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Nonprofit group run by elementary school students looks for winter coat donations

GLEN ROCK — Winter’s not far off, and you’re probably starting to hear from charitable organizations collecting items so families can stay warm, but a group in York County is different. It’s founded by a 6-year-old boy.

The students would like to collect 1,000 coats by Thanksgiving.

Coats of Friendship is a 501©3 nonprofit group run by eight students at Friendship Elementary School in Glen Rock. They recently kicked off this year’s drive to collect coats and accessories.

Tristan Rankin is in fourth grade, and he founded the organization at 6 years old after seeing a video of a homeless man cold in a park.

“I knew that was a reality, so I wanted to make people not feel like that. I just started collecting coats and giving them out,” Tristan Rankin said. “I just wanted to do it, and I didn’t care how old I was. I just wanted to make a difference.”

“Everyone needs a coat. Homeless people, you don’t want to see them freezing, like in the movies you see them like ice. That’s what they feel like. You want them to have a coat so they feel warm,” said 6-year-old Emerson Rankin, the youngest member of the nonprofit.

Coats of Friendship recently got a $2,500 check from the Shrewsbury Wal-Mart.

Students in first through sixth grades run Coats of Friendship.

“I just really want to help poor people,” 9-year-old Ava Miliauskas said.

Sisters Ava and Ella Miliauskas are in charge of collecting the winter accessories, which includes gloves, hats and scarves.

“If people have no money to buy clothes, I want people to be warm like that. I want to collect coats to give to them,” Ella Miliauskas, 7, said.

The coats can be new or used and in any condition.

“It could be wrinkly. It could be dirty or holey. It could be brand new. We take any coat,” said Joey Kirby, 9.

“I see it going to hundreds of thousands of coats. I see it actually making a difference in York,” Tristan Rankin said.

Coats of Friendship collected more than 700 coats last year. They handed out many of them at Lifepath Christian Ministries. The goal this year is to get 1,000 by Thanksgiving. You can donate at York College and any school in the Southern York County School District. Coats of Friendship also has a Facebook page.

Middletown residents create sharing pantry

MIDDLETOWN — A charitable idea from the internet has become a reality in Middletown.

About a year ago, resident Linda Osifat remembers coming across a social media post leading to the website The site promotes a concept in which communities offer a free-of-charge pantry stocked with basic necessities, including food and toiletries. People in need of something can take items, while others can leave items behind.

“I looked at that and I thought, ‘What a great idea to do for people in need,’” Osifat said. “It is for people who maybe can’t make it from paycheck to paycheck. People who are struggling just that week.”

After a legal process that included approval from Middletown Borough Council, Osifat, along with friends Leslie Hughes, Shelly Sides and Christina Alterio, started working on ideas. They obtained an antique dresser, which was refurbished by Raul Perez Jr. The dresser, deemed The Sharing Pantry, was decorated with the slogan “Take What You Need, Leave What You Can.”

“We stocked it last week,” Osifat said. “We stock anything. Non-perishable food, canned food, bread, water. I see a little of everything in there. Oatmeal, all sorts of different kinds of pastas, Pop-tarts. On the bottom shelf is toilet paper, tooth brushes, toothpaste and those basics.”

“That’s typical Middletown,” Mayor James Curry said of the project. “Our residents are creative. They come up with new ideas all the time. We want people to know that we support them.”

For security reasons, the pantry was placed on the front porch of the Middletown Police Department at 300 E. Emaus St.

“We wanted to pick a location that was highly accessible to the people in need, but also we wanted to protect it so that it wasn’t taken advantage of or vandalized,” Curry said.

While Osifat says the creation of the Sharing Pantry wasn’t inspired by any specific need in Middletown, she knows poverty exists, even for working individuals and families. She and Curry believe the concept will spread to other communities.

“We want to be that positive example,” Curry said. “It is unique and we hope other municipalities follow suit.”

Notices are posted inside the pantry indicating that items are donated by private civilians, and the borough does not monitor items that are taken or removed. The notice disclaims that the borough does not assume any responsibility or liability for the items contained in the pantry, and those who participate in the exchange are doing so at their own risk.

