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Braving The Cold For A Polar Plunge January 15, 2019

It takes a special person to willingly run into the frigid waters of the Susquehanna River in February, but year after year the York County Polar Plunge draws a sizeable crowd of willing "plungers" - as the participants are affectionately dubbed. The 11th annual York County Polar Plunge is set to take place from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2, along the Susquehanna River in front of John Wright Restaurant, 234 N. Front St., Wrightsville.

Not only are folks willing to dip into the waters amidst sometimes freezing temperatures, many go all out and participate in the annual costume contest. "Last year the winner of the most original (costume) was a tree," recalled organizer Robyn Liggins-Smith, adding that the costume contest is her favorite portion of the event. "We have superheroes, ballet dancers, swimsuits, Hawaiian dancers, Where's Waldo ... just about anything you can think of has joined in the costume contest," Liggins-Smith shared.

York Revolution mascot DownTown joins the fun each year by helping to entertain the crowd, going so far as to actually plunge in his costume. Another staple is the team that starts the waves of plungers - made up of current and retired police officers from throughout York County and led by Lt. Dan Aikey of the York County Police Department.

Registration and sign-in will open at 9:30 a.m., followed by opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. and the costume parade and contest at 10:45 a.m. Awards will be given for the best costume and most original costume.

Plungers will begin assembling in waves around 11:45 a.m., and the plunge will start at noon. Special Olympics PA York County (SOYC) athletes will lead each wave of participants to the river. Plungers may dip in just a toe or go all in for a total of three minutes.

Heated tents will be set up for participants to change into dry clothes afterward. Coffee, hot chocolate, water, and snacks will also be available.

To register in advance - which organizers recommend for anyone interested in avoiding waiting in long lines - as an individual or a team, readers may visit www.specialolympicsyorkcounty.org. "There is no cost to register - everyone and anyone can plunge," explained Liggins-Smith. "However, this is a fundraiser, so we ask that you get sponsors." Participants who raise at least $25 will receive a T-shirt, and those who raise at least $100 will receive a hooded sweatshirt. Golden Plunger awards - which are actually golden plungers - are given to the individual and the team that have raised the most money.

All proceeds will support the 360 athletes of the SOYC, which provides year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The Polar Plunge helps to ensure that all training and competition opportunities continue to provided free of charge to the SOYC athletes and their families. The 15 sports programs are supported by hundreds of volunteers and contributions from the community.

Anyone who would like to contribute toward SOYC without taking a dip in the icy cold river is welcome to donate at the aforementioned website or to attend as a chicken plunger - someone who supports the plunge but does not go into the water. The infamous chicken dance, set for 11:15 a.m., will be performed by all of the chicken plungers in attendance.

Liggins-Smith said that last year's 10th anniversary Polar Plunge raised a total of $76,000 for SOYC. "The weather was actually nice, if you consider 34 degrees nice, and that was the air temperature," recalled Liggins-Smith. "The water temperature was about 21 degrees." Nevertheless, approximately 750 plungers stepped up - or into - the challenge.

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Women's Club Announces 2019 Grant Program January 10, 2019

The Women's Club of Manheim has announced details of its 2019 Grant Program. The club will award grants of up to $1,000 to nonprofit organizations serving Manheim and the Manheim community. Interested individuals and organizations may find the one-page application for the grants on Facebook by searching for "The Women's Club of Manheim" or request an application by emailing wcgrants@gmail.com.

Grant applications are due on Friday, Feb. 15. Information for submitting the grant application can be found on the application. Winners of the grants will be announced in March. Readers who would like more information about the grants may contact Kathy Bower at wcgrants@gmail.com or call 717-665-9141.

The Women's Club of Manheim, which has been in existence since 1937, is an organization of Manheim women committed to friendship, community service, and civic responsibility. The club is a nonprofit organization that contributes more than $10,000 each year to the Manheim community.

Projects and organizations that received funding in the past include the Manheim Community Library Summer Reading Program, Secret Santa gifts for children in the Manheim Central School District, Aaron's Acres, Manheim Central High School (MCHS) post prom, Manheim Central Food Pantry, scholarships for female seniors at MCHS, Manheim Central Elementary Run for Fitness, Manheim banners, Pleasant View Retirement Community bingo, and activities for residents at The Danner Home.

