Jean Holmgren named Community Advocate of the Year

MFHS would like to congratulate Communications & Digital Marketing Specialist Jean Holmgren on being named Community Advocate of the Year at last week’s Young Professional Awards, which were hosted by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce. #MFHSproud

2018 Rose Allan Tucker Award: Kristen Topolski

At the 47th Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors of Maternal and Family Health Services, we will be honoring Kristen Topolski with the Rose Allan Tucker Award. Each year, the Rose Allan Tucker Award is presented to a distinguished individual who embodies the tremendous character of the award’s namesake. Rose Allan Tucker was a champion for women’s health in our community, devoting her life to working to improve access and care to women in Northeast Pennsylvania.

Kristen Topolski exemplifies this compassionate spirit, especially through her innovative efforts for both Ruth’s place and Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania. Ms. Topolski established Ruth’s Place, a local women’s shelter, with the hope to provide basic necessities like food and shelter to women in need in Northeast Pennsylvania; the shelter goes far beyond those basic necessities, however, providing women with access to healthcare and resources to help them obtain employment and permanent housing.

Through the creation and management of the only women’s shelter in Luzerne County, Kristen Topolski revealed her altruistic drive that motivates her to create new ways to help families in our community. She continued this mission by becoming Director of Wilkes-Barre Programming at Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania. In her leadership role as a director, Ms. Topolski is challenged to find new opportunities to make a difference in the lives of local children and families. Programs she has developed include housing support, a food pantry, and resources for pregnant and new mothers.

Thank you Kristen for your hard work and dedication to the women and children of Northeast Pennsylvania, and congratulations!


MFHS Seeking Nominations for 2018 Rose Allan Tucker Award

Maternal and Family Health Services is seeking nominations for the Rose Allan Tucker Award, which will be presented at the agency’s 47th Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors on October 17th at the Westmoreland Club in Wilkes-Barre.

The late Rose Tucker was a former Luzerne County Commissioner and long-time employee of MFHS. She dedicated her life to public service as a community leader, political activist, health advocate, and champion for women, children and families in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She opened doors for women to take leadership roles in the community and extended herself to help those in need.

Since 1996, MFHS has celebrated her legacy by presenting the Rose Tucker Award to a person who demonstrates a deep commitment to improving the quality of life for women, children and families in Northeastern Pennsylvania. With her passing in 2009, the Rose Tucker Award has taken on even greater significance as it helps keep her legacy alive and serves as a reminder of Rose Tucker’s great contributions to the community.

Nominees for the award should demonstrate a long-term commitment to improving the quality of life in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and a significant positive impact on the health and welfare of women, children and families.

Nomination forms are available on our Annual Meeting page or by calling 1-800-367-6347. Deadline for submissions is August 27th, 2018.

August 1st-7th is World Breastfeeding Week!

Starting Wednesday, August 1st, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) will host World Breastfeeding Week 2018, a global initiative aimed at educating and promoting the multifaceted benefits of mothers breastfeeding their babies. The three areas of emphasis regarding this year’s World Breastfeeding Week are “(1) preventing malnutrition in all its forms, (2) ensuring food security, even in times of crisis, and (3) breaking the cycle of poverty.” These three focal points are significant ways that breastfeeding can have a positive impact on societies across the globe.

Breastfeeding is a cost-free, environmentally-free way to give your baby all the nutrition he or she needs. Breastfeeding has a significant positive impact on both mother and baby, with health, social, and economic benefits. Some of the health benefits for baby include prevention of malnutrition and increased immunity from certain illnesses; other benefits are improved intelligence and emotional bonding with the mother. Benefits for a breastfeeding mother include reduced risk of certain cancers and hypertension. WABA, and related organizations like UNICEF, advocate for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, followed by supplementing until 2 years of age.

At Maternal and Family Health Services, we foster a positive, judgment-free environment in which new moms can learn how to safely breastfeed their babies. All MFHS WIC Nutrition Centers provide clients with breastfeeding education and support. And numerous WIC Nutrition locations participate in the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program. This program gives breastfeeding WIC moms the opportunity to receive support and tips from a former client who previously breastfed and is now a passionate advocate. We strive to inform families in Northeast Pennsylvania about breastfeeding as the perfect infant food, and change public perceptions about breastfeeding.


Staff Retirement: Hello Marilou, Goodbye Heart!

And now that I have that Ricky Nelson tune strumming in your head, it’s with great honor we celebrate Marilou Sadowski’s last week at MFHS. After nearly 24 years of serving the community with a great deal of her heart, Marilou will be enjoying the beauty of retirement and well deserved time with her husband and family.


I’ve asked Marilou to tell us a little about her experience at MFHS and plans for the future:

– What did you enjoy most about working at MFHS?

  • It gave me the opportunity to meet people from all different walks of life.  Where else would I have met Napoli people as well as people from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds.

-Tell us a little about what made your work fulfilling?

  • There is a great variety of jobs to keep you interested during the course of the day.  You never know what situation you will get with the next patient that walks through the door.

-What will you miss most?

  • The women I work with.  I am truly in awe of them.  They are so kind and caring.

-What advice would you give to yourself if you were just starting your career at MFHS?

  • Learn Spanish!   Enjoy the ride.   Some days will be more difficult than others so just put one foot in front of the other till you can go home to your real life.

-What are you most looking forward to in your retirement?

  • My husband, Tom, is a sales rep so I will be traveling with him and babysitting my grandchildren.  Eventually, I know I will get itchy to do something else and will look for somewhere to volunteer.


