aunts to thank for instilling in me the importance of school and pushing me to further my education. I’m sure Clancy would say the same. But not everyone has been so fortunate. Some people work very hard at jobs that do not pay enough to take care of their health. Families buy groceries high in carbs and low in nutrition because they’re cheaper than fruits and vegetables. I’ve known people without health insurance who don’t go to a doctor when sick or to a dentist, even with a toothache. I taught kids who counted on a free lunch as the only good meal of the day.
Unfortunately, there was a stigma attached to those free lunches. Kids were embarrassed. Parents using the ACCESS card at the grocery store know the person behind them in line is scrutinizing their purchases. But shouldn’t people who need help get it without our criticism? I hope that if I ever find myself in need, people will be kind.
Wyoming Area has changed a lot since Clancy was a student. I was shocked to learn that almost 50 percent of our students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, an indication of the economic hardship in our community. In addition to that, statistics show that 37 percent of people who are food insecure in PA are not even eligible for assistance. Families, some of them our neighbors, are in trouble. I’m so happy for people like Clancy Cash, now Cash Harrison, who see these problems and tackle them head on. And I’m so proud that she is a WA grad.
The program, Winning the War Against Hunger, will be held at First United Presbyterian Church of West Pittston in Wyoming from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6. Everyone is welcome.
Wyoming Free Library news
Speaking of food insecurity, a Children’s Produce Market will be held at Wyoming Free Library from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2. The Commission on Economic Opportunity and Weinberg Food Bank will distribute fruits and vegetables to any Luzerne County family with children. Registration is required and ends at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 28. Applications are available at the library. Call 570-693-1364 for information.
Wyoming Free Library is starting a S.T.E.A.M. Club, which will meet at 11 a.m. the last Saturday of every month beginning in February. The club is open to ages 6 and older. Space is limited and registration is required. Call the library for information.
Greater Wyoming Area
Little League registration
For the 2019 season, Exeter Lions, West Pittston and Wyoming/West Wyoming Little Leagues have combined for all age groups to form the Greater Wyoming Area Little League. Online registration for baseball and softball is now open at www.wyomingwestwyomingll.com. Three in-person registration events also will be held at the Exeter Scout Home, behind the Exeter Borough Building, from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6; noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, and 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb 10. All first-time T-ball registrants will receive a free glove. Detailed registration information can be found on any of the league’s Facebook pages. Email questions to GWALittleLeague@gmail.com.
West Wyoming Hose
Company ziti dinner
West Wyoming Hose Company No. 1 is having a ziti dinner from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. The dinner includes ziti, homemade sauce and meatballs, salad, dessert and beverages. Adults are $8 and children under 12 are $5. Takeouts are available. Tickets may be purchased from any member or at the door. Proceeds benefit the company.
WA scholarship deadline
Attention Wyoming Area Secondary Center seniors and parents: The deadline for submitting scholarship applications is Wednesday, Feb. 6. No extensions will we given.
All students are encouraged to apply. Don’t think the money goes only to the top in academics. There are awards for all sports, the arts, community service, financial hardship, military commitment, Irish heritage and even one for smiling. In many cases, students who will be attending technical schools or two-year colleges are eligible to apply. Go to www.wyomingarea.org and follow the guidance link to scholarships.
Wyoming Area Catholic news
Wyoming Area Catholic School will celebrate Catholic Schools Week from Jan. 27-Feb. 1. This year’s theme is “Learn, Serve, Lead, Succeed.” Events include an open house following the 11 a.m. Mass until 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27. The week also includes a geography bee, talent show, health fair, Wacky Olympics, theme days and a dance.
Wyoming Area Catholic School will hold its annual Night at the Races on Saturday, Feb. 2, in the school gym, 1690 Wyoming Ave., Exeter. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. and races begin at 7. Admission is $5. Horses can be purchased for $10 in advance of the event. Frankie Warren of Magic 93 will be the honored guest and serve as master of ceremonies. Complimentary food, snacks and soft drinks will be provided, and there will be 50/50 raffles, theme basket raffles and trifecta tickets. Applications to sponsor a race and forms to purchase a horse are available at the school. Call 570-654-7982 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Wyoming announced temporary office hours for January. Offices will be open from 9 a.m. until noon Monday through Friday. Residents are asked to use the secure payment box next to the entrance to pay for trash stickers, parking tickets and taxes.
The next recycling collection will be Wednesday, Jan. 23. Christmas trees left on tree lawns will be collected as street department workers see them.
The 2019 garbage fee is now due. The discount price of $190 is in effect until Feb. 6. Face value of $200 will be until May 15. After that the cost will be $250.
Exeter refuse stickers
Exeter refuse stickers for 2019 are now available. Prices remain the same as last year. Stickers will be in rebate period until Feb. 28 at a cost of $150; $110 for seniors 65 and older. Proof of age is required. From March 1-31, the regular price of $180 will be charged; $130 for seniors. April 1, the stickers will go into penalty and the price for everyone will be $250.
Stickers can be purchased at the borough building from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday or by mail by sending a self addressed, stamped envelope to Exeter Borough Refuse Department, 1101 Wyoming Ave., Exeter, PA 18643. Please use a long business size envelope. For information, call Lynda at 570-654-3001, ext. 2.
Barbara Bullions writes about Exeter, Wyoming and West Wyoming. To include an item in her column, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 570-301-2185 by Monday.