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Harry's Heroes Team Raises Funds January 10, 2019

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Student Organizes Fundraising Events January 10, 2019

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) has announced its 2019 Students of the Year candidates, which include Logan Conrad of Elizabethtown. The program is a seven-week initiative in which select high school students from around the country participate in a fundraising competition to benefit LLS.

Logan, 14, is a freshman honors student at Elizabethtown Area High School. He is a member of the soccer team and participates in Mini-THON, chess club, and Model UN. He has become involved with LLS because he would like fewer families to be affected by cancer.

The campaign began on Jan. 13 and will run through Saturday, March 2. Logan's fundraising page is available at http://tinyurl.com/llsconrad.

Logan is organizing a cornhole tournament fundraising event, slated for Thursday, Jan. 17, at 5 p.m. at Funk Brewing, 28 S. Market St., Elizabethtown. A portion of the proceeds will go to LLS. To register, readers may visit https://tinyurl.com/CPAkillscancer-funk.

In addition to this event, Logan plans to organize events at school to engage his peers, place donation boxes at several local businesses, and organize other fundraising activities.

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Go Red For Women Luncheon Planned January 8, 2019

The American Heart Association, a voluntary organization focused on heart and brain health, invites women from across York County to celebrate National Wear Red Day at the York Go Red for Women Luncheon. The annual luncheon to raise awareness and funds to fight heart disease in women has been set for Friday, Feb. 1, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Out Door Country Club, 1157 Detwiler Drive, York.

Comedian and heart disease survivor Rubi Nicholas will be the featured keynote speaker. Nicholas is a single mom and stand-up comedian who was selected as the winner of the nationally televised series "The Search for the Funniest Mom in America," which featured comedic challenges. She also launched Lanc Out Loud, a stand-up comedy and improv theater project in Lancaster. Her humor incorporates her ethnic heritage, her family life as a single mother of teenage daughters and her work in health care. She has said her cardiac diagnosis changed her life, outlook and plans for the future.

Guests will also hear from registered nurse dietitian Joni Rampolla of Giant Foods about the importance of smart eating for better heart health. The event will include a heart-healthy lunch. Television news anchor Amy Lutz will serve as the master of ceremonies.

The luncheon is chaired by Samantha Stover, a registered nurse at WellSpan Health. Proceeds from the event, which include live and silent auctions and the Open Your Heart appeal, will benefit the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women movement.

For more information about the Go Red for Women Luncheon or to purchase tickets, readers may visit www.heart.org/yorkpagored or contact Deb Landis at 717-730-1739 or Wade Markel at 717-495-4691.

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Tree Decorating Contest Supports Nonprofits January 3, 2019

The Lancaster Barnstormers hosted Christmas Tree Lane at the baseball team's home stadium on the weekends from Nov. 30 through Dec. 23, 2018. The event's purpose was to aid community nonprofits that support vital and worthwhile causes. Ninety-five local businesses and families sponsored trees to raise funds to assist in the effort.

Visitors were invited to vote on their favorite tree or charity by purchasing tickets to place in ballot boxes by each tree. The event raised $19,513, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the nonprofits represented. The Lancaster Barnstormers added $10,000 to this amount, bringing the total raised to nearly $30,000.

The Humankind Foundation tree finished in first place, receiving 4,352 votes. The Humankind Foundation also received an additional $5,000 from the Lancaster Barnstormers, for a total of $9,352. A Tail to Tell Puppy Mill Rescue received 2,265 votes, plus $3,000 from the Lancaster Barnstormers for a total of $5,265. Walking Forward Together received 2,232 votes, plus $2,000 from the Lancaster Barnstormers, for a total of $4,232.

Some of the other trees received more than 1,000 votes or more than 500 votes. Many trees received more than 100 votes.

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Cancer Society Receives Donation December 27, 2018

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Holiday Open House Raises Funds December 26, 2018

A Holiday Open House was held on Dec. 1 at the Victorian home of Nadine and Brad Askey in York. The purpose of the event was to raise funds to help Sunshine Foundation to support the dream of Eliza, a Wrightsville 15-year-old with Down syndrome who wishes to visit the theme parks in Florida.