Daily Calendar

Friday, Oct. 13

Annual Indoor Yard Sale

Time: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Place: Carlisle United Methodist Church, MultiPurpose Room, corner of West and Pomfret Sts., Carlisle

Details: The Carlisle United Methodist Women will hold their annual indoor yard sale. Sale will also be held on Saturday, Oct. 14; same time. Homemade soups and baked goods will also be offered both days of the sale.

Starting a Small Business

Time: 9 am to 12 p.m.

Place: Techcelerator, 453 Lincoln St., Carlisle

Details: A seminar for the first step to starting a small business will be held.

Cost: $10 per business (Free to Veterans)

Contact: Register with Shippensburg University SBDC online at or call 717-477-1935

Men’s Breakfast

Time: 8:30 a.m.

Place: The Big Spring Center, 91 Doubling Gap Road, Suite 1, Newville

Details: Come out and enjoy a hot hearty homemade breakfast of eggs, scrapple, stuffed french toast, and fresh fruit made by our senior center staff and volunteers.

Cost: $5—please sign up no later than noon, Thursday, Oct. 12

Rummage/Bake Sale

Time: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday, Oct. 14, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Place: First Lutheran Church, 21 S. Bedford St., Carlisle

Details: Enter by High St. or Liberty Ave.

Cost: $1 a bag on Saturday

Saturday, Oct. 14

CPR/AED Certified Training

Time: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Place: Post Acute Medical, 1828 Good Hope Road, Enola

Details: The training is for anyone over the age of 16 and hosted by The Peyton Walker Foundation. Participants will learn how to perform adult and child CPR, use an AED, and relieve choking adult and child victims. Registration is on a first come, first served basis prior to Oct. 7.

Cost: Free

Contact: To register please contact Linda Schneider at You may also call 717-580-7697 to register or for additional information.

Whinny for Wine Fundraiser

Time: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Place: Buddy Boy Winery & Vineyard, 111 Barnett Drive, Duncannon

Details: There will be delicious homemade food, wine tasting, a silent auction as well as live music. All proceeds from ticket sales and silent auctions will go directly towards benefiting the animals of Rock Run.

Cost: $20 in advance or $25 at the door

Monday, Oct. 16

Upper Allen Woman’s Club meeting

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Upper Allen Township Building, 100 Gettysburg Pike, Mechanicsburg

Details: Officer Jason Shutt from the Mechanicsburg Borough Canine patrol will talk about his dog Marc and the job they perform in in the community.

Contact: For more information contact Karen Hartman at or

Candlelight Vigil

Time: 6 p.m.

Place: Camp Hill Borough Building, 2145 Walnut St., Camp Hill

Details: In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland & Perry Counties is hosting the vigil to honor and remember victims of domestic violence. The event will include a survivor speaker, candle lighting ceremony, and will be followed by a reception with light refreshments.

Garden Club Meeting

Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Place: Camp Hill borough Hall, 2145 Walnut St., Camp Hill

Details: Penn-Cumberland Garden Club will have Tim Clymer from Three Fold Farm present a program about “Figs and Other Fruit Trees.” A short business and luncheon will follow.

Cost: A small donation for the luncheon is requested, and Press Flower Items and Basket Raffle Tickets will be available for purchase.

Tuesday, Oct. 17

Breast Cancer

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Giant Food Stores, 3301 Trindle Road, Camp Hill

Details: This is a UPMC Pinnacle community event. Presenters are Dr. Theresa Lee, breast medical oncologist; and Dr. Brynn Wolff, breast surgeon

Contact: For more information, please call PinnacleHealth at 717-231-8900 or email them at

Cost: Free

Blood Drive

Time: 1:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Place: West Shore Church of the Brethren, 6921 Wertzville Road, Enola

Details: Event for the American Red Cross and will be held in the Fellowship Hall.

Carlisle Garden Club Meeting

Time: 1 p.m.

Place: Two Mile House, 1189 Walnut Bottom Road, Carlisle

Details: Roger Morrison of Meadowbrooke Gourds will present a program, “Oh My Gourdness.” Refreshments and a business meeting will follow the program. Guests and members are welcome.

