(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
Since then, Cadle and Rapp noted, "that the town is
really growing!" In 2004 they met with
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
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."
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