BY KATHLEEN BOLUS
SCRANTON — St. Joseph’s Center Auxiliary knew it would be impossible to host its annual summer festival, Go Joe Bike Ride and telethon with restrictions in place to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic expected to stay throughout the summer.
Instead, the center will host a chicken dinner drive-through from noon to 5 p.m. July 26 at Marywood University.
Local television station WNEP will hold its annual telethon for St. Joe’s from 8 to 10 p.m. July 25 and instead of its meteorologist, Joe Snedeker, riding his bike 500 miles across the state, he will ride in the news station’s backyard and during the telethon on a bike trainer stand, said Maryalice Jacquinot, I.H.M., president/CEO of the center.
Since the success of the annual festival requires large gatherings of volunteers and participants from throughout the region, it was not feasible to hold the event, Jacquinot said Wednesday outside the Adams Avenue center. She was flanked by auxiliary co-presidents Suzanne Fletcher and Theresa Gilhooley.
“We want to participate in keeping the community safe and well,” Jacquinot said.
The summer festival is the auxiliary’s largest annual fundraiser to benefit the programs and services offered by St. Joseph’s Center. It began as a backyard party in 1961. Snedeker began his long-distance bike ride to support the center in 1997.
Fletcher and Gilhooley said the auxiliary worked together to come up with alternative options to the summer festival. They drew inspiration from the curb-side pick-up options offered by many local restaurants during the state-wide business closures.
“Throughout the weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, adaptability became an increasingly important skill,” said Jacquinot. “For those of us privileged to work with children and adults who experience challenges across their lifetime, especially living with an intellectual and/or physical disability, we see everyday examples of what it means to show adaptability, courage, trust and perseverance and to do so with hope and joy.”
The chicken dinner will be prepared by Shannon Ives, owner of Mr. Yock’s BBQ in Lake Ariel. The menu also includes baked potato, corn on the cob, dinner roll and cookie. The meal will be packaged following food-safety guidelines. Tickets are required in advance. Details on how to purchase tickets will be announced soon.
WNEP also is hosting a Go Joe 23 ride-along. Participants are encouraged to bike too, while Snedeker does, and share photos and comments about their experiences. Register by July 10.
For more information, visit stjosephscenter.org or contact 570-207-6656.
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