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Center To Open Enrollment January 16, 2018

The Parent and Preschool Center, located at Mellinger Mennonite Church, 1916 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, provides opportunities for both parents and students. The school will begin accepting student applications for the 2018-19 school year starting on Monday, Jan. 29.

The center will also hold an open house for prospective families to visit the preschool from 9:15 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 7 and 8. Other hours of visitation can be arranged by calling 717-397-5717.

Classes are for children who will be ages 2 through 5 as of Saturday, Sept. 1. The school offers half-day sessions on one, two, or three days per week for children ages 2 through 5. In addition, a full-day prekindergarten program is offered from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on two or three days per week. Financial assistance is available depending on need.

The school strives to provide a loving and caring environment where students develop social skills, learn Bible stories, and become prepared academically for kindergarten. Keeping a close working relationship with the local schools is a priority as the center helps the children transition into the next stage of their education experience.

The center also provides a parent group called Connections on Tuesdays at 9 a.m., with child care for infants through kindergartners provided. A total of 40 or more women of all ages meet to enjoy fellowship, food, speakers, crafts, and learning while their children are cared for under the supervision of the Kiddie Korner and Story Hour staff.

Since 1977, the center has welcomed hundreds of parents and children from various religious and cultural backgrounds. More information is available at and on Facebook. Applications may be downloaded from the website and mailed with the registration fee. Interested individuals may also contact Christine Stahl, director, at 717-397-5717 or for more information or to schedule a visit.


A Harvest To Share January 12, 2018

During the summers of 2016 and 2017, Sherri Patton of Zion Lutheran Church, 18 Quarry Road, Leola, oversaw the Leola Community Garden with help from Sue Orth, Zion's outreach director. During that time, the three raised beds and a plot of land have provided myriad vegetables to local food pantries and ministries, including Homes of Hope, Conestoga Valley Christian Community Services, and Breakout Ministries.

While Patton is thrilled that the project has been able to help meet the nutritional requirements of local families in need, she is more excited about the volunteers from local Scout troops, churches, and ministries who have helped with the project. "A lot of people have been a part of this," she said. "What it's about for me is everyone coming together and doing something good."

Patton's desire to start a garden has roots in her own family's challenges to live on one income and her interest in growing vegetables. "I have been a stay-at-home mom for seven years, and we have struggled financially," said Patton. "(My husband) worked two jobs, and ... food was one of our biggest issues. Getting good food when you're struggling financially is hard."

In 2012, Patton's family, which includes her husband, Ken, and children, Tristan and Addison, began volunteering for Homes of Hope. In February of 2016, the family began attending Zion Lutheran. "Through prayer, I had a vision (for a community garden)," said Patton, who shared her vision with Orth. The two women recruited their husbands to build two raised beds for the 2016 growing season. By the end of that summer, another raised bed and a garden plot, all located on church land, were providing vegetables.

Recruiting help to plant, weed, water, and harvest has not been difficult. Scouts from Troop 83 helped to move soil into the raised beds, and members of Cub Scout Pack 54, to which Patton's son belongs, have also lent a hand. "We have volunteers from Zion, from Calvary Church, and from Breakout Ministries," said Patton, who added that she has an email list of volunteers that she utilizes when help is needed.

While Patton said she has always been interested in gardening, she does not consider herself an expert. "I don't see myself as someone who has a green thumb," she said. "Growing corn is new to me. Growing squash is new to me. I just figure we'll try and see how it goes."

As the vegetables they have planted begin to ripen, Orth and Patton are excited to see the bounty that has grown. "I just picked 10 yellow squash," noted Orth, as Patton listed the types of vegetables growing in abundance. "We have carrots, onions, 10 types of peppers, and five or six types of tomatoes," Patton said.

Orth noted that enriching the diets of area residents has always been part of the plan. "We target ministries that deal with clients who don't have access to fresh produce," she said. "Breakout has a lot of members from the inner city."

As the harvest comes in, Patton is looking ahead to fall. "Behind where that corn is," she said, pointing to an area of the garden patch, "I would like to do a pumpkin patch and maybe (organize) something (involving pumpkins) for kids in the fall."

Patton also sees the garden as a teaching opportunity for her offspring. "I want my children to know that they can provide themselves with food and to learn about helping others," she said. "We have had a lot of help in the past few years, and I want to give back."