Contact: Guests please RSVP to 717-243-8321, so the club can plan for the appropriate refreshments and seating.

Shippensburg Area Civil War Round Table Meeting

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Christ United Methodist Church, 47 E. King St., Shippensburg

Details: Scott Mingus returns to speak about the role of railroads during this conflict.

Cost: Free and open to the public

Contact: Any questions, please call 717-532-9166

Carlisle Area Newcomers Meeting

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Cumberland Crossings Davis Dining Room, off Marsh Drive, Carlisle

Details: A lecture about how to protect our identities from theft will be offered by Jerry Mitchell of the PA Office of Attorney General. There will be a Q & A session followed by light refreshments.

Cost: Free

Wednesday, Oct. 18

Bereavement Support Group

Time: 1 p.m to 2:30 p.m and 6:30 p.m to 8 p.m.

Place: Pastoral Care Consultation Room at Geisinger Holy Spirit, 503 N. 21st St., Camp Hill

Details: The group is open to anyone experiencing grief after the loss of a loved one.

Cost: Free, but registration is requested.

Contact: 717-763-2118 or 717-972-4255.

Rummage and Bake Sale

Time: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Place: Mechanicsburg Presbyterian Church, 300 E. Simpson St. at Shepherdstown Road, Mechanicsburg

Details: Sale will also be on Thursday, Oct. 19 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. After 5 p.m. on Wednesday all items will be sold for $3 per grocery bag. At 11 a.m. on Thursday, anything left will be free to the public for one hour. The bake sale is on Wednesday only.

Monthly Meeting

Time: 1 p.m.

Place: Carlisle BPO Elks Lodge 578, 120 W. Ridge St., Carlisle

Details: The Cumberland-Carlisle AARP Chapter #4377 will hold its monthly meeting. Entertainment will be the D’ Magic Show with Dave Thomen. Bon Ton Community Day booklets will be available for $5 and a sign-up sheet for the December 20th Christmas luncheon will also be available. Bring a friend; all are welcome.

Perspectives in Military History

Time: Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the talk begins at 7:15 p.m.

Place: U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, Multipurpose Rooms, 950 Soldier Drive, Carlisle

Details: USAHEC will host Mr. T. J. Stiles, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, as he presents a lecture entitled, “The Custer Conundrum.”.

Thursday, Oct. 19

50plus Expo

Time: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Place: Carlisle Expo Center, 100 K St., Carlisle

Details: Baby boomers, seniors, their families and caregivers will find timely information for living a happy, healthy and productive life. The event is sponsored by Our Lady of Peace Events and Cumberland County Aging & Community Services.

Cost: Admission and parking are free.

Contact: For more information, cal 717-285-1350

Friday, Oct. 20

Apple Dumpling and Pie Sale

Time: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Place: St. Matthews United Church of Christ, 3240 Spring Road, Carlisle

Details: Chicken Corn and Ham n Bean soup will also be available for sale. Eat in or take out.

Contact: Any pre-orders, call Marcea Leeds at 717-486-7500.

Saturday, Oct. 21

Trick-or-Treat and Costume Parade

Time: 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Place: New Cumberland Public Library, One Benjamin Plaza, New Cumberland

Details: Stop at each desk and treat station for a special treat. At 4 p.m. assembly in the children’s room storytime castle for a costume parade through the library and outside grounds.

AARP Smart Driver Classes

Time: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Place: Elmcroft of Shippensburg, 129 Walnut Bottom Road, Shippensburg

Details: Keeping you driving knowledge and skills current. Class will also be held Oct. 28 at the same place and time.

Cost: $15 for AARP members showing a current membership card and $20 for non-members.

Contact: Pre-registration is required, please call Georgena Ruth at 717-532-4165.

Sunday, Oct. 22

CROP Hunger Walk

Time: 1:30 p.m.

Place: St. Mark Lutheran Church, 117 W. Keller St., Mechanicsburg

Details: This year is the 46th anniversary and will be a 5k walk/run. The goal is for 200 walkers and hopes to raise $20,000 to help end hunger and poverty through long-term sustainable approaches to significantly reduce or eliminate hunger.


