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Bike & Hike Giving Exceeds $108,000

2014 Bike and HikeThe 18th annual COBYS Bike & Hike, held Sunday, September 7, at the Lititz Church of the Brethren, established a new income record, marking the 15th consecutive year that income from the event has grown.

As of September 18, giving was projected at more than $108,000, up from last year's figure of $104,355.

"After making a big push last year to reach $100,000 for the first time, we wondered if we would be able to do it again," said Director of Development Don Fitzkee. "So we are thrilled that giving increased again this year!"

An unexpected large donation designated for the Bike & Hike received after the event guaranteed a new income record.

Bike & Hike participants choose between a three-mile walk, 10- and 25-mile bicycle rides, and a 65-mile motorcycle ride, and then pay a registration fee, enlist support from sponsors, or both. More than 500 people participated in the event, including 213 walkers, 153 motorcyclists on 93 cycles, and 87 bicyclists, along with some friends who stopped in to visit and participate in the auction.

Top fundraisers were Floy Fitzkee, Manheim; $6,185; Londa Brandt, Manheim, $6,118; Mari Cunningham, Lancaster, $5,851; and Lucy de Perrot, Lititz, $3,780. More than 20 individuals or families gave or raised at least $1,000 for COBYS ministries.

Three Church of the Brethren (COB) youth groups earned a gym and pizza night by raising at least $1,500. Top youth groups were: Little Swatara, Rehrersburg, $4,585; Midway, Lebanon, $4,295; and Chiques Junior High, Manheim, $1,623.79. Other participating youth groups included Mohrsville and Mt. Zion Road COBs.

Some 90 businesses supported the event by donating cash, grand prizes, auction items, food and supplies, and door prizes. Lititz Church of the Brethren donated use of its facilities and Camp Swatara, located near Bethel, staffed the break stop for the motorcycle ride.

Contributing to the income growth was the addition of a Silent Auction, which featured 35 donated items and raised nearly $3,000. "People seemed to be enjoying themselves at the auction," said Don, "and we think this will add a growing edge to the event in coming years."

Top selling auction items included a night's stay at the Presidential Suite of the Lancaster Marriott and Breakfast for Two at the Penn Square Grille, donated by Thomas Connelly; a three-night stay at a Potter County Chalet, donated by Jim & Pam Ament; and a patio heater with gas canister donated by Good's Store and Amerigas.

Business supporters included Event Sponsors Cocalico Automotive and Hagy's Towing; and Major Sponsors Fillmore Container, Speedwell Construction, The Hess Agency, and Carl & Margaret Wenger through the Wenger Foundation Inc. Sponsors were Bomberger's Store; The Furniture Doctor, Inc.; Gibbel Kraybill & Hess LLP; Hawthorne Electric, Inc.; Red Rose Pediatric Associates; Scenic Ridge Construction; TCW Computer Systems, Inc.; Toothsmiths, Inc.; and Young & Young Attorneys at Law.

Grand Prize donors for top fundraisers were Bob Neff Tours, Conestoga Tours, and Oregon Dairy. (See below for a complete list of business donors.)

WJTL FM 90.3 radio broadcast live from the event and reporter Lynn Rebuck covered it. Click here to read her article.

A photo gallery from the Bike & Hike is available on the COBYS Facebook page.

Next year's Bike & Hike is slated for Sunday, September 13. The event is held each year on the Sunday after Labor Day. If you would like to receive information on serving as a business sponsor or donating items for next year's Silent Auction, please contact Don Fitzkee at or 717-656-6580.

Event Sponsor
Cocalico Automotive
Hagy Towing

Major Sponsors
Fillmore Container
Speedwell Construction, Inc.
The Hess Agency
The Wenger Foundation

Bomberger's Store Inc.
Gibbel Kraybill & Hess, LLP
Hawthorne Electric, Inc.
Red Rose Pediatrics
Scenic Ridge Construction
TCW Computer Systems, Inc.
The Furniture Doctor, Inc.
Toothsmiths, Inc.
Young & Young, Attorneys at Law

Balsbaugh Insurance Agency, Inc.
BCF Group
Ebersole Brothers Construction, Inc.
Drs. May-Grant Associates
Flyway Excavating, Inc.
Hess Tent Rental
John M. Hess Auction Service, Inc.
Keller Brothers Ford-Lititz
Longenecker's Hardware
Martin Enterprises (Fire Extinguisher Sales & Service)
Merchandiser Advertiser PennySaver
S & A Paint & Repair
Steffy Printing
The Country Store
WJTL FM 90.3

Grand Prize Donors
Bob Neff Tours, Inc.
Conestoga Tours
Oregon Dairy

Auction Donors
Blue Ridge Communications
Carl & Margaret Wenger
Diane Hurst, Thirty-One Consultant
Domaki Leathers
Fillmore Container
Good's Store (and Amerigas)
Hershey Bears Hockey Club
Hurst House Bed & Breakfast
J. B. Zimmerman
Jim & Pamela Ament
