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A Harvest To Share August 17, 2017

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."

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Free Clothing Giveaway August 17, 2017

Hosanna! A Fellowship of Christians, 29 Green Acre Road, Lititz, will host a free clothing giveaway in the fellowship room at the church on Saturday, Aug. 26, from 7 to 11 a.m. Gently used clothing will be available for men, women, and children in a wide range of sizes. All are welcome.

For more information, call the church office at 717-626-2560 or visit www.hosannalititz.org.

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Clothing Drive August 15, 2017

The Charles Ludwig VFW Post 7362, 755 Rancks Church Road, New Holland, is seeking donations of clothing for its second annual clothing drive for veterans at the Coatesville Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center.

Organizer and post commander Norman E. Brower Jr. noted that clothing for both men and women veterans, such as pants, shirts, dresses, skirts, blouses, and new stockings, will be accepted, as well as items such as carry-on bags and suitcases.

Interested individuals may schedule an appointment to deliver items to VFW Post 7362 by calling Brower at 717-824-3443.

According to Brower, many times veterans will arrive at the Coatesville VA Medical Center with only the clothing they are wearing. After receiving help through the center's programs and services, the veterans are able to leave the center to find employement and go on to lead a successful life.

VFW Post 7362 offers many programs and services to the community, including an American flag retirement program as regulated by the flag code, services to veterans and their families through the VA administration, and donations of hospital equipment.

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Hope's Closet To Offer Items August 9, 2017

Hope's Closet at Pathway Community Church, 1731 W. Philadelphia St., York, will be open on Saturday, Aug. 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There will be a bag sale on women's, men's, and children's clothing items. Women's items are available in all sizes from extra small to 3X, and men's clothing is available in sizes from small to 3X. Women's, men's, and children's shoes will be available at special savings. Business attire is available. Household items will include kitchen items, curtains, bedding, gifts, and more.

Many free clothing items, as well as free food, will be available. Shoppers who spend a set amount or more on merchandise will receive a free gift.

For more information, readers may call the church at 717-793-8070, search for "Hope's Closet-York" on Facebook, or visit www.pathwaycc.org.

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MOPW Will Host Clothing Giveaway August 8, 2017

"We're trying to fulfill the need God showed us," Nancy Harnish said, explaining why the Middle Octorara Presbyterian Women (MOPW) will host a clothing giveaway on Saturday, Aug. 19, from 7 to 11 a.m. "There's such a need in the community."

This is the third annual giveaway that the MOPW has hosted at Middle Octorara Presbyterian Church, 1199 Valley Road, located 4 miles east of Quarryville on Route 372. Everyone is welcome to take what they need from the items donated by church members and friends.

"We have enough clothes for everybody," remarked MOPW member Marlene Fromm. "People redd out their closets and bring the extra clothing to us."

Several rooms of the church have been filled with clothing, and on the day of the event, all of the items will be stacked on tables and hung on clothing racks. Newborn sizes through 5T will be located in the social room between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall, while the rest of the items will be in the fellowship hall. Bags will be provided, and guests may shop at no cost from the good-quality clothing, some of which is brand new and still has tags. A consignment shop in Strasburg has contributed items for the event. Little girls' dance outfits, medical scrubs, and maternity styles are among the offerings.

"The kids' and teenage school clothes go first," said MOPW moderator Cathy Miller.

"But the tables are (piled) so high," Fromm added, gesturing about 3 feet above a table. "There's plenty."

The times for the giveaway have been moved up an hour to accommodate another function at the church in the afternoon. Judging by last year, however, the earlier start will not be a problem for visitors.

"I got here at 6:30 a.m., and they were lined up already," Harnish recalled.

There is no cost for the clothing, but guests are invited to bring nonperishable food items and other donations for Solanco Neighborhood Ministries if they are able. Any leftover clothing will be picked up by the Salvation Army.

For more information about the clothing giveaway, readers may call MOPW member Shirley Miller at 717-786-3690.

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Tools 4 School Distribution Event Planned August 4, 2017

The fifth annual Tools 4 School school supply distribution and clothing distribution event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 12, between 10 a.m. and noon at Zion Lutheran Church, 1290 River Road, Marietta.

Attendees will be able to pick up a variety of free items for school students of all ages. School supplies to choose from will include backpacks, binders, notebooks, dividers, filler paper, pens, pencils, markers, crayons, scissors, erasers, and highlighters. The event will also feature clothing that is gently used and clean, along with new underwear and socks in all sizes. Attendees will also have access to gently used books for all levels.

For more information, readers may contact Zion Lutheran at 717-426-1884.

The school supply distribution is organized by Zion Lutheran Church, and the clothing distribution is organized by St. John's Episcopal Church in Marietta. Tools 4 School is made possible by donations from businesses, organizations, and community members.