Patton added that the garden project can always benefit from more volunteers. Readers who wish to volunteer may contact the church at 717-656-9200. Individuals who want to learn more about the Leola Community Garden may search Facebook for "For the Love of Gardening."


Church Plans Cancer Support Group January 12, 2018

Hempfield United Methodist Church (HUMC), 3050 Marietta Ave., Lancaster, is offering "Living With Cancer," a new lunchtime support group that meets every other Tuesday from noon to 1:15 p.m. in Room 170. The group will continue to meet through May 8.

Participants may bring a bagged lunch and join cancer coach and counselor Brenda Coffin for this winter-spring support group. She serves as HUMC's minister of spiritual care and counseling and is also a cancer survivor.

The informal gatherings, which are educational, spiritual, and supportive in nature, will cover the mind, body, spiritual, and emotional aspects of facing and living with cancer. Personal testimonies from cancer survivors and group discussions are woven into the program. The public may to attend any or all sessions, which are geared toward those currently undergoing cancer treatment, those who serve in a supportive role as a cancer caregiver and friend, or those who are cancer survivors.

Future dates and topics will include Jan. 30, Preparing for Battle: Emotionally, Mentally, Socially, Relationaly; Feb. 13, Build A Healing Community / Caring Bridge; Feb. 27, Power of Prayer; March 13, Attitude Schmatitude: Mentally Fighting the Good Fight; March 27, Nutrition and Physical Exercise, with a guest speaker, recipes, and a food demonstration; April 10, Embracing Emotions; April 24, Visualization: "Peace Like A River" / Mindfulness; and May 8, Relationships: Toxic and Healthy.

For more information, readers may contact Coffin at 717-285-5156 or


Preschool's Boot Drive Aids Fire Company January 11, 2018

The Willow Street Fire Company recently received a donation of $263 from the students of Willow Street United Church of Christ (UCC) Preschool. Traditionally, the preschool supports a local organization during the month of December, and the fire company was selected as the most recent recipient. The students brought in pennies and other change to deposit in a fireman's boot during an in-house boot drive.

"Firefighters from the Willow Street Fire Company visit our preschool every year to teach the children about fire safety and fire prevention," said director Sue Henry. "This is our way of giving back to the fire company."

The preschool is now in its 37th year of operation, and Henry has been involved since the first year. She has overseen its growth from two classes to eight.

"We now have children of former students attend our preschool," Henry said.

Willow Street UCC Preschool aims to be a stepping stone to kindergarten. It provides children with an opportunity to spend time with children their own age and to socialize, share, and play together. Hands-on activities are offered so students can learn through play and exploration. Literacy, science, math, music, and physical activities are incorporated into the school days.

"Not only are students learning about the weather, the alphabet, colors, numbers, and how to write their name, they are also introduced to people in our communities and the concept of helping and caring for others," Henry said.

The preschool is located at 2723 Willow Street Pike (272 North) in the Willow Street UCC building and is open to children of all faiths and ethnic origins. Registration for the 2018-19 school year is now in progress. For more information about the preschool or to arrange a visit, readers may call Henry at 717-464-0720 or click on the preschool tab at


Preschool Posts News January 10, 2018

Christ Lutheran Preschool, 105 S. Main St., Shrewsbury, has openings in its afternoon classes for children ages 3 and 4. The classes will meet from 12:30 to 3 p.m.

Readers may contact Becky Stevenson at 717-235-0459 or or visit for more information.


Hope's Closet To Offer Items January 10, 2018

Hope's Closet at Pathway Community Church, 1731 W. Philadelphia St., York, will be open on Saturday, Jan. 20, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sales will be offered on men's and women's sweaters, vests, coats, and light jackets, which are available in sizes extra small through 3X. Infant, toddler and children's clothes, including outerwear, will also be available.

The Christmas shop will offer items at a 70 percent discount, including decorations, ornaments, gift items, and more. The children's room has been expanded to include games, books, toys, and more.

There will also be free clothing items available for people of all ages, along with free food items and bread.

For more information, readers may call Pathway Church at 717-793-8070, search for "Hope's Closet-York" on Facebook, or visit


Preschoolers Give To Others January 3, 2018

Prekindergarten students at Robeson Lutheran Preschool learned what it means to be thankful and think of others this holiday season. The students took part in a program called Stockings for Soldiers, which provides care packages to men and women serving in the military overseas.