The event, which featured a fully decorated holiday home, face painting for children, baked goods, crafters, and a prize drawing, raised nearly all the funds needed for Eliza to go on the trip. Sunshine Foundation president Kate Sample was slated to be in attendance, as were Eliza, her mother, and her brother.

Sunshine Foundation's sole purpose is to answer the dreams of chronically ill, seriously ill, physically challenged, and abused children ages 3 through 18 whose families cannot fulfill their dream requests due to the financial strain that the child's illness may cause. The Askey family's son, Bradley, is autistic and had his dream funded in 2014 through Sunshine Foundation.

To learn more about Sunshine Foundation, readers may visit www.sunshinefoundation.org.

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Power Packs Gears Up For Extraordinary Give December 21, 2018

Lancaster Power Packs Project, 1006 New Holland Ave., Lancaster, provides recipes for low-cost meals, along with the ingredients needed, so that parents may feed their children over the weekend and learn to cook their own affordable and nutritious meals. The program is dependent on local donations to reach families in more than a dozen county school districts.

"We do not believe in hosting a gala," said Kim McDevitt, executive director of Lancaster Power Packs Project. Instead, the organization holds a yearly Stay-At-Home Gala and depends on the funds it raises as part of the Extraordinary Give. "(The Extraordinary Give) is our largest fundraiser of the year," said McDevitt, who added that the organization would like to add 700 new donors through this year's Extraordinary Give, which will take place on Friday, Nov. 17.

Power Packs has grown significantly in recent months. "We have grown because there are more families in need," said McDevitt, who noted that the program has expanded into Lebanon and doubled the number of staff. McDevitt noted that all funds raised in Lancaster will be used for the Lancaster programs.

Community helping community is a fundamental element of Power Packs, and McDevitt is aware of how much the program means to local families. "I see children running for their Power Packs on a Thursday, and I hear teachers sharing with me that students ask them, if it's Power Packs day," she stated. "That tells me the children look forward to the Power Packs and that there is a need."

In addition to anecdotal evidence, McDevitt presented statistics on the importance of the Power Packs program. "Seventeen percent of children in Lancaster County are experiencing food insecurity," she said. "That's 2,300 children."

A number of the families helped by Power Packs are eligible for food stamps, but approximately 35 percent are not. "We are able to help that 35 percent because we have a higher income eligibility requirement," explained McDevitt, adding that often members of those families are working several jobs to try to make ends meet.

McDevitt also emphasized that the program reaches families at a time when they have a particular need. "We provide weekend nutrition to families in need, so when a child does not have access to free and reduced lunch, they are able to have good meals with their family members." Power Packs also involves providing more than food. "There's an educational component because ... we are providing a recipe for a meal that costs $6 or less, so the family can learn to cook during the week as well," McDevitt said.

The Extraordinary Give represents a special type of fundraising event for McDevitt. "We like to celebrate the day and see it as a holiday for Lancaster County when community members come together and give to the causes that are important to them," she said. "On that day there is a higher (level) of positive energy. It's such a feel-good experience."

To encourage area residents to support Power Packs, McDevitt noted that donations need not be large to make an impact. "Just $25 can feed a family (each weekend) for an entire month, and $75 can feed a child every weekend for an entire year," she said.

This year, every dollar donated at ExtraGive.org on Nov. 17 will be stretched by funds from the Lancaster County Community Foundation and other local contributors. During the event, readers who would like to donate to Power Packs Project may visit https://extragive.org and search for "Power Packs Project." Individuals who would like to learn more about Power Packs may visit www.powerpacksproject.org.

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HayLoft Ice Cream Supports Allegany Boys Camp December 20, 2018

Many area children and their parents will remember visiting HayLoft Candles at 95 S. Groffdale Road, Leola. For years, the location was the site of a petting zoo and a place to buy ice cream treats and scented candles.

In the spring, HayLoft Ice Cream, at the same location, became a nonprofit organization raising funds to help troubled boys find success. "We opened May 14 with the sole purpose of supporting the Allegany Boys Camp," explained Merv Lapp, manager of HayLoft, who added that all the on-site staff except the managers are volunteers.

