The WIC Farmer’s Market Program is back!

Just in time for summer, the WIC Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) will begin soon. The program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, provides WIC participants with vouchers to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmer’s markets from June 1st through November 30th.

These vouchers provide additional opportunity to inform participants of the importance of eating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. WIC Nutrition staff will distribute these $20 vouchers to participants, along with a list of nearby participating farmer’s markets. WIC participants, including children ages 1-5 as well as pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum mothers are eligible to receive these vouchers.

In addition to the health benefits for WIC participants, the WIC Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program also supports over 1,000 community farmers. The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Supplemental Nutrition Program of Pennsylvania is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Join us for a happy hour FUNdraiser on August 23rd

Join MFHS and our friends at Rodano’s Wednesday, August 23rd from 5:30 – 7:30 for a happy hour with a purpose! All proceeds raised will benefit our Nurse-Family Partnership holiday party. Our NFP staff throws the party every year for our clients – families receive gifts for their children, dinner, and pictures with Santa, all thanks to generous donations from the NEPA community.

The happy hour features no cover, raffle baskets and guest bartenders. All tips and a portion of sales will be generously donated by Rodano’s! Please join us on August 23rd and help us spread the word!


Back to School Wraps on PA Live!


MFHS was back on PA Live last week making easy, tasty wraps for back to school lunches. Watch the video and then get our recipes below.

Easy Corn and Black Bean Wraps


1 bag (24 oz) frozen corn & butter sauce
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles
1/4 cup chopped green onions (4 medium)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
10 flour tortillas for burritos (8 inch)
10 tablespoons sour cream
10 tablespoons salsa
10 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese


1 Cook frozen corn as directed on bag; cool.
2 In large bowl, mix corn, beans, chiles, green onions and lime juice. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
3 To serve, spoon about 1/2 cup corn mixture on each tortilla; top with 1 tablespoon each of sour cream, salsa and cheese. Fold up bottom; fold sides in to enclose filling.

Veggie Ranch Wraps


10 flour tortillas for burritos (8 inch)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream cheese
¼ cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. Ranch dressing
1 tbsp. Freeze-dried chives
1 tsp. Onion powder
1 tsp. Garlic powder
¼ cup Red onion (chopped) – skip if you’re sensitive to onions
¼ cup Green onion (chopped)  – skip if you’re sensitive to onions
2 tbsp. Cucumber (chopped)
½ cup Cauliflower (chopped)
½ cup Broccoli (chopped)
½ cup Baby carrots (chopped)
2 tbsp. Black olives (chopped)


1. Using mixer, combine cream cheese, chives, Greek yogurt, ranch dressing, onion powder, and garlic powder.
2. Add a layer of cream cheese spread to tortillas.
3. Sprinkle red onion, green onion, cucumber, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and black olives.
4. Fold up bottom of tortilla; fold sides in to enclose filling.
5. Serve right away or refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve cold.

May 2016 is WIC Month

WIC Month 2016Maternal and Family Health Services is celebrating the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program during WIC Month this May. During WIC Month, the state celebrates the positive impact WIC has on Pennsylvania families, and the dedication of WIC staff throughout the state that make this a successful health program.

WIC is the nation’s premier public health and nutrition education program with an overall goal to influence lifetime nutrition through positive health behaviors.  WIC offers pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants and children under age 5 access to nutritious foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, immunization record checks, iron deficiency screening, farmers’ market vouchers, and referrals for other health and social services.

Maternal and Family Health Services was one of the first agencies in Pennsylvania to administer a WIC program, and one of the first 100 WIC pilot projects in the United States.  In 1974, the MFHS WIC Program served a monthly average of 634 participants.  Today, the MFHS WIC network serves 57,000 participants each month at 32 WIC Nutrition Center locations in 16 counties.  Across Pennsylvania, the WIC Program serves an average of 253,000 women, infants and children throughout the 67 counties.  Nationwide, WIC serves 8 million participants.

“WIC has evolved over the years and is now on the front lines of the national response to childhood obesity epidemic by using the nutrition education component of WIC to encourage healthy eating habits that last a lifetime,” said Bette Cox Saxton, President & CEO of Maternal and Family Health Services. “As MFHS celebrates the 40th anniversary of the WIC Nutrition Program, we seek continuous program improvement, look for opportunities to collaborate with community partners who share our mission of service and prevention, coordinate service delivery, and improve access to care.”

Click here to read the governor’s proclamation.

MFHS Awarded Moses Taylor Foundation Grant

logoThe Moses Taylor Foundation recently awarded a grant to MFHS to support our Health Information Technology Initiative, and specifically, the implementation of an electronic health record system. Adoption of an electronic health record will result in improved patient care, improved care coordination, practice efficiencies, cost savings, increased patient participation and improved diagnostics and patient outcomes.

Thank you to Moses Taylor for helping us improve patient care, care coordination, and so much more.

A full list of projects funded are available on the Mose Taylor Foundation website:

PA Live Recipe: West African Vegetable Stew

stewEdit: If you missed Laurie on PA Live today, the video is now up on their website. Please check it out!

Did you catch MFHS Nutritionist Laurie on PA Live today? Want to make her delicious West African vegetable stew? Here’s the recipe for this healthy and tasty recipe:

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Ready In: 45 Minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sliced onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch half slices
  • 1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins or Craisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vegetable Bouillon Paste
  • 14 ounces water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chick peas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped spinach

1. Heat oil in skillet. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is tender.
2. Add potatoes and tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes. Add raisins, cinnamon, red pepper, broth and water. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 15 minutes.
3. Add chickpeas and spinach. Heat through. Serve over cooked rice or couscous, if desired.