The children spent a week collecting items such as toiletries, candy, books, and snack items, which were used to fill stockings. They wrote letters to the military personnel about their class and thanked them for their service. There were lessons about what it means to be thankful and how to show gratitude.

Teacher Melissa Thomas had wanted to do something different this holiday season to teach the children that it is important to give to others and let them know they are appreciated.

Robeson Lutheran Preschool is a ministry of Robeson Lutheran Church, 3520 Plow Road, Mohnton. For more information about the preschool, readers may call 610-856-7613 or visit


Grove UMC To Offer GriefShare January 3, 2018

Grove United Methodust Church (UMC), 490 W. Boot Road, West Chester, will offer GriefShare, an educational support group for people age 18 and up who have lost a loved one due to death on Wednesdays, Jan. 17 to May 16, from 7 to 9 p.m. There will be no sessions on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, and on March 28 during Holy Week.

The program aims to provide encouragement and practical help. Topics for discussion include Is This Normal?, Challenges of Grief, Grief and Your Relationships and Guilt and Anger, among others.

Free child care will be provided. Registration is requested, and there is a fee to cover the book and materials. Scholarships are available. Readers may contact the church office at 610-696-2663 or email pastor Lin George at to register.


Preschoolers Select Christmas Tree January 3, 2018


Hope's Closet To Offer Items December 27, 2017

Hope's Closet at Pathway Community Church, 1731 W. Philadelphia St., York, will be open on Saturday, Jan. 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sales will be offered on men's and women's sweaters, vests, coats, and light jackets, which are available in sizes extra small through 3X. Infant, toddler and children's clothes, including outerwear, will also be available.

The Christmas shop will offer items at a 70 percent discount, including decorations, ornaments, gift items, and more. The children's room has been expanded to include games, books, toys, and more.

There will also be free clothing items available for people of all ages, along with free food items and bread.

For more information, readers may call Pathway Church at 717-793-8070, search for "Hope's Closet-York" on Facebook, or visit


Church Will Offer Support Groups December 26, 2017

Calvary Fellowship, 95 W. Devon Drive, Downingtown, will host support groups on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning on Monday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m. to help those who are going through difficult times.

Continuing the second and fourth Mondays through the fall willl be Job Seekers, for those who are unemployed or underemployed, and Parents of Prodigals, for parents of children struggling with drugs and addictions. On Wednesdays, Jan. 10 through April 4, at 6:30 p.m., the church will offer DivorceCare for individuals going through a divorce; GriefShare, for those who have lost loved ones; and Celebrate Recovery, to help with any hurt, destructive habit, or hang-up, including addictions. Wednesday sessions will have child care provided on most weeks with prior sign-up.

For more information and to register, readers may contact Bob VanArsdale at


Memory Loss Support Group To Meet December 14, 2017

The Memory Loss Support Group for Caregivers will meet on Tuesday, Jan. 2, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Community Room at Mount Joy Mennonite Church, 320 Musser Road, Mount Joy.

The topic will be "What Is Frontal Temporal Memory Loss?"


Food Pantry Receives Donation December 8, 2017


Hope's Closet To Offer Items December 6, 2017

Hope's Closet at Pathway Community Church, 1731 W. Philadelphia St., York, will be open on Saturday, Dec. 16, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sales will be offered on men's and women's sweaters and coats.

Hats, scarves, gloves and boots will be available for men, women and children. Infant, toddler and children's clothes, including outerwear, will also be available.

The new Christmas shop includes decorations, ornaments, gift items, and more. The children's room has been expanded to include games, books, toys, and more.

There will also be free clothing items available for people of all ages, along with free food items and bread.

For more information, readers may call Pathway Church at 717-793-8070, search for "Hope's Closet-York" on Facebook, or visit


Program To Discuss Contentment November 22, 2017

Lifetree Cafe will explore secrets to contentment on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 6:30 p.m. in the building adjacent to Zion United Methodist Church (UMC), located at 1715 Altland Ave., York. Doors will open at 6 p.m. The program will also be offered at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3, and at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at St. Paul's United Church of Christ (UCC), 2173 Stoverstown Road, Spring Grove. Lifetree Cafe is a place where people gather for conversation about life and faith in a casual, comfortable setting.

