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Emmitsburg volunteers deliver
 "welcome in a bag"

(9/21) If you moved to Emmitsburg in recent months, you may have received a special welcome from an unexpected visitor or two, who handed you a handsome burgundy cotton tote bag. The Emmitsburg town seal was stamped in white on the outside of the bag, and inside you found all sorts of useful information about your new hometown.

Volunteers Jean Cadle and Annetta Rapp have organized this hospitality project, though they quickly say that they merely built on an earlier effort by the Emmitsburg Council of Churches. Two others, Lillian "Lil" Harner and Linda Knox, deliver the bags around town.

The Council of Churches published the original "Welcome to Emmitsburg" booklet in 1996. Paul Harner, president of the council at the time, recalls that he, the late Loretta Adelsberger, Joseph "Joe" Scott, and Rev. Ronald Fearer from Elias Lutheran Church, "each took a street in town and got the names, addresses and phone numbers of the businesses there. Ed Adelsberger [now deceased] did a short history of the town and I did the write-ups about the churches, and various others in the community wrote about their organizations."

The council paid for the first 100 copies, and put them in the Town Office. The booklet was revised in 2000, and the town paid the printing costs.

Since then, Cadle and Rapp noted, "that the town is really growing!" In 2004 they met with Mayor James E. Hoover and learned there were 232 new homes in Emmitsburg.

The community center and library renovation and the relocation of the Town Office and community agencies, along with new telephone numbers, made it clear that it was time to update the booklet again.

Cadle and Rapp wanted something that would welcome newcomers in a personal way. The two friends decided to put lots of information together in a "cute bag."

They asked Pat Larson of the Emmitsburg Professional and Business Association for funding for the tote bags, and asked the Council of Churches if their volunteers would distribute them. The Town Commissioners paid the printing costs for the revised booklet.

"It truly is a cooperative effort," says Cadle, "church, town, and business" working together.

To date the two women have filled 200 12x12-inch bags with Emmitsburg "Welcome" booklets, copies of a Federal Emergency Management Agency emergency preparedness publication, and many pamphlets from a cross-section of public service agencies, churches, and historic sites in the area.

They "are in the process of getting brochures from several other groups, and "when the town comes up with its new seal, we'll put it on new bags," Cadle said.

Both women would probably agree with Paul Harner's assessment of his 1996 efforts: although "it was a lot of work, it was a lot of fun putting it all together."

Read other news stories related to the Emmitsburg Town Government