Time: The doors and kitchen open at 12 p.m., an early bird games starts at 1:30 p.m. and bingo officially starts at 2 p.m.

Place: Lisburn community Fire Company, 1800 Main St., Lisburn, Mechanicsburg

Details: There will be regular games, special games and final jackpot. There will be small games of chance, good food, and door prizes.

Cost: $22 in advance and $25 at the door

Contact: For more information, call 717-766-3994

Monday, Oct. 23

Prescription drug abuse meeting

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Upper Allen Township Building, 100 Gettysburg Pike, Mechanicsburg

Details: COOP will host a town hall meeting on the cost of heroin and prescription drug abuse in the community. Panelists will include those from the district attorney’s office, coroner’s office, EMS, drug and alcohol services, local police and RASE Project. Attendees will also get the chance to ask questions.

Cost: Free

Tuesday, Oct. 24

Grief Support Group

Time: 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.

Place: Bethany United Methodist Church, 400 Lansvale St., Marysville

Details: For anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one. Lead by Rev. Tim Wagner, Asana Hospice and all are welcome.

Cost: Free

Wednesday, Oct. 25

Diabetes: Empowering Yourself

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Giant, 3301 Trindle Road, Camp Hill

Details: This is a UPMC Pinnacle community event. Presenters are Dr. Troy Moritz, thoracic surgeon; Dr. Rodney Jamil, medical oncologist; Dr. David Weksberg, radiation oncologist

Cost: Free

Contact: For more information, please call PinnacleHealth at 717-231-8900 or email them at

Thursday, Oct. 26

Trunk-or-Treat Festival

Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Place: Newville First Church of God, 475 Shippensburg Road, Newville

Details: Your children have the opportunity to travel from one parked car to another in a traffic free parking lot. Free hot dogs, popcorn, hot chocolate, and candy for all. Come with or without costumes; no gore, please.

Cost: Free

Contact: Any questions, call 717-776-5223.

Friday, Oct. 27

Trunk and Treat

Time: 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Place: St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 6839 Wertzville Road, Enola

Details: Treats, food, story-telling, and games

Saturday, Oct. 28

Stony Ridge Fall Festival

Time: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Place: Stony Ridge Park, 50 Bernheisel Bridge Road, Carlisle

Details: This event is hosted by the Silver Spring Township Parks and Recreation Department. Activities include hay rides through the park, seasonal foods and baked goods, 50+ arts and craft vendors and more.

Cost: Admission and parking are free

Contact: For more details, call the Recreation Office a 717-766-1657

Renewable Energy workshop

Time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Place: Dickinson College Tome Hall, Rector Science Complex, 343 W. Louther St., Carlisle

Details: Professor of Physics Hans Pfister will discuss the solar air heater-direct conversion of solar energy into thermal energy.

Cost: Free but registration is required

Contact: Please call 717-245-1307 or email to register

Sunday, Oct. 29

Exhibition and reception

Time: 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Place: Waidner-Spahr Library’s main level, 333 W. High St., Carlisle

Details: Dickinson College will host an opening reception to celebrate “History Comes Out,” an exhibition of artifacts and archival documents from the LGBT Center of Central PA History Project.

Cost: Free and open to the public

Contact: For more information, email or call 717-245-1399

Invasive pest that can wipe out crops spotted in Lancaster County

LANCASTER — A pest that has been in Berks County now appears to be in the Midstate. The spotted lanternfly has been spotted in parts of eastern Lancaster County.

The pest feeds on more than 70 kinds of plants and trees and can wipe out entire crops.

“[I wonder] are they just accidental immigrants that are being brought in, or do we have a breeding population,” said Tim Elkner with the Penn State Extension in Lancaster County.

Elkner said the exotic insect, which is about the size of a quarter, will focus on woody trees, walnut trees, apples and grapes.

“What they do is they feed on the sugar in the sap,” he said. “They’re not 100 percent efficient at taking all the sugars out. They excrete the waste and that drops down below. So it creates a sticky mess on whatever is down beneath there.”

Elkner said a frost will kill the adults, but the eggs will survive the winter.

Anyone who believes they see the insect or the eggs should call the Invasive Species Hotline at 1-866-253-7189.