The issue: It’s Monday, the day we take a few moments to highlight the good news in Lancaster County and the surrounding area. Some of these elements are welcome developments on the economic front or for neighborhoods in the area. Others are local stories of achievement, perseverance, compassion and creativity that are welcome points of light as we enter what is likely to be another bleak winter of this long pandemic. All this tumultuous news deserves to be highlighted in a brighter light.
In an encouraging story for environmental stewardship, a group that included members of the Landisville Mennonite Church, students from Hempfield High School, Boy Scouts and volunteers from local conservation organizations recently came together to plant 640 trees and convert 3.65 acres of farmland into meadow and woodland, LNP | LancasterOnline’s Mike Andrelczyk reported earlier this month.
The land is owned by the church, which saw the project as “a means to enact environmental justice for the past, present and future,” Andreichek wrote.
It is part of what the Church considers its greatest mission outside its walls.
“Congregants as a whole have always been very aware of others around us, whether it was to reach out to the community through the food bank or help those who needed help driving,” said Brenda Hurst, a longtime member of the Landisville Mennonite Church.
Christopher Fritz, who helped organize the project and is also a member of the congregation, added: “We certainly see a part of our faith as good stewards of the earth, over the creation that God has given us. … We want to make sure that we leave the earth that has a sustainable and healthy environment to its use. And enjoy it for future generations.”
The organizers worked with the Chesapeake Bay Coalition to organize the effort. Forest areas can help reduce river pollution.
“It’s really important to have forests all over the land,” Ryan Davis of the Chesapeake Bay Alliance told Andreichek. “They prevent rainwater from flowing directly into the streams. They are kind of like big sponges on the landscape.”
The project was multigenerational, with Fritz noting that volunteers included elderly members of the congregation and children as young as 5 or 6 years old.
Hurst added: “It was very exciting to have people not only from our parish but people from the community helping us with this project. … It was a reminder that this is not just for us, but for the people downstream, our community and future generations as well. “.
We applaud them all for these efforts, and are also happy to see that they may have inspired other local places of worship to undertake similar projects.
In other things of merchandise:
We cheered, once again, for all the local letters of thanks that appeared in the LNP’s opinion section on Christmas Day.
These messages always make us smile, with their stories of random cute acts, push forwards, and anonymous people picking up tabs at restaurants.
We especially loved the short tale of two sisters, ages 10 and 3, who set up a hot chocolate stand in their front yard to raise money for Christmas charities. Every little bit helps, and their efforts while sitting outside on a windy morning made a difference.
We also appreciated the message of Danielle Peters, Director of the Food Bank of Colombia, who paid tribute to all the community groups that worked to help those who are food insecure.
An excerpt from Peters’ speech:
“It was a cold, dark night when Santa’s elves and the angels walking on the floor visited the Columbia Food Bank. They came under the guise of the members of the Mountville Lions Club and the 349th Scout Troop, boys and girls. The gift they gave wouldn’t fit Santa’s sleigh, so a U-Haul truck was put in Service: That truck had 5,600 pounds of much-needed food supplies.
“Through the combined efforts of the Mountville Lions Club, Dayspring Christian Academy, Mountville VFW Reese Hall Post 8757 and the local community at large, this food has been donated, collected and delivered straight to our door.”
Congratulations to McAskie High School runner-up Jeremiah Munoz, the boxer whose recent victory in the National Championship earned him a place on the 2022 USA Junior Boxing Team.
“It’s a first, not just for Munoz and the team at Lancaster City Boxing Academy, where he trains, but for Lancaster,” LNP | Lancaster Online reporter Stephanie Bradford wrote in a front-page article for the LNP last week.
“This is an amazing achievement for such a young boxer,” Jamil Ali, president of the Mid-Atlantic American Boxing Association, wrote in an email. “He was able to achieve that goal by beating the best boxers in the country – which is no easy task.”
Munoz will now have the opportunity to train at the US Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and may even be able to compete in international boxing events.
– This month’s social media channels were filled with good deeds and bright moments in local school districts:
Bear Creek School in the Elizabethtown School District has held its annual Holiday Giving Tree and Food Leadership Programs, resulting in over 100 students receiving gifts purchased by employees of Bear Creek, Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Department of Northwest Regional Police and Corrections Department.
The Lancaster Mennonite High School Orchestra provided Christmas and classical music to the residents of the Lancaster Neighborhood Senior Center.
National Honor Society students at McCaskey High School have created 300 vacation cards to distribute at local retirement homes.
The fifth grade class in the Lampeter School district has chosen Strasbourg for Pet Pantry of Lancaster County and Caitlin’s Smiles (a regional non-profit organization that provides creative artistic activities for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses) for their service projects. Students collected pet supplies and made handmade cards to distribute.
And this is just a small sampling of all the good things that are happening in our schools and our communities.