Allegany Boys Camp, located in Oldtown, Md., was founded in 2011 as an expansion of Bald Eagle Boys Camp in Mill Hall, Pa. "They cater to troubled boys ages 9 to 16, and they work with them for up to two years," said Lapp. Allegany operates with the understanding that all young men wish to succeed, but that all boys may not have the emotional tools needed to control behavior when faced with challenging events. In a wilderness setting, campers learn how to build their own shelter, where they may live for up to two years. Physical resources to build the structure and firewood for heat and cooking are provided. HayLoft has a structure built by the boys on display so customers can get an idea of how the boys live. "A group of the boys came up here and put that together for us," noted Lapp.

While at Allegany, the boys learn to build relationships as well as shelter. Campers are counseled and supervised by Christian men, and positive peer pressure is encouraged as successes and failures are evaluated. Hands-on learning experiences are offered, along with team-building exercises and support in the development of healthy relationships. "They (work at) problem solving as a group," said Lapp, who described regular meetings called "powwows," where campers discuss their day and learn to work through problems. "Each camper sets goals to work toward," added Lapp.

Bald Eagle Boys Camp is supported by an eatery in Mill Hall called the Ice Shack, and now Allegany has HayLoft, which sells Italian ice made on the premises, along with 16 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream. "We have soft-serve in vanilla, chocolate, and twist," said Lapp, who added that gelato, sundaes, milkshakes, and ice shakes are also featured on the dessert menu.

The offerings at HayLoft are not restricted to sweet treats, however. "We have salads and yogurt parfaits," said Lapp, who stated that sandwich wraps and soup will likely be added during the winter months. Soft pretzels are made at the facility, and pretzel sandwich flavors including chicken and ranch, ham and cheese sandwiches, pepperoni, and hot dog are on the menu.

In the shop, HayLoft sells a variety of scented candles as in the past, but other items are available as well, including books, dipping mustards, and old-fashioned types of candy. Outside a duck pond is featured, and visitors may purchase pellets to feed the water fowl. Lapp noted that plans for the location include adding a playground on one corner of the property.

HayLoft began the transition to a nonprofit entity when Dave Yoder, who owned the ice cream shop and still owns the building, approached the Allegany Boys Camp board and asked if the group wanted to utilize the building. "It had been the vision of the board to do something like this," noted Lapp. The Allegany board set up a board of six to oversee the HayLoft project. One of the board members knew Lapp from church and asked if he would consider becoming the manager.

According to Lapp, HayLoft is currently open from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays, but he added that those hours will probably be adjusted during the winter months. Readers who wish to know more about HayLoft may visit www.haylofticecream.com or search for "HayLoft Ice Cream" on Facebook.

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"Mr. Donegal" Contest To Support Four Diamonds December 14, 2018

Donegal High School's Mini-THON is currently running a fundraiser called Mr. Donegal.

For the fundraiser, a court of senior male students, including Kyle Burger, Bailey Crager, Zion Gibbs, Dylan Martin, Nathan McNece, Dalton Mullhausen, Gavin Murren, Logan Nauman, Kevin Padilla, Joseph Piatt, and Porter Scott, will compete against one another to raise the most money throughout the month of December. The male who raises the most money will be crowned Mr. Donegal at Student Council's Sadie Hawkins Dance on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019.

The contestants were voted onto the court through an online form. During a talent show on Friday, Dec. 21, they will present a choreographed dance while singing to "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys. The performance is slated to be recorded and posted to the Donegal High School Facebook page.

The money raised from this event will go directly to Four Diamonds. Four Diamonds is an organization dedicated to aiding children with cancer through research, care, paying for medical bills, and more. Donegal High School's goal is to raise more than $10,000 for the cause through different fundraising efforts. The Mini-THON event will occur on Thursday, March 28, 2019, from 5 to 11 p.m., and it will be open to the community from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. For more information or to donate to any of the contestants, readers may visit https://fourdiamonds.donordrive.com/event/dhsminithon.

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Light Display Fundraiser Slated December 12, 2018

The Pennsylvania Wounded Warriors organization will benefit from the Light Up the Night Christmas light display at 205-235 Krone Road, Lewisberry. The lights will be on from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays through Sundays. In the case of inclement weather, the lights will be turned off.