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Free Clothing Ministry Posted August 1, 2017

Harmony Grove Community Church, 6390 Harmony Grove Road, Dover, will offer a free clothing ministry as an outreach to the Dover community and the surrounding areas of York County. The clothing will be available in the small white church on the first and third Saturdays of each month, excluding holiday weekends, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information, readers may call 717-292-3659 or visit www.hgcc.org.

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Hope's Closet To Offer Items July 25, 2017

Hope's Closet at Pathway Community Church, 1731 W. Philadelphia St., York, will be open on Saturday, Aug. 5, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There will be a bag sale on women's, men's, and children's clothing items. Women's items are available in all sizes from extra small to 3X, and men's clothing is available in sizes from small to 3X. Women's and men's shoes will be available at special savings. Business attire is available. Household items will include kitchen items, curtains, bedding, gifts, and more.

Many free clothing items, as well as free food, will be available. Shoppers who spend a set amount or more on merchandise will receive a free gift.

For more information, readers may call the church at 717-793-8070, search for "Hope's Closet-York" on Facebook, or visit www.pathwaycc.org.

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Church Sets Food, Clothing Drive July 19, 2017

Starview United Methodist Church, 85 Codorus Furnace Road, Mount Wolf, will hold a food and clothing drive on Saturday, July 29, from 9 to 11 a.m.

Nonperishable food donations will be collected for the Northeastern Food Pantry. Clothing will be collected for the York Rescue Mission.

For more information, readers may call Rita at 717-764-2534.

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Youth Group Schedules Clothing Drive July 11, 2017

The Memorial United Methodist Church youth group will sponsor a clothing drive for GAiN (Global Aid Network) during the month of July. GAiN is in need of cleaned clothing in good condition in sizes XL and smaller.

Donations may be dropped off at Memorial United Methodist Church, 101 S. Hess St., Quarryville, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. To learn more about GAiN, visit http://globalaid.net/about-us/. Readers may also call the church at 717-786-2941.

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Hope's Closet To Offer Items July 5, 2017

Hope's Closet at Pathway Community Church, 1731 W. Philadelphia St., York, will be open on Saturday, July 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There will be a bag sale on women's, men's, and children's clothing items. Women's items are available in all sizes from extra small to 3X, and men's clothing is available in sizes from small to 3X. Women's and men's shoes will be available at special savings. Business attire is available. Household items will include kitchen items, curtains, bedding, gifts, and more.

Many free clothing items, as well as free food, will be available. Shoppers who spend a set amount or more on merchandise will receive a free gift.

For more information, readers may call the church at 717-793-8070, search for "Hope's Closet-York" on Facebook, or visit www.pathwaycc.org.

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Clothes Closet To Offer Items July 5, 2017

Evangelical United Methodist Church, 157 E. Water St., Middletown, has announced that God's Clothes Closet will be open on Saturday, Aug. 5, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Everyone is invited. A large selection of sweaters, slacks, jeans, dresses, blouses, skirts, shirts, coats, belts, shoes, and hats will be available, as well as linens and blankets.

For more information, readers may call 717-944-6181.

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Church Offers Community Lunch June 27, 2017

People of all ages are invited to attend a community lunch that is offered every Wednesday from noon to 12:45 p.m. at Olivet United Methodist Church, 310 E. Chestnut St., Coatesville.

No registration or proof of income is required to attend the lunch. "You just walk in. We don't ask anyone why they are there," said Mike Givler, who heads the food ministry outreach at the church. "Some people come for the fellowship; some people say it's the only meal they will get that day. We tend to see a regular group almost every week."

About 75 to 100 people attend the lunch each week, which is served cafeteria-style. "If we have food left over after everyone has been served, we will give out seconds around 12:30 p.m.," Givler noted. "If we still have food after that, we will give takeouts. It usually comes out to between 100 to 120 meals."

While most of the visitors are from the immediate area around the church, people from all areas are welcome to attend. "Almost everybody walks; a few drive. We see occasional families," said Givler. "We don't get many kids, but we serve the preschool children from Coatesville Kids to College every Wednesday. It helps them get practice (for school) by going through a cafeteria line. And, they tend to eat different things than their (usual) lunch of kid-type foods."

The lunch was launched more than 10 years ago, but there was break in service in 2014 when the church renovated its kitchen. The community lunches resumed in January of 2015. The church's new commercial kitchen was financed in part by a $184,000 grant from the Chester County Department of Community Development. The rest of the cost was contributed by the congregation.

"The (Chester County) Food Bank gives us some food, but most of it we purchase," said Givler, a retired principal from the Coatesville Area School District. "We get food from reliable food sources. We try to shop around and get the best prices we can and vary the menu as best we can.

