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Luzerne

Nutrition Links provides free classes for youth, adults and seniors in Luzerne County. Classes include hands-on activities and food tastings whenever possible.

Services Offered

In Luzerne County we provide classes to help limited income adults and senior citizens learn how to:
• Stretch food dollars
• Plan and prepare tasty, healthful meals
• Handle food in a safe manner
• Use SNAP benefits and other resources wisely
Participants must be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but don’t have to be currently receiving SNAP benefits. For some classes, participants must either be pregnant or have children under the age of 19. Adults with primary responsibility for care and feeding a child(ren) under age 19 are also eligible. Participants should be responsible for planning and preparing family meals.

We also work in selected schools and community locations to teach youth how to:
• Select low-cost nutritious foods
• Prepare healthy foods
• Handle food in a safe manner
• Eat a variety of foods
• Increase physical activity

All classes for youth, adults and senior citizens are free. Classes include hands-on activities and food tastings whenever possible.
Contact our staff in your county to join a class!

Impact Reports

In FY16 we provided classes to 480 senior and adult participants reaching 1,038 family members.

  • 77% of surveyed participants showed improvement in one or more food resource management practices (i.e. plans meals, compares prices, does not run out of food or uses grocery lists).
  • 92% of surveyed participants showed improvement in one or more nutrition practices (i.e. plans meals, makes healthy food choices, prepares foods without adding salt, reads nutrition labels or has children eat breakfast).
  • 74% of surveyed participants showed improvement in one or more of the food safety practices (i.e. thawing and storing foods properly).
  • Average cost savings on food per family/ per month:$53.

We also provided classes to 184 school age youth.

  • 60% Children and youth improved their abilities to choose foods according to Federal Dietary Recommendations.
  • 49% Children and youth use safe food handling practices more often.
  • 27% Children and youth improved their physical activity practices.

County Contacts

  • Mary C. Belanchik provides research-based nutrition education to low income audiences in Luzerne County. Her educational programs help individuals, families, and youth with limited resources, enhance their education, increase their physical activity and develop life skills needed for self-sufficiency and better health. The classes are provided at no cost to eligible participants at housing developments, food pantries, Career Links, and other human service agencies reaching the low-income audience. Classes include hand-on activities and cooking demonstrations to enhance the learning process. The content promotes USDA's Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • One of the main goals is to help participants better manage the resources available to them, such as SNAP benefits, the WIC program food package, and items from local food pantries.
  • Mary C. Belanchik also provides nutrition education to eligible youth to promote healthy eating, increase physical activity, and develop the skills necessary to select and prepare low-cost nutritious foods. Youth programs are conducted in schools, after-school settings, day camps and summer feeding programs.
  • As Part of Penn State Extension Nutrition Links, Mary C. Belanchik is helping improve the quality of life for vulnerable citizens in Pennsylvania.


888-825-1701

Areas of Expertise:
  • Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)
  • Extension Educator, Food, Families & Health


888-825-1701

Areas of Expertise:
  • Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)
  • PA Nutrition Education TRACKS (SNAP-Ed)

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Luzerne

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