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


MFHS Cooking on PA Live!

Did you miss our staff on PA Live! on Friday? If you didn’t catch Shannon and Jessica from the WIC program and their cooking demonstration, you’re in luck! Check out the video below to see both of their segments. Thank you PA Live! for  letting us come in and cook for you!


Circle of Care Scranton is Moving

CoC Moving postcard

Celebrating National Farmers Market Week

7729165713 Things You Should Know About Farmers’ Markets


1. It’s best to get here early.
But if you can’t make it until later, what you’ll get is still fresher than any that’s been shipped to a supermarket, as most farmers pick produce the day of or day before its sold. In the case of perishable products, many bargains can be found at the end of the day.

2. Many farmers depend on you to survive.
Farmers count on the income from markets to get by; nearly all who participate in open markets run very small operations, and the profit margin is slim.

3. If you spend $100 at a farmers’ market, $62 goes back into the local economy, and $99 out of $100 stays in the state.
If you spend $100 at a grocery store, only $25 stays here. So, where do you want your money to go?

4. If you’re not sure, ask to taste before buying.
Almost all farmers are happy to provide a sample.

5. Please stop saying how expensive it is.
Local farm products would sell for much more in any specialty store, where there would be additional overhead costs and markups.

6. Farmers don’t do deals.
With the very thin margins, the prices are often incredibly fair and there’s no room for bargaining. The best way to get a good deal? Be a consistent customer.

7. It’s not really about retail sales.
It’s about cultivating a relationship with people who are willing to spend a little bit more for something a whole lot better.

8. Standing out in the summer sun is nice, but the job isn’t easy.
Up early, loading trucks with heavy produce, being mindful of money, home late. Plus, when it rains, customers stay away and bad weather can easily damage products.

9. Sometimes, produce vendors are only retailers, not growers.
Ask questions if you think the vendor is a vegetable wholesaler, not a local farmer.

10. Farmers care about where the products are coming from.
Larger vendors may have a retail outlet, or be part of a franchise or chain business. Ask.

11. You can’t get everything all the time.
To offer the freshest, best tasting food at a reasonable price, you have to be patient with the farmers and their growing cycles. There are seasons when certain produce isn’t available (even in California). No peaches in January, sure, but even in some regions, no summer tomatoes until late July.

12. Watch for buzzwords: Natural, specialty, estate, artisan, local, and organic.
Some farmers that will say their produce is organic, but in order to say that they must be certified by an organic agency, and undergo an inspection. You can always ask to see their organic certification. Most organic farmers are proud to display organic certification.

13. The Internet has changed farm life for better.
Customers from all over can keep connected to farm sites and Facebook pages, and can join mailing lists to hear about special crops, prices, CSA lists, and more.

Come Golf With Us!

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MFHS on PA Live!

Shannon Hayward, Director of WIC Administration and Laurie Waskovich, RD, Nutrition Education Coordinator on PA Live.

Shannon Hayward, Director of WIC Administration and Laurie Waskovich, RD, Nutrition Education Coordinator on PA Live.

Maternal and Family Health Services appeared on PA Live! yesterday to talk about WIC Month and the benefits of the Women, Infants and Children Nutrition program. Pennsylvania has declared May WIC Month to recognize the benefits of the nutrition program for families throughout the state. Shannon Hayward, Director of WIC Administration and Laurie Waskovich, RD, Nutrition Education Coordinator, talked about the benefits of the program and how to get connected with your local WIC office.

You can check out Shannon and Laurie on PA Live below, and don’t forget to also read our CEO Bette Cox Saxton’s latest op-ed in the Citizen’s Voice talking about the benefits of WIC.


May Is WIC Month!

close up portrait of beautiful african mother and baby indoorsMaternal and Family Health Services (MFHS) is celebrating the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program during WIC Month this May 2015. 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 248,000 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 and CEO of Maternal and Family Health Services. “As MFHS celebrates the 41th 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.”

Pennsylvania WIC is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.