Marilou’s coworkers are going to miss her as well.


“I so appreciate & cherish our friendship over the past 21 + yrs. working together. The void of your absence will be truly felt, but my heart is so happy for this new chapter in your life. Thank you for being such a great co-worker and friend, all your support, your kindness, the laughter we’ve shared. Love you friend. Please keep in touch. xo “ –Charlene L.


“Marilou was always helpful to everyone and very knowledgeable of programs especially Healthy Beginnings. She has seen many changes at Circle of Care over the years and embraced them to insure our patient were cared for and COC remained successful. Job Well Done!! Now Enjoy your grandchildren and as Marilou would say “Just relax and enjoy my deck in Clarks Summit” – Cindy K.


Congratulations Marilou as you begin a new “fun” chapter in your life. You take a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be hard to replace at Circle of Care. It has been my pleasure to work with you for the past many years, and I look forward to staying in touch. Enjoy this very special time. You have earned it.  —Barb K.


From all of us at Maternal and Family Health Services we say, “Thank you” Marilou, for your decades of dedication and the thousands of clients you have served. You have truly made a difference in countless lives at your time here and we wish you all the best in this exciting new chapter.

Staff Retirement: Cheers to Carmen!

The MFHS family is blessed with so many experienced health and wellness professionals. The years of experience, level of professionalism and truly kind and generous people who work here are what keep our clients returning day in and day out.

A shining example of one of these family members is Carmen Mercado. Carmen is just about to finish her 29th year at MFHS, as she’s decided it’s time to retire and enjoy life. We want to take a moment and shout out to Carmen the biggest Thank You and Virtual Hug we could from across the organization.

We’ve asked Carmen to tell us a little about her experience and plans for the future:

What did you enjoy most about working at MFHS?
“I love being able to work with the public.”
Tell us a little about what made your work fulfilling?
“I enjoy helping participant nutritionally and personally.”
What will you miss most?
“Working with my co-workers.”
What advice would you give to yourself if you were just starting your career at MFHS?
“Be willing to work and do my best.”
What are you most looking forward to in your retirement?
“I look forward to Traveling, Resting, Shopping and Serving the Lord.”

Additionally, some of Carmen’s co-workers have chimed in to talk about what it is like to be around her.

“It’s difficult to find the right words to thank someone who means so much to me. You have become the biggest mentor in my life. I am so grateful that you took me under your wing when I first started at this company. Your leadership and example has helped me grow into my potential. Truly, I have been blessed to have you in my life. From the bottom of my heart, a big THANK YOU!!” –Jannette Mosquera

“To Carmen, For making a difference in my life and the lives of thousands of others you’ve touched during your 29 years with MFHS and WIC.  Your smile, love, joy, laughter will all be missed. Wishing you a happy and peaceful retirement.” –Katie Hettinger

From all of us at MFHS, we would like to wish Carmen all the best and brightest with a very long, healthy and happy retirement.  Cheers Carmen!

Thank You Sun Buick GMC for Sponsoring our 2018 Hole-In-One Contest

Pictured: Jim Schilling, MFHS Development & Communications Officer, and Lori Guitson, Owner, Sun Buick GMC.

Sun Buick GMC, Moosic, is sponsoring the hole-in-one contest at the Maternal and Family Health Services 25th Annual Golf Tournament on Thursday, June 14, at Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club, Mountain Top.

The hole-in-one prize is a 2018 Buick Regal TOUR X and will go to the lucky golfer at the MFHS Tournament who gets a hole-in-one on hole 9 of the Ridge course.

For more information about golf and sponsorship opportunities, e-mail or call 1-800-367-6347.

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.

The 25th Annual MFHS Golf Tournament is June 14th

In just over two weeks, we will be celebrating our 25th year of the MFHS golf tournament at the Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club in Mountain Top. Join us on Thursday, June 14th to support children and families in our community.

The golf tournament is open to anyone who enjoys playing golf, and the event will be held rain or shine! Operating in a four person captain and crew format, the fee is $125 per person, $500 for a foursome. This cost includes green fees, a cart, lunch, dinner, and refreshments. Grand prizes will be awarded to our top male and female flights. Raffles and a silent auction will also occur throughout the day at the tournament.

To register as a golfer or to sponsor the tournament, please visit our golf page. We offer a number of sponsorship opportunities for individuals and businesses who are motivated to donate to MFHS in support of our various programs and services. Thanks to the generous donations of community members, Maternal and Family Health Services has been able to positively impact the lives of approximately 100,000 women and children in Northeast Pennsylvania and beyond. For over 45 years, we have served local families with our comprehensive health and wellness programs like the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Supplemental Nutrition Program.

Tee Off Tuesday: Enter to win a FREE vacation!

As May comes to an end, it’s time to get ready for summer! Are you hoping to take a fun family vacation this summer? Thanks to Sundance Vacations, we are giving away a fabulous trip to your choice of Hilton Head or Myrtle Beach South Carolina! Raffle tickets for the South Carolina vacation will be sold at our golf tournament on June 14th, but you don’t need to attend the tournament to buy tickets. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the MFHS golf tournament, and on the day of the tournament the winner will be drawn for the 8 day/ 7 night South Carolina vacation.

Tickets are $25 for 1 entry, 2 for $40, or buy 3 get 1 free. Celebrate our 25th year of the golf tournament by entering to win this exciting trip! Click here to enter the South Carolina vacation raffle and learn more. And if you are interested in golfing in the tournament, you can register to play on our golf page.