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Makefield Women’s Association presents annual awards

by Lori Goldstein, lorigoldstein102@gmail.com

Makefield Women’s Association (MWA) members were elated to have their annual awards ceremony at the Old Library by Lake Afton on April 6th, as opposed to the Zoom session necessitated by the pandemic last year. They raised $9,000 to donate to five charitable organizations and two college scholarships.

Before awards were given, MWA announced an April 30th fundraiser at the women’s clothing shop, J. McLaughlin, 200 S. State Street in Newtown. MWA will receive 15% of what is bought there. You can also shop online for the whole month of April with free shipping and gift wrap. In May, MWA’s monthly collection will be Applebee’s gift cards for Mother’s Day at A Woman’s Place. It was also reported that MWA’s Caring for Friends endeavor prepared 726 meals throughout their fiscal year. The next meal preparation event will be on May 18th. For 48 children in local homeless shelters, MWA will be making Easter treat bags.

Ellen Kirsch, chair for the Beneficiary Committee, proceeded to announce the 2022 recipients. The first was Marianne Lynch, executive director of A Woman’s Place (AWP). She informed MWA members that, for the first time ever, AWP received HUD funding, which facilitated “rapid rehousing, enabling them to move families from their shelter into apartments more quickly, within 30 to 60 days.” This meant a more stable environment that enabled a parent to place her children back in school. AWP has also been able to hire another therapist and another counselor to help with the many families who are on waiting lists for AWP’s services.  At their gala, the first in two years, AWP raised $107,000.

Murielle Kelly, director of housing services for Family Service Association-Bucks County Homeless Shelter, attributed the fact that none of their clients got Covid in the first year, and a small number in the second year, to the dedication of her staff and case managers. They moved half of the residents to a hotel. Those clients will be returning to the shelter by the end of April. On average, her organization services 15 to 20 families. Now they are serving 58 to 60 families, including 58 children by themselves. Due to Covid, they serviced between 90 to 100-plus people per day at the shelter and the hotel.  She reported that they’ve been able to comply with the 6-foot CDC guideline and have utilized privacy screens between the cots. They have also received rapid-rehousing, BCOC, (Bucks County Opportunity Council), and other funding sources.  She thanked MWA for “those small things which are really huge things to our kids,” such as the Easter bags, Christmas gifts, sunscreen and towels for their summer camp.

Larry Newman, president of the Yardley-Makefield Fire Company (YMFC), reported that they fought fires at Levittown Lanes’ bowling lanes for almost eight hours when its roof collapsed. In 2021, they went to 570 fire calls, 277 fire and carbon monoxide alarms. The company had 31 active firefighters, including three women. Larry had to report the unfortunate news that there were eight suicides; they assisted the emergency squad 72 times (last year, they made 49 assists). Lower Makefield just hired Tim Chamberlain, YMFC’s deputy fire chief, as its first fire safety director.

Michelle Rich-Bonn, director of development and communications for the Bucks County Housing Group (BCHG)-Penndel Community Pantry, explained the various types of supportive housing it provides, including low-income affordable and rapid-response housing. She announced that in addition to the Doylestown and Penndel pantries, they are piloting a mobile food pantry for people who can’t get to the pantry sites. Over 45,000 clients were served during 2021.  Michelle also explained that choice pantries are now back, with clients being able to “shop” for the foods they want.

Pam Danner, board member of Bucks for Kids, explained that her organization has an exclusive partnership with Bucks County Children and Youth (BBCY). She reported that 15,000 children in Pennsylvania are in foster care, many of them in Bucks County. Bucks for Kids exists to raise funds and grant money to BCCY so that they can meet the needs of “children who have experienced so much trauma and challenges in their young lives,” to give them the opportunity to enrich their lives and enable them to go to college.

Finally, the two college scholarship recipients, both of Lower Makefield Township, described their academic pursuits and extracurricular activities. As the debate captain at Pennsbury High School, Ellie Han has just won the title of state champion in her event, which is Lincoln-Douglas debates.  She has qualified to go to national tournaments in Washington, D.C. and Kentucky with a few of her teammates. Last year Ellie was principal bassoonist in all-state orchestra. This year she is principal bassoonist in the all-state wind ensemble. Ellie is also active in the Asian Student Association, which “creates a welcoming community for Asian students or for just people who are interested in involving themselves in a more diverse communities and diverse cultures. I’m really grateful that Pennsbury has made a great space for kids like me.” Ellie plans on majoring in biology with the plan to attend medical school.

Gabrielle Kruczkowski aspires to be a neurosurgeon who participated in the month-long Boston Leadership Institute Biomedical Surgical Program, where she was involved in many labs and demo-surgeries. As a research assistant, Gabby has collected data for different eye diseases. She is a member of Falcons for Orphans, Environmental Club, and Public Health Club. A three-sport athlete in Division 1 competition, Gabby will attend Tufts University, majoring in biomedical sciences, with an emphasis on neuroscience.

PHOTO CAP: From left, Larry Newman from Makefield-Yardley Fire Co., Murielle Kelly from Family Services of Bucks County, Pam Danner from Bucks for Kids, Michelle Rich-Bonn from BCHG Penndel Community Pantry, Marianne Lynch from A Woman’s Place, and MWA Pennsbury Scholarship recipients, Gabrielle Kruczkowski and Ellie Han.

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