The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

September 21, 2013

Tasty treats help ease flood loss

Justin Dennis
jdennis@tribdem.com

NORTHERN CAMBRIA — When Northern Cambria School District buildings flooded over Labor Day weekend, many supplies that educators use daily were contaminated, causing a quarter-million dollars in water damage.

Although much of the damage was insured, Northern Cambria resident Ashley Edmiston said she knows there was much lost that won’t be covered; much was paid for out of the teacher’s pockets.

That’s when she got to baking.

“Cookies for Kindergarten,” a fundraising drive that got its start on Edmiston’s Facebook page, already has produced more than $1,500 for district teachers and kept her busy for the last few weeks. She said brainstorming through social media led her to the idea. It also led to others who wanted to help.

“There were probably 20 people within half an hour that said they would bring me stuff the next day,” she said.

Edmiston, who has three elementary-age daughters in the district, said she made

51 dozen – roughly 600 cookies – before the football home opener. They sold out, and she’s still filling back orders for those who ordered by the dozen.

“I’m kind of known for baking around my area,” she said.

She’s now being urged by community members to make her confections a staple at all local sporting events. Edmiston also said a basket auction-type event could be in the works. More sales means more money to support area educators in a time of need.

“I think people don’t really understand how much people pay out of pocket for a lot of the stuff they get for their classrooms,” she said. “Everyone’s ready to raise funds for sports and different activities, but no one’s there for the teachers.

“In my opinion, that’s the most important part.”

Aside from the dough she’s making for the district out of dough she baked in her oven, Edmiston said local area businesses have made donations: The Slovak American Citizen’s Club, Valeria’s Market, The Polish Legion, The Women’s Auxiliary of Barnesboro American Legion Post 508, The Sons of the Legion, CNB Bank and S&T Bank.

“Typical Ashley – she just rolled up her sleeves and got to work to help get the kids back to a normal school life as soon as possible,” said Francine Filkins, economic development chairwoman with the Northern Cambria Area Business Alliance.

“How do you tell kids that you have to wait a few months before you can continue to enjoy your school day?” she said.

But Edmiston asserted that it wasn’t a one-woman show. Several community members rallied behind her and the district’s faculty members.

 “I never would have been able to do this on my own unless others were able to package cookies, help sell cookies or donate ingredients.”

Northern Cambria community members also stepped up when Coal Country Daycare was soaked with 4 to 5 inches of water during the flooding.

First General Services of Ebensburg helped get the waterlogged space clean, Bobik’s Home Center in Northern Cambria donated wood for new walls, toy drives were held at Repeat After Me and Valeria’s Market and the local Slovak Club held a charity spaghetti dinner.

The daycare is hoping to reopen on Monday.



Justin Dennis covers Northern Cambria for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/ JustinDennis.