A recent lunch featured barbecued chicken, boiled parsley potatoes and green beans, with flavored gelatin for dessert. Beverages, including iced tea, water, coffee and hot tea, were also provided.

Givler does most of the cooking, and other volunteers help set the tables and serve the meals. "We come in around 8 or 8:30 in the morning and prepare the food," Givler explained. "At 11 a.m., we have volunteers come in. They put the beverages out on the table and stay there and dish the food out onto the plates." He noted that the participants appreciate eating on real plates with silverware as opposed to using disposable plates and utensils.

The Coatesville Lions Club and Coatesville Rotary Club are in each in charge of one Wednesday per month. "We have volunteers from the community and congregation fill in the other two weeks," Givler said, noting that next year, a local chapter of the Red Hat Society will be in charge of the meal on the first Wednesday of the month.

The food ministry is supported by the congregation and through donations from groups like the Coatesville Rotary and Lions clubs and the United Methodist Women. "Whenever there is a fifth Sunday in the month, we have a congregational meal after church," Givler pointed out. "It's free, but we accept donations for the meal ministry."

Givler added that when the church renovated its kitchen, it presented the congregation with an "adopt-a-kitchen utensil" list. "We made a list of several hundred items that we needed, ranging from a freezer for $3,000 to a serving spoon for $2," Givler reported. "We got so much, we had money left over."

For more information about the food ministry or the community lunch, readers may call the church office at 610-384-5828 or email Givler at mikeg47@verizon.net.

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Food Pantry Feeds Hundreds June 26, 2017

The statistics for the CrossNet Ministries Food Pantry, located in Trinity Lutheran Church, 221 E. Main St., New Holland, tell the story of the area's needs. In May, the client-choice pantry served 111 households, which means that 320 individuals received food.

Food that is distributed by the pantry is processed under the watchful eye of volunteer site coordinator Vivian Hertzler. "Vivian coordinates the food that comes here and sets up the shelves and organizes (food items)," explained Joan Yunginger, social services director with CrossNet Ministries, which oversees the pantry. "She makes sure the food looks really good. There won't be anything outdated, and she works really hard to make the atmosphere nice."

According to Yunginger, multiple volunteers weigh, sort, wash, and separate donated food items on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays each week. When the pantry is open to clients each Wednesday from 3 to 5:15 p.m., 10 volunteers are needed to help clients load their cars.

Yunginger noted that the pantry is always in need of volunteers, who may work at the church from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on any given day they are needed. But sorting and displaying food items at the pantry is just one of the tasks that volunteers may do. "We need drivers to pick up food donations," said Meredith Dahl, executive director of CrossNet. Yunginger added that food items often come to the pantry through the Community Action Program; Blessings of Hope, an organization that connects grocery stores, manufacturers, and other food sources to distribute excess food; a local bakery; a farm stand; and a sandwich shop.

Donations to the pantry also come from local residents and organizations. Donations may be brought to the church on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, but it is best to call 717-355-2454 to learn when volunteers will be at the pantry to accept donations. Currently, the pantry is in need of canned fruit, baked beans, pasta sauce, canned soups, cereal, salad dressings, boxed rice, pancake mix, crackers, laundry detergent, deodorant, adhesive bandages, and paper towels. Only unexpired food items can be accepted.

In addition to food items, the pantry also provides clients with vouchers to purchase meat, milk, eggs, cheese, and produce at a local market.

For many years, the food pantry was comprised of one room in the church lined with shelves and stocked with canned goods, but in the last few years, the pantry has grown to include several rooms when it is open. There's a place for assessments; a room where produce such as onions, potatoes, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, green peppers, and tomatoes are washed and sorted; and a large room where produce and baked goods are displayed for clients. "We are growing and making things happen," said Dahl.

On a recent visit to the pantry, Dahl highlighted one aspect of the ministry that stands out to her. "What I love about the food pantry is that it is about the relationships that are built between the participants and the volunteers," she said. "It's about caring for people on their journeys, and it's a really neat atmosphere."

Readers who would like more information about the pantry may visit https://elancocross.org. Individuals who are interested in volunteering may contact Yunginger at joan@elancocross.org.

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Hope's Closet To Offer Items June 20, 2017

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

There will be a bag sale on all women's and men's summer clothing items and summer clothes for infants, toddlers, and children. Special savings will also be available on women's and men's shoes. Household items will include kitchen items, curtains, bedding, gifts, and more.

Many free clothing items, as well as free food, will be available. Shoppers who spend a set amount or more on merchandise will receive a free gift.

For more information, readers may call the church at 717-793-8070, search for "Hope's Closet-York" on Facebook, or visit www.pathwaycc.org.