Healthy Fall Cooking on PA Live

Did you miss our Nutrition Education Coordinator Laurie Waskovich, RD, on PA Live yesterday? Watch the video above to see what she was cooking up in their kitchen. Thank you Laurie for sharing these great recipes!

Maternal & Family Health Services Announces 44th Annual Meeting & Community Awards Luncheon

2015inviteMaternal & Family Health Services, Inc. (MFHS) announces that its 44th Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors and Community Awards Luncheon will take place on Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 at The Westmoreland Club, Wilkes-Barre. The agency will be presenting several awards, including the Rose Allan Tucker Award to Ellen E. Farrell of Prudential Retirement.

Maternal & Family Health Services began its journey of service in April 1971, with a vision to improve the quality of family life, promote responsible parenthood and coordinate effective service delivery in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Today, MFHS has grown to a regional organization serving over 110,000 individuals in 16 Pennsylvania counties.

The Rose Tucker Award is being presented to Ellen E. Farrell of Prudential Retirement for her continued dedication to improving the lives of women and families in Northeast Pennsylvania. Ellen has long been involved with community organizations like Dress for Success, Children’s Advocacy Center, the CEO Food Bank and many others. She has led events for these organizations that support her passion to help those underserved in our community.

Three other awards will be presented during the MFHS 44th Annual Community Awards Luncheon. Luzerne County Head Start will be receiving the Outstanding Community Partner Award. The Outstanding Service Award is being presented to Marc Rabin, M.D. Finally, Barbara Bossi of Geisinger-CMC will be receiving the MFHS Champion Award.

The public can download the Annual Meeting invitation via the MFHS website. The luncheon reception is $25. Program advertising opportunities are also available.

MFHS & NEPA Rainbow Alliance Host Pride Day

11951534_10153573863134500_5311564507074204046_oThe NEPA Rainbow Alliance and Maternal and Family Health Services (MFHS) are hosting a free-admission, all-ages event to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride in Scranton. Pride Day will take place Monday, September 14th from 4 – 7 pm at the new MFHS Circle of Care office at 640 Madison Ave, Scranton.

The event will feature giveaways and door prizes, including gift cards to Terra Preta, Scranton StorySlam, Venture Lounge, HEAT and 570 Tattooing for the first attendees in the door. What The Fork will also be on site cooking up their signature dishes.

Free and low cost confidential walk-in HIV and STD screenings will be available. Screenings are provided regardless of age, income or insurance coverage and fees are based on an affordable sliding fee. For many, screenings are free. Staff will also be available to discuss other MFHS services such as the WIC Nutrition program and cancer screening services.

Attendees can also get help enrolling in new health insurance plans during the event. Help enrolling in Medicaid and Chip is also available. Those interested in health insurance enrollment help can make an appointment by calling 570-826-1777 ext. 244.

For those who cannot attend the event, STD screenings are always available at MFHS Circle of Care. Please call 570-961-5550 to make an appointment.

MFHS WIC Program Helps Single Mothers in Need

Image taken at Maternal and Family Health location in downtown Wilkes-Barre, PA for LCCC "The Bridge" Alumni Magazine.

MFHS President & CEO Bette Cox Saxton

A recent article titled, “ Low-income single moms struggle to find help”, published in local media by the investigative news organization, PublicSource, provided an in-depth perspective of so many low income single mothers who face the harsh reality of raising their children in a very challenging fiscal environment.

It directly addressed a very disturbing fact from which there is no avoidance: Approximately 320,000 ‘single moms’ in our Commonwealth have become a “scapegoat for a variety of social problems” and many live with the assumption that their children “are presumed to inevitably face bleak futures simply because they aren’t part of a nuclear family…”

At Maternal and Family Health Services, we know all too well the daily trials and tribulations that single mothers face. Indeed, a significant percentage of single mothers hold minimum wage jobs without stable work schedules or sick days. What’s more, many come from families without means, so grandparents can’t readily step in to help with the children. For so many, it’s a daunting challenge to try to get an education while raising children and holding down a job.

About 40 percent of single moms in Pennsylvania are in poverty; more than 30 percent are unemployed, according to Census data. With employment challenges and limited resources, these women need basic supplemental food support for their families, and fortunately, many find it by participating in Maternal and Family Health Services’ Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program. This vital program, one of our organization’s core services, helps low-income pregnant women and mothers with children under age 5 with food stipends, one-on-one nutrition education and health referral services. Its unique combination of nutrition education, healthy foods, breastfeeding support and health care oversight offers a gateway to good health that provides not just the immediate food benefits to a family but education to influence positive eating habits for a lifetime.

Last year alone, MFHS’ WIC Program, which encompasses 16 counties, provided more than 56,000 women, babies and toddlers with nutrition counseling and food vouchers. While the impact of such a critical social program is profound, it can help even more children eat nutritiously and lead healthier lives if a plan recently announced by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, helps close the “WIC gap” in which some children lose WIC benefits before they enter school, due to their birthday determining when they can start attending. Senator Casey’s caring and compassionate plan would extend WIC benefits for children until the age of six.

As children across the Commonwealth return to school, it is most assuring to know that organizations such as Maternal and Family Health Services and political leaders like Senator Bob Casey are doing everything within their power to ensure that these children and their families are afforded the very same opportunity of others more fortunate: to live healthy and productive lives.

I invite all to visit our website to learn more about our free WIC program and its many benefits, and I especially implore those who are in need to visit the site today or call 1-800-FOR MFHS (1-800-367-6347) to see if you qualify.

Bette Cox Saxton

President & CEO

Maternal & Family Health Services