Two NEPA non-profits vie for share of $1M prize in online contest


FORTY FORT, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — With the help of the community, two local non-profits may have to figure out what to do with an extra $25,000 from a national online contest.

Wyoming Valley Children’s Association is one of those non-profits. The executive director here says winning the prize money would have a profound impact on this facility and its students.

A hands-on experience filling up toy construction vehicles with beans helps 5-year-old Timothy work on his fine motor skills at Wyoming Valley Children’s Association.

So is 5-year-old Trajan. They are among 140 Wyoming Valley Children’s Association students who stand to benefit from an online contest called State Farm Neighborhood Assist. The school is among 200 finalists in the contest with the top 40 vote-getting organizations each getting $25,000.

“We would be using the funding for operating costs and to offset tuition costs. And now, you know, running a school during a pandemic is an extreme, you know, extra cost. The extra cleanliness and extra supplies for the school so to have it during this time would be extremely helpful,” said the executive director of Wyoming Valley Children’s Association, Nina DeiTos Zanon.

It’s the same reaction at the Greater Scranton YMCA, the only other organization from northeastern and central Pennsylvania in the running for the State Farm funding. The “Y” says it would use the funding to expand its food program, which currently caters to 300 early education students, and include other children, seniors and veterans.

“I think COVID brought to our attention that there is a lot of food insecurity in our area so it’s important to us to take care of those who need taking care of,” said Jen Ricci who is a board member of the Greater Scranton YMCA.

Besides being a Greater Scranton YMCA board member, Jen Ricci is also a State Farm agent.

“All of my passions are all tied into this grant,” said Ricci.

State Farm plans to notify the 40 top vote-getting non-profits in September that they’ve won and since the contest started, the Greater Scranton YMCA has been lagging while WVCA has been hovering right around the final cut.

“There’s still a number of days to go so we need every vote that we can get,” said Zanon.

The State Farm Neighborhood Assist contest ends this Friday night at 11:59, head to Neighborhood Assist to vote.

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