The program, titled "Secrets of Finding Contentment: Live a Satisfying Life," will focus on how to live a satisfying life, even in difficult times. It will feature a filmed interview with Justin Mayo, who organizes proms for senior citizens. Lifetree participants will have the opportunity to tell about times they have experienced contentment.

Admission to the 60-minute event is free. Questions about Lifetree Cafe may be directed to Chip Hoover at 717-792-3153 or at For information on either church, readers may contact Zion UMC at 717-843-5261 or, St. Paul's UCC at 717-225-6357.


Church Posts Upcoming Events November 22, 2017

Saint James Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2335 Cramer Road, Brogue, has scheduled its upcoming events.

St. James Lutheran Church, 2335 Cramer Road, Brogue, will open its Community Clothes Closet to the public on the first Saturday of every month from 8:30 to 10 a.m. The closet will be open on Saturday, Dec. 2. Free clothing, shoes, and coats will be available for infants through adult size XXL. All items are clean, and some are new. Visitors are invited to enjoy a continental breakfast in the social hall, as well. Donations of men's and children's clothing in all sizes are needed, especially boys' clothing in sizes 6 to 20.

The Monday Morning Quilt Group will hold its Christmas gathering on Monday, Dec. 4, at 11 a.m. at Lion's Pride Restaurant, 20 Dairyland Square, Red Lion. Attendees are responsible for the cost of their meals.

The group usually meets on the first Monday of every month at St. James Lutheran Church, 2335 Cramer Road, Brogue, at 10 a.m. No sewing is done at the meetings. People of all skill levels are welcome to attend. The next regular meeting will take place on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018.

Information about the quilt group and the Community Clothes Closet is available by contacting the church at 717-927-9497 or or visit

Ten weeks of ballroom dance classes will start on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. Lessons will be taught by Gregory Sipe. Beginner lessons will take place from 3 to 4 p.m. beginner, and intermediate and advanced students will attend from 4 to 6 p.m.

There is a fee, which must be paid at the time of registration. The fee includes a Valentine's dance at the church. The dance will not include a lesson and will be held at the church. For more information and to register, readers may contact Rosalie Eveler at 717-244-5642.

Under the leadership of the Rev. Kathleen Kuehl, the church holds a weekly Sunday worship service at 9:30 a.m., preceded by a Bible study and a social time from 8:30 to 9:20 a.m.


Support Group Slates Meeting November 15, 2017

The Memory Loss Support Group for Caregivers will meet on Tuesday, Dec. 5, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the community room at Mount Joy Mennonite Church, 320 Musser Road, Mount Joy.

The topic will be "Maintaining Caregiver Wellness."


Parishes, Organizations Provide Food November 15, 2017

A number of parishes and schools in the Diocese of Harrisburg will provide meals for people in need on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 23. Many other parishes and schools will hold food and clothing drives in support of people in need in the area. Local events include the following.

St. Francis of Assisi Soup Kitchen, 1459 Zarker St., Harrisburg, will serve a free Thanksgiving dinner at noon on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 23. For more information, readers may contact Ms. Chucky Palmer, soup kitchen coordinator, at 717-236-4506 from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

St. Catherine Laboure, 4000 Derry Street, Harrisburg will distribute complete Thanksgiving dinners to area agencies, as well as parish families who are in need. Agencies include The Catholic Worker House, Saint Francis Parish, Silence of Mary House and the Bethesda Mission. More details are available by calling 717-564-1321.

Also St. Catherine Laboure parish has a tradition of baking and distributing bread on Thanksgiving Day. Volunteers will begin to bake at 6:30 a.m. to be ready to distribute the free bread to anyone who wants a loaf following the 9 a.m. Thanksgiving Day Mass.

Prince of Peace Parish Knights of Columbus will hold a Coats for Kids event on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 25 and 26. The parish is located at 815 S. Second St., Steelton. For more information, readers may call 717-985-1330.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish's Knights of Columbus Henry Strickland Council 14333 in Cornwall held a Thanksgiving food drive to benefit the Lebanon Rescue Mission. For more information, readers may call 717-273-1574.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, 2 N. Eighth St., Lebanon, planned to collect food for the Lebanon County Christian Ministries and JOY of Jonestown. To learn more, readers may call 717-272-5674.


Food Pantry Receives Rotary Donation November 10, 2017

In October, the Rotary Club of Manheim donated funds to the Manheim Central Food Pantry to purchase a new freezer.

