By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(June 21, 2018) Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services last Wednesday debuted its “Bus Stop Snack Shack” at Dr. William Henry Park on Flower Street.
The program was inspired by a similar effort in Wicomico County, where local officials greet children as they get off the bus from school to provide summer reading materials, as well as snacks and drinks.
Last Wednesday, workers from Worcester Youth, along with members of Berlin Police, Mayor Gee Williams, and Worcester County Sheriff candidate Matt Crisafulli, lined up with stacks of donated Domino’s Pizzas, chips and water.
“We’re very excited. This is our first snack shack and really we’re just hoping to help fill a void in the community,” Youth Programs Coordinator Austin Piccarreta said. “We’re giving out books, we’re trying to encourage reading [and] we’re trying to encourage family time, so it’s not just giving out food. We’re trying to bring together a sense of community.”
She said the goal was to hold similar events monthly in different Worcester communities, including other areas in Berlin, as well as Snow Hill and Pocomoke.
“We want to be able to make it as accessible for as many people as we can, so we’re on the move,” she said. “And we really hope to include different town officials and different people in the community at each event.”
Piccarreta largely credited the Snack Shack to Billing and Insurance Specialist Debbie Smullen.
“This is Debbie’s idea,” she said. “Debbie read an article about and really ran with it. She is truly the driving force behind it. The planning and getting the word out – that’s all her. I’m just along for the ride and here to help.”
Smullen said she read about a Snack Shack in Wicomico and immediately thought of children in Worcester County.
“I know we have a lot of kids in this area that we need to reach and to meet them … where they are,” she said. “I think it gives them an opportunity to show us the things they really need and the things we can actually do for them. It’s really important to connect with the kids, because it will make a huge difference in their life, and in the community in general.”
She said the goal was to work with different groups, including civic organizations and churches in different areas.
“We thought, for the first time [in Berlin], it was important to have the mayor and police, and the people that they see every day in their community,” she said.
Williams praised the effort.
“I think this is another extremely good service that Worcester Youth and Family Counseling is providing for our local youth – and it’s especially nice to be able to participate on the last full day of school,” Williams said. “I just think that they’re constantly showing new ways in which the community can be involved with youth and our extended family.”
To inquire about participation in a future Bus Stop Snack Shack, contact Smullen at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 410 641-4598, or visit www.gowoyo.org.