Events & Announcements

Women Making a Difference Recognition
The Cumberland County Commission for Women will be honoring its “Women Making a Difference” individuals for 2013-2014 at the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners meeting on December 8, 2014 at 2 p.m. in the Commissioner’s Hearing Room, 2nd Floor of the Main Courthouse, Carlisle.
Mary Deitch, Elaine Livas, Dr. Holly Hoffman, Angie McKee, and Pat Craig have all been recognized for their individual distinctive contributions to their communities and beyond. These women represent leadership and service at their best. They will be honored by brief remarks and receive citations from the Commissioners.
Women Making a Difference

Spotlight on Mary Deitch: Women Making a Difference

The Cumberland County Commission for Women (CCCW) is pleased to nominate Mary Deitch as the recipient of this quarter’s Women Making a Difference in Cumberland County. The CCCW is a non-profit group that seeks to increase opportunities for women and girls in the County by identifying and promoting awareness of vital issues. Mary is an activist who has increased our awareness of the continuing pressures on local farm families and their impacts on the landscape of our County. 

How do you put a price tag on some of the most valuable property in all of Cumberland County? The soils in the County are some of the best in all of the US, and they are being covered with concrete and macadam at a fast pace. Local farms provide us with fresh and healthy food and produce; replenish our groundwater for drinking; cleanse and slow storm water runoff; help absorb air pollution; provide habitat for wildlife, trees and wildflowers; and preserve the charm and character of our past. They provide us with the opportunity to reconnect with the land and feel the primal peace that results from watching crops sway and herds graze. Farmland is highly desired for development because it is usually flat, drains well and is easily accessible. It takes thousands of years to produce fertile land, but the American Farmland Trust states that 2 acres of farmland are being lost every minute in the US to development. Mary Deitch made a stand, at a personal and financial cost, to protect her Cumberland County farmland from development.

Mary and her late husband Harry purchased their 128-acre farm in Silver Spring Township in 1948 and began to raise dairy cattle as well as corn, soybeans and grains. She says she didn’t grow up on a farm and had a lot to learn about taking care of cattle. It took a lot of strength – physical and emotional – to milk the cows twice every day and farm the land. But she and her husband loved the land. He once asked her not to put curtains up in the kitchen. He would rather see the view out the windows than see a curtain. 

But Mary’s husband fell ill and died in 1966. Within two months real estate agents began calling on Mary pestering her to sell the farm, and she had to ask her attorney to tell them to stop contacting her. Because Mary had promised her husband Harry that she wouldn’t sell their farmland. Instead she continued to farm the land as long as she could and later rented the land to other farmers.

For ten years Mary worked with Cumberland County officials to gain acceptance of her farm into the County’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program which would preserve and protect the farm from any possible future development. Cumberland County sets these funds aside to purchase easements on eligible County farms that have fertile soils and interested landowners. In 2013 her farm was officially recognized and protected under this program. Mary could have benefited financially from offers from developers; however, she chose to preserve the farm for future generations through the County’s Easement Program.
Spotlight on Elaine Livas: Women Making a Difference
The Cumberland County Commission for Women (CCCW) is pleased to announce Elaine Livas as the fourth person highlighted in the Women Making A Difference in Cumberland County series. Since 1999, the CCCW, a non-profit group, has sought to increase opportunities for women and girls in Cumberland County by identifying and promoting awareness of vital issues. 

Elaine Livas is the founder of Project SHARE (Survival Help And Recipient Education.) She started her mission in 1985 to help those in need. Spurred by a college “Appalachian Semester” in Kentucky, and a job at a Carlisle health mart, Elaine grew aware of the suffering of the poor. She realized that so many “folks were unprepared for life.” As a “witness to all this” she had to act. Backed by her faith, an undergraduate degree from Dickinson College and a Master’s Degree in Non-Profit Management from Eastern University, Elaine is now at the helm of an organization that, in her words, “reflects God’s abundance.”

Project SHARE provides food, money, and basic life assistance to more than 1000 families a month in Carlisle, Carlisle Springs, Mt. Holly Springs, Boiling Springs, Gardners, Plainfield, New Kingstown, and Middlesex. Of those needing assistance, about 20 percent are seniors and approximately 33 percent are children. Elaine noted that 70 percent are women. 

Along with food distribution, Project SHARE also operates a year round Farm Stand to provide fresh food to those in need. The farm food comes from 36 local farms and farm markets that donate or allow Project SHARE to glean their fields. Recipients and volunteers work side by side gathering the precious produce. Elaine is passionate about promoting healthy eating and nutrition, and spoke enthusiastically about the cooking classes offered to children and adults.