Admission is free, but donations will be accepted for Pennsylvania Wounded Warriors.

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Fundraiser To Benefit Night To Shine December 7, 2018

Night to Shine will benefit from a fundraiser to be held at Isaac's at Granite Run Square, 1559 Manheim Pike, Lancaster, on Thursday, Dec. 13, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Funds raised will support the Grace Baptist Church Lancaster and Manheim Brethren in Christ Lancaster Collaboration of Night to Shine, a prom experience for adults and teenagers sponsored in part by the Tim Tebow Foundation.

Patrons who show the fundraiser flyer to their server or who display it on their phone will have a percentage of their food and beverage purchase donated to the cause. The flyer can be used for dine-in, takeout, and online orders. Those ordering online should use the coupon code FUND. A percentage of gift card sales will also support Night to Shine. To obtain the flyer, readers may visit www.facebook.com/NighttoShine.GBCLancaster/.

More information is available at www.gbclancaster.org/night2shine.

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Gifts Sought To Fight Pediatric Cancer December 7, 2018

Ryan's Birthday Party Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the mission to "Help Kids With Cancer Smile," is currently raising funds for a pediatric brain cancer research grant.

The foundation is partnering with Live Like Lukas to provide a matching grant to Nemours AI duPont Children's Hospital. The foundation is aiming to provide $25,000, with Live Like Lukas donating $50,000; this $75,000 will be matched at Nemours for a total of $150,000.

A total of $16,000 toward the foundation's $25,000 donation was raised at its Denim and Diamonds event on Sept. 30. The community is invited to donate to fund the remaining $9,000.

Community members may help decorate the foundation's virtual Giving Tree by making a donation at www.ryansbirthdayparty.com/donate or by giving to Ryan's Birthday Party Foundation Inc. via PayPal. Individuals may donate in honor of or in memory of a family member or other loved one. For every donation of at least $25, the foundation will add a new decoration to its online Christmas tree. The Christmas tree will remain on the website all year.

For more information on Ryan's Birthday Party Foundation, readers may visit www.ryansbirthdayparty.com.

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LDHL Launches Secret Santa Event December 6, 2018

Founded in 1961 as Citizen Scholarship Fund and changing its name to Dollars for Scholars of Lancaster County for a time, Lancaster Dollars for Higher Learning (LDHL) has always had one mission: that of helping county residents to attend college full time by providing interest-free loans.

"We offer a hand up, not a handout," said executive director Christie Livengood. She noted that LDHL has a 96 percent repayment rate. "Students pay (their loans) back because we're a local nonprofit and they know it matters. By paying it back, in turn, they help someone else."

LDHL gives loans once a year, and Lancaster County students attending an accredited program anywhere in the world full time may borrow money up to four years. Loans are not automatically renewed; borrowers must reapply every year. The amount awarded depends on how much money LDHL has received from community donors and student repayments; it has no endowment and receives no government funding. In August 2018, LDHL loaned $1,025,100 to 604 students.

"The more money we receive, the more money we can give out," Livengood remarked.

Thanks to community support, the maximum amount a student may borrow each year has increased to $1,700. The maximum student debt is currently $6,500, reported LDHL administrator Amy Heth. Borrowers have a six-month grace period after graduation before they must start repaying their loan at the rate of $100 a month.

LDHL officials hope that this holiday season folks will be inspired to participate in the organization's first-ever Secret Santa event, which aims to pay off a portion of students' debts anonymously.

"The general idea was suggested by board members," Livengood explained. "It's based off the idea of people paying off layaways (at superstores), school lunch accounts, and electric bills. We thought it was a cool concept and a unique way to donate during the holiday season."

Donations to LDHL are tax-deductible. Organizations and individuals may donate to Secret Santa through Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. All of the funds will be divided among the borrowers, with up to $500 of debt forgiven per person. That maximum amount was identified as the most LDHL may forgive without borrowers having to pay taxes on the forgiven debt.

"We will use the money to pay off as many (debts) as possible," Livengood said.

The application process for the 2019-20 school year will open on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019.

Folks may learn more about Secret Santa or donate by visiting www.lancdollars.org. Those with questions may contact Livengood at 717-682-9194 or clivengood@lancdollars.org.