The Manheim Central Food Pantry, located at 334 W. Gramby St., now has a total of three freezers. Two of the freezers plus a refrigerator have all been funded by Rotary. The new freezer will help to store the boxes of meat that are donated by a local grocery store every week, said Jim Hershey, who serves on the food pantry steering committee. Additional storage space was also needed for the meat that is donated by individuals who purchase animals at the Manheim Community Farm Show each fall. "Now when the meat comes, we won't have to struggle to fit it in," Hershey remarked.

When the pantry opened at the end of 2012, Hershey said it did not distribute meat and only gave out a small amount of produce. Now all of the clients receive fresh meat, produce, milk, and eggs along with nonperishable items.

According to Rotary member Carolyn Peters, the funds for the purchase of the freezer came from the Rotary Club of Manheim, Manheim Rotary Charitable Foundation, and the Rotary Foundation. The Rotary Club of Manheim is a group of like-minded community leaders and residents who work together to improve the community through the motto "Service Above Self."

The Manheim Central Food Pantry currently serves approximately 150 households, according to Central Pennsylvania Food Bank statistics. Registered clients receive food and personal care items once a month, based on family size. To be eligible for the food pantry's services, individuals must reside in the Manheim Central School District. Potential clients may call 717-665-2331 to inquire about eligibility.

For more information, readers may visit


SNMinistries Offers Plethora Of Programs November 9, 2017

As the weather - finally - turns cold, Solanco Neighborhood Ministries (SNMinistries) executive director Teresa Dolan is preparing for upcoming holidays and the winter season.

Thanksgiving food baskets will be distributed to qualified households on Tuesday, Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the SNMinistries office, 355 Buck Road, Quarryville. Folks must register to receive baskets by Friday, Nov. 17.

Dolan has created a list of items that community members may donate to fill the Thanksgiving baskets. Requested items include 10- to 12-pound turkeys, $15 gift cards to local supermarkets, turkey gravy, 5-pound bags of potatoes, stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, 1-pound bags of carrots, 29-ounce cans of sweet potatoes, brown sugar, miniature marshmallows, brown-and-serve rolls, frozen whipped topping, bags of baking apples, containers of cinnamon, and margarine or butter. Dolan noted that perishable items should be dated past Thanksgiving, which will be observed on Thursday, Nov. 23.

"We combined forces with the (Solanco) School District last year and gave out 120 meals," Dolan recalled. "We are expecting to give out a similar number this year."

Christmas basket requests will be accepted beginning on Friday, Dec. 1, and folks must register by Friday, Dec. 15. Baskets may be picked up between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 19, at the SNMinistries office. The Christmas food wish list is posted at

SNMinistries is the sign-up location for the Solanco Toy Drive. The deadline to register is Friday, Dec. 8. Approved clients will receive vouchers to shop for Christmas gifts for their children at Nickel Mine Floor Covering, 359 Buck Road, Quarryville, from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 16.

A heating assistance matching program will be offered again this winter.

"SNMinistries will match one time up to $350 what families put toward their own fuel," Dolan said. She noted that clients will be required to apply for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) first, but LIHEAP benefits will not be matched. Only personal funds will be matched. About 40 households were assisted last year.

Starting on Wednesday, Nov. 15, local pastors and other religious persons will hold "office hours" at SNMinistries to chat, listen, and offer spiritual guidance to anyone who chooses. The pastors will be available every Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m., for drop-in visits at no charge. The interactions will be confidential and will take place in a private area of the SNMinistries office.

"This is not professional counseling, but if you need someone to talk with or encouragement, stop in," Dolan said.

Pastors, members of church outreach teams, elders, and deacons are welcome to sign up for a Wednesday shift. Pastors who have volunteered so far include Bob Bistline, Ben Miller, John Hartman, and Misty Wintsch.

SNMinistries is 100 percent supported by donations, and financial contributions are tax-deductible, Dolan said. Online giving will soon be offered on the SNMinistries website. For individuals who wish to give immediately in a tangible way, there is a need for disposable diapers in sizes 4, 5, and 6. SNMinistries has partnered with the Quarryville WIC office to provide diapers and wipes for families that receive Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) vouchers, which do not cover diaper supplies.

Donations may be dropped off at the SNMinistries office. To learn more, readers may visit, call 717-786-4308, or email The organization also has a Facebook page.

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