Additionally, local churches, civic groups, and businesses collect specifically requested food items that go into the warehouse for future distribution. Approximately 55 of these items eventually go into each donation. Elaine has noticed a “sense of pride” among the community as they work to help others. A cardboard recycling program also supports the many programs that the organization offers. 

Project SHARE provides food, diapers, and formula for babies, as well as, backpacks filled with food for the weekends for children who may not otherwise have enough to eat. Elaine remarked that the organization also offers Senior Boxes for adults who need additional assistance in obtaining food. 

One of Elaine’s latest projects is the fabrication of Personal Energy Transportation Vehicles, or PETS. Designed specifically for the disabled, these three-wheeled, hand-powered, bicycle-like vehicles have a platform for carrying several items. As PETS is an international organization, these vehicles are distributed free of charge in developing countries around the world. SHARE recipients and local volunteers make the vehicles in the Project SHARE warehouse as a way to give back to others. As Elaine noted, “we are just one spoke in a big wheel.” 

When asked where she would like to see Project SHARE in 5 years, Elaine stated that before she retires, she would like the organization to be able to purchase a near-by house where students could reside for 2 or 3 years to “live and work among the poor.” Although these serious and dedicated students would receive a small stipend, they would be accountable for learning and caring for those who struggle with hunger. 

This wonderful program serves so many people in our local area, and Elaine Livas is the woman behind this mission. Without the foresight of this very hard working and thoughtful woman, so many people would be hungry. She has battled illness and a devastating car accident, but she continues to work for those who are less fortunate. Elaine Livas is not only a role model, but she demonstrates integrity, character, courage, creativity, commitment, and leadership in her service to others. She is indeed, a woman making a difference.

Spotlight on Dr. Holly Hoffman: Women Making a Difference

The Cumberland County Commission for Women (CCCW) is pleased to announce Dr. Holly Hoffman as the third person highlighted in the Women Making A Difference in Cumberland County series. Since 1999, the CCCW as a non-profit group, seeks to increase opportunities for women and girls in Cumberland County by identifying and promoting awareness of vital issues. Dr. Hoffman, has touched many with her healing hands and heart – both locally and internationally.

Dr. Hoffman can be found wearing a white lab coat and a silver metal stethoscope in her medical exam rooms as a pediatrician with Carlisle Pediatric Associates. Many Carlisle children and parents have visited with Dr. Hoffman with medical emergencies or just yearly exams. She always lends an ear to small and large voices alike during these crucial visits.

As if the long hours of attending to the medical needs of children are not enough, Dr. Hoffman volunteers her services in a number of other arenas. A member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Carlisle, she serves as a Diaconal Minister where she tends to the spiritual, as well as, the physical needs of her parishioners. She also acts as a liaison between Dickinson College students and the St Paul congregation, inviting the students to participate in the activities of the church. Furthermore, Dr. Hoffman recently established the program “WAY” (Walking alongside Youth), where adults serve as mentors for young people.

As part of an effort to support people with disabilities, Dr. Hoffman participates in a monthly spiritual support group at Forest Park Nursing Home. She also is involved with Lutheran Advocacy Mission of PA, and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services. These two groups respectively advocate for enlightened and equitable public policy in Pennsylvania and offer assistance to migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees.

Additionally, Dr. Hoffman volunteers at a prenatal clinic run by Rev. Jody Silliker (RN) in Christ Lutheran Church, Harrisburg. The clinic is located in the Allison Hill area and is part of Holy Spirit Hospital’s Medical Outreach Program. Dr. Hoffman monitors and guides women during their pregnancies. Along with the prenatal visits, women obtain vitamins, lab tests, radiological services, and if necessary, additional referrals. All services are free of charge.

Dr. Hoffman also works with the Living Waters Dental Ministry, which provides preventive and emergency dental care to low-income patients, and to those who are uninsured. She collects and delivers dental supplies provided by members of St. Paul.

Together with her daughter, Dr. Hoffman travels to Kenya on medical missions to provide health care to those who would otherwise do without. They have another trip planned for the summer of 2014.

As a pediatrician, Dr. Hoffman could be satisfied with the knowledge that she cares for and maintains the health of children in the Carlisle area. Instead, she volunteers her time to care for those who are less fortunate. From her work inside St Paul Lutheran, to the clinics in the surrounding area, as well as overseas, Dr. Hoffman selflessly serves others to promote healing and healthy living. Dr. Hoffman is yet another woman who demonstrates integrity, character, courage, creativity, commitment, and leadership in her service to others. She truly is a woman making a very big difference.