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Foundation Awards Grants November 30, 2018

Students in Penn Manor School District will create virtual tours of the Fulton Opera House, build robots for competitions, use drones to study agriculture and physics, and benefit from the expertise of a visiting book illustrator and a professional actress through projects funded by Venture Grants from the Penn Manor Education Foundation (PMEF).

For the 2018-19 school year, PMEF has awarded 47 grants totaling more than $55,000 - a record dollar amount - to a total of 46 teachers, counselors and principals at all 10 Penn Manor schools.

The projects range from $46 for models of planets for second-graders at Central Manor Elementary School to more than $5,000 for a classroom set of electronic goggles along with software to enable students to create and experience lessons in virtual and augmented reality.

Other grants will fund drones to be used in experiments and research in physics and agricultural education classes and a 3-D printing pen that will enable students to create and study three-dimensional molecules and cell parts.

A $3,500 grant will fund materials for the high school's robotics club, and other grants will send students to the Gettysburg National Military Park and the Museum of the American Revolution.

For the second year in a row, PMEF has awarded a $3,000 grant to help train a therapy dog for one of its schools - Hambright Elementary - following the success of a similar effort at Manor Middle School last year.

Grants also will pay for alternative seating, including camp chairs, standing desks, yoga mats and balance balls, at several schools. And several grants will be used to purchase foreign language reading materials and graphic novels.

Since 2000, PMEF has awarded more than 800 teacher Venture Grants of more than $850,000, providing learning opportunities that teachers and schools could not fund on their own.

Erika McLaughlin, a Marticville Middle School teacher, received a $700 grant to equip her classroom with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) materials.

In addition to its Venture Grant program, PMEF supports Penn Manor students and families experiencing financial and emotional difficulties through its Strong & Healthy Families initiative. It also administers more than 50 annual scholarships for graduating Penn Manor High School seniors totaling more than $60,000.

More information is available at www.pennmanoredfoundation.org.

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Farmland Trust Holds Annual Dinner November 30, 2018

Lancaster Farmland Trust celebrated its 30th anniversary at its annual dinner on Oct. 23. More than 230 friends, farmers and supporters attended to honor three decades of land preservation in Lancaster County. The event, which was held at the Eden Resort and Suites, raised $150,000 for farmland preservation in Lancaster County.

Event attendees heard from Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding about the value of farmland and the partnership that has been forged between county government and Lancaster Farmland Trust to save farmland. Redding and state Rep. Keith Greiner presented citations to Lancaster Farmland Trust in recognition of 30 years of farmland preservation.

The highlight of the evening was Lancaster Farmland Trust's annual Acres for Auction at which attendees entered "bids" to preserve a farm. During this year's successful "auction," the organization raised enough money to preserve a 155-acre farm in West Cocalico Township.

In the past year, Lancaster Farmland Trust preserved 10 farms. Five of those farm families were on hand to accept a token of appreciation for their commitment to farmland preservation. During the evening's festivities, the Trust honored its other contributors and volunteers.

The Amos Funk Spirit of Cooperation Award was presented to the Ressler Mill Foundation for its support of farmland preservation in the Mill Creek watershed. The Benefactor of the Year Award was awarded to G. Donald and Marilyn Hess for their leadership support of the Trust's current and future programs.

The Darvin Boyd Service to Agriculture Award was presented to Frank Ludwig, longtime volunteer for the Trust and preserved farm owner, for his efforts to preserve farmland in Earl Township by establishing the Earl Township Farmland Preservation Trust. The Volunteer of the Year Award went to John Martin of John Martin Photography for capturing Lancaster Farmland Trust's mission through his photographs.

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OneRunTogether Holds Fundraising Dinner November 28, 2018

OneRunTogether (ORT), a nonprofit organization that provides spiritual and financial support to cancer patients undergoing treatment, recently held its fourth annual fundraising dinner and silent auction at the Downingtown Country Club. The organization raised $32,000 during the event, which was attended by more than 150 guests.

"We raised $2,000 more than last year, so we were pleased with that," said Vernon Murphy, ORT founder and executive director. He noted that because local businesses sponsored the cost of the evening, the entire amount of the night's donations will be able to go directly to help cancer patients.

In addition to the meal, the event included a silent auction where attendees placed bids on items such as artwork, gift baskets, gift certificates, Flyers tickets and more.

Cynthia Weaver, a cancer patient who has received funds from ORT, and her husband, Hermond, were guest speakers at the dinner. Cynthia is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Murphy also shared his vision and motivation for starting the ministry after losing his wife, Beth, to breast cancer in 2009. He explained that the name of the organization refers to the 5K runs that are held by ORT throughout the year, along with other fundraisers. The charity's motto is "OneRunTogether - so no one fights cancer alone."

Those interested in seeking funds while undergoing treatment may complete an application at www.oneruntogether.org by clicking on Patient Grant Application. ORT's board of directors reviews all applications, which must be signed and submitted by an oncologist or a certified professional. After an application is approved, bills are submitted for direct payment.

Murphy personally delivers the grant money to patients throughout Berks and Chester counties, and he spends time with each of the cancer patients. He also presents them with a Bible.

"I end up being more blessed talking to the people. I have gotten so many amazing reactions," he stated. "It (may be easier) to mail a check, but they appreciate the fact that someone comes to see them."

Since 2011, more than 275 patients have received help with rent, mortgage payments, utility bills and medical costs. "More than 300 grants have been given," said Murphy, noting that some patients have received more than one grant. "People can apply once a year as long as they are going through treatment and meet financial qualifications." He added that most grants cover costs associated with rent, mortgage and utilities.

ORT holds various fundraising events throughout the year, such as its annual "Hard to the Core" 5K Mud Run at Weaver's Orchard in Morgantown. "This past year we had our first annual Creamery Hustle 5K at the Penn State Berks Campus on Mother's Day weekend," Murphy said, noting that next year's schedule is currently being finalized.

A goal of the organization is to involve more churches that can follow up with the cancer patients and minister to them on an ongoing basis. "We would also love to give more grants (in) higher amounts," he said, adding that donations are accepted year-round at the ORT website.

For more information about ORT or to donate, readers may visit www.oneruntogether.org or www.facebook.com/oneruntogether. The Facebook page contains photos of the patients helped by OneRunTogether and their stories.

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Foundation Seeks Help November 27, 2018

The World Forgotten Children Foundation (WFCF) is celebrating its 15th year of supporting projects that promote the health and welfare needs of orphaned children with disabilities in developing countries. Throughout its 15 years, WFCF has assisted numerous orphanage facilities and group homes for these children around the world.

WFCF is inviting organizations that support these communities to submit their projects for funding consideration to WFCF. The goal is to reach out to as many communities in need as possible anywhere around the world, regardless of ethnicity, background, belief and culture. Projects in the past have included transportation for children to and from appointments, as well as the purchase of critical medical/mobility equipment such as sleep aid systems, hearing aids, shower chairs and walkers.

For more information, readers may email inquiries@world-forgotten-children.org.

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DFCA Seeks Community Support November 23, 2018

The Donegal Fish and Conservation Association's (DFCA) nursery was devastated during the recent flooding. The water washed out the entrance to the nursery, the gravel and ground cover over the drainage system, and the new screens just built and placed by a local Eagle Scout.

With the screens off of the top of the nursery, all of the fish were washed into the pond that the natural spring feeds into. Nursery walls caved in due to the water pressure, and the gravel from the drainage system filled the raceway, blocking water flow and pushing the fish out of the raceway. The DFCA shed, full of fish food, tools, and more, was lifted and floated down the nursery and across the pond to the dam on the opposite side.

With the help of the nursery land owner, the DFCA recovered all of the screens and many items that were essential to rearing fish and was able to retrieve the shed from the dam. The organization cannot put the shed back until the entrance is rebuilt.

The impact of the flooding has interrupted the growth curve of the fish that the DFCA raises for its Kids Fishing Derby every spring and stocking of the creek in the upcoming year. The organization notes that it may not have enough fish to sponsor the derby in 2019 and that stockings may not be available for a couple of years.

The DFCA is asking for support from the community to help rebuild the nursery. Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/dfca-restoration-from-flood-of-2018. More information is available on the DFCA's Facebook page. For more information, including where to mail donations, readers may email donegalfish@gmail.com.

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