by Geoff Fox
In early 2020, Martha’s House closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and remained closed for two years until March 2022 when it was reopened for a March birthday party.
And looking forward, there are a number of events scheduled between September 7 and December 13.
Interfaith Service Coalition Director Deborah Cohill said Martha’s House had been closed the two years as a precaution to make sure the facility wouldn’t be a super-spreader with having all the kids present.
“We’re starting to get our stride again,” Cohill said.
Before the pandemic closed Martha’ s House, they were trying to figure out what worked and since reopening, Cohill said it’s like ISC is starting over after being closed so long.
Cohill said it was posted on Martha’ s House’ s social media page asking families what they’d like to see at the facility and those suggestions are being taken advantage of.
Also on their social media page is a list of the events over the next three months.
Those events are: September 7 – Game Night September 13 – Community Birthday Party September 21 – Back to School Book Bingo
October 13 – Kids Paint Nite
October 18 – Community Birthday Party
October 25 – Halloween Party
November 1 – Minute to Win It Nite
November 12 – Mom/Son Dance
November 15 – Community Birthday Party December 3 – Christmas Cookie Baking Day December 7 – Gingerbread House Decorating
December 10 – Elf School December 13 – Community Birthday Party
“We’re still filling in,” Cohill said about events during that time period.
When it comes to numbers for attendance, Cohill said they’re right where they want them to be, but it’s hard to compare to the pre-pandemic numbers as Martha’ s House was still getting started at the end of 2019 and into February of 2020.
The kids are loving the Martha’s House, Cohill said, as are the parents who are surprised at the facility’s theater in the basement.
She told of a parent who told her the theater at Martha’s House was “the best hidden secret in Hancock.”
“I said, ‘but I didn’t want it to be a secret so tell all your friends with kids,’ ” Cohill said. “We want people to come out for it.”
The summer movie series is over for the year. Each was sponsored by a local business and served a meal before the movie and ice cream after. The sponsorship was for only manpower and not financially.
Recently, Martha’s House asked the community for ideas and one of the ideas was for a kids’ paint night, which will be held October 13.
Cohill said other ideas from the past, such as Minute to Win It, are coming back. This was a big hit, she added.
“That was a great, great success,” she said.
One of her favorite activities is also coming back in the form of Elf School on December 10.
Cohill described it as an original ISC program made up by the office manager and Cohill.
“We actually used the Park N Dine because we were able to spread out tables, spread people out,” Cohill said. “That was a big success.”
In that program, Elf School tells kids how to be an elf by selecting their elf name, how to be a good elf, how to talk like an elf, practicing elf singing voices, eight different “elf jobs,” decorating sugar cookies, and coloring an elf.
Cohill said when the kids “graduate” from Elf School, they have to stand and take an elf oath.
“It’s great fun,” she said.
If there is good enough turn out, Cohill said she’d extend the program a second day.
Cohill said there’d be other holiday themed events lined up as well.
Cohill said after the sports seasons wind down, there’ s an increase in the participation as well as families from Pennsylvania and West Virginia coming over as well.
“Everybody is welcome,” Cohill said.