Spotlight on Pat Craig: Women Making a Difference

The Cumberland County Commission for Women (CCCW) is pleased to select Pat Craig as the second person highlighted in the Women-Making-a-Difference in Cumberland County series. Since 1999, the CCCW as a non-profit organization seeks to increase opportunities for women and girls in Cumberland County by identifying and promoting awareness of pertinent issues. The CCCW believes that Pat Craig has demonstrated much integrity, character, courage, creativity, commitment and business leadership in Cumberland County. 

In 2005, Pat Craig purchased and renovated a commercial building in Carlisle as the location for her fine arts and framing studio as well as for other retailers. Her belief was that diversity within a shopping district would bring more visitors and business that would be shared by all. She believed that it would be easier for businesses to join forces and make their commercial neighborhood a destination source. Craig explains, "My research had shown how strength in numbers, a diverse mix of small businesses nestled together would naturally attract larger numbers of people, being a destination instead of s single shopping experience."

In 2007 Pat created the Pomfret Group, a licensed, not-for-profit organization consisting of neighborhood retailers, restaurant owners and associated businesses. Craig states, "Our initial goal was to join forces in advertising by pooling our dollars to buy bigger ads and selling our location as a downtown destination." Their purpose continues to find ways to beautify and revitalize downtown Carlisle, one neighborhood at a time, creating healthy, sustainable businesses. They have added park benches, outside game tables, window flower boxes, hanging flower baskets, additional community green space, sculptures, trash receptacles and more. Members partnered financially to give back to the community, and the group has been recognized for its civic responsibility.

In 2007 the fence separating their properties was removed opening the yards. Pat co-created "LIVE! Music in The Garden", a series of free concerts for the public every Saturday from June to September. Since then a patio, walkway, elevated performance stage and garden courtyard have ben added along with improvements to be wheelchair and handicap accessible. The outdoor BYOB concerts are very popular with area residents and with performing artists. 

Pat and the Pomfret Group continue to make improvements in their city and to give back to those in their larger neighborhood. Craig describes, "I think my greatest reward has been the positive feedback I receive from visitors and locals who come to our block and share their delight." The CCCW recognizes Pat Craig's many achievements and contributions to making Carlisle a better place to shop and to enjoy music in the garden.
Spotlight on Angie McKee: Women Making A Difference
The Cumberland County Commission for Women (CCCW) is pleased to announce Angie McKee as the first woman highlighted in the Women Making a Difference in Cumberland County series. Since 1999, the CCCW has sought to increase opportunities for women and girls in Cumberland County by identifying and promoting awareness of pertinent issues.

For the past 6 years, Angie McKee has served as the Intervention Counselor and Homelessness Liaison for Shippensburg Area School District, where she was instrumental in founding and facilitating a support group for pregnant teen parents. She continues to run several support groups to promote self-esteem and healthy relationships for middle school girls. 

Angie also volunteers her time in the community. In 2009, Angie and a group of “ad hoc” community stakeholders began to explore the need for a homeless shelter in Shippensburg. They reviewed data and conducted a needs assessment to form a centralized resource center that set in motion The Shippensburg Community Resource Coalition.

The Resource Coalition is a collaborative effort to provide safe and accessible social services and youth programming that recognize the dignity and worth of each person. For the last two years, Angie has served as the Board Chairperson for the Coalition, which serves children and families in Shippensburg, including a summer feeding program for low-income families, teen leadership training, and a partnership with the Franklin County Literacy Council. This summer, the Resource Coalition will continue to run the summer feeding program and will conduct a day camp for district students who are struggling with truancy issues. 

Currently, the Resource Coalition is working to obtain financial resources to expand programming. Angie’s dedicated work at the Coalition includes program administration, networking, and recruiting deserving children and families.

Angie is married and has two teen daughters. She enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and gardening, a glass of wine, and a good book. The CCCW salutes Angie McKee as the first person to be highlighted in our Women Making A Difference in Cumberland County series.
The Commission is currently seeking new members! Our only requirements are that you are:
  • a resident of Cumberland County
  • willing to participate actively in the Commission's work to increase opportunities for women and girls in Cumberland County
We are a nonpartisan organization that works on a number of women's issues.

Please contact Linda Thumma via email to find out how you can help. The application process is simple. Please download our Member Introduction Sheet (PDF) which you can fill out electronically, save and attach to your email inquiry. If you prefer, you can attach a resume instead. 

We can also send you a new member introduction sheet to fill out if you would prefer. Please include your mailing address in your inquiry or ask us to email it to you as an attachment. 

We look forward to hearing from you!