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Grand Opening Held For Compassion Center June 14, 2017

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Hope's Closet To Offer Items June 7, 2017

Hope's Closet at Pathway Community Church, 1731 W. Philadelphia St., York, will be open on Saturday, June 17, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There will be a selection of men's and women's summer clothing, men's and women's shoes, and spring and summer clothes for infants, toddlers, and children. Household items will include kitchen items, curtains, bedding, gifts, and more.

Many free clothing items, as well as free food, will be available. Shoppers who spend a set amount or more on merchandise will receive a free gift.

For more information, readers may call the church at 717-793-8070, search for "Hope's Closet-York" on Facebook, or visit www.pathwaycc.org.

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Fresh Fruit Fridays Scheduled June 1, 2017

Madison Avenue Church of the Brethren, located in the Avenues Neighborhood at 645 Madison Ave., York, will continue its Fresh Fruit Fridays for the third year as a way of fulfilling its mission of honoring God by growing in faith, service, and love.

On the second Friday of each month during the growing season, church members will distribute free local fruit on the church lawn from 9 to 11 a.m. Fruit to be given away will include strawberries on June 9, blueberries on July 14, peaches on Aug. 11, and apples on Sept. 8.

For more information, readers may contact the church office at 717-854-1885 or macob1936@gmail.com.

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Hope's Closet To Offer Items May 23, 2017

Hope's Closet at Pathway Community Church, 1731 W. Philadelphia St., York, will be open on Saturday, June 3, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There will be a selection of summer clothing, men's and women's shoes, and spring and summer clothes for infants, toddlers, and children. Household items will include kitchen gadgets, curtains, bedding, gifts, and more.

Many free clothing items, as well as free food, will be available. Shoppers who spend a set amount or more on merchandise will receive a free gift.

For more information, readers may call the church at 793-8070, search for "Hope's Closet-York" on Facebook, or visit www.pathwaycc.org.

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Little Free Pantry Opens May 12, 2017

On March 27, Salem Lutheran Church of Kissel Hill, located at 26 Owl Hill Road, Lititz, opened a Little Free Pantry, and church members believe it is the first of its kind in the county.

"Right now there are nonperishable items and a loaf of bread someone put in earlier today," said Alison Bowlan, Salem Lutheran pastor, opening the door to the white wooden pantry, a cupboard with a glass door and a shingled roof that is on a stand in front of the church. While Bowlan was peering into the pantry, a church member appeared with a bag of groceries, and Bowlan added paper towels, toilet paper, baby wipes, tissues, tuna, canned pasta, laundry detergent, and toothpaste to the shelf alongside the boxes of pasta, six jars of baby food, and jar of spaghetti sauce that were already in the pantry. "I think someone went shopping today," she quipped.

According to Bowlan, the first Little Free Pantry in the United States was built by a church in Arkansas. "The concept has been moving across the country," she said. "The idea is that churches can help community members in need by putting household items and (food) inside the little free pantry."

The pantry is easily accessed by cars, which can pull up in front of it from Owl Hill Road. "It's open 24 hours a day," said Bowlan. "There is no time limit, and you needn't be associated with the church to pick up or drop off items." Bowlan added that the Little Free Pantry motto is "give what you can and take what you need."

In January, the Salem Lutheran church council passed the measure to allow the Little Free Pantry to become a ministry of the outreach committee. Bowlan contacted Bob Ierien, pastor of a Lebanon County church that had recently installed a pantry. "I asked for measurements so I could have someone build it," said Bowlan, but to her surprise Ierien offered to build the pantry. "He said he would be building two other ones, and he would build us one," she said. Members of Salem Lutheran added shingles and weather stripping to keep the pantry air-tight, and an area is screened to allow the box to breathe without letting critters in.

Bowlan said that the church had been looking for some time for a project like this one. "We have talked for the past year about different ways we could reach out to the community and be a good, healthy resource," said Bowlan. "This is one of the ways we believe we can do it."

In addition to convenient hours and accessibility, the Little Free Pantry is attractive because no registration is required to use it. "There are no restrictions, (and) no intake, and we don't keep records," noted Bowlan. "We don't know who is in or out of here."

Bowlan added that church members are not concerned about abuse of the outreach. "Our job is to do what Jesus would have us do, which is to give," she said. "What people do with (the things we give them) is totally up to them."

Coordinators of the Little Free Pantry are just glad to see the cars pulling up to the station, knowing that they may have helped someone put dinner on the table that night or filled another need. "It's an easy outreach and an easy way to help people who need help," said Bowlan. "Sometimes there is more month than there is money."

Readers who want to know more about Salem Lutheran Church may visit www.salemkh.org. Individuals who have questions about the pantry may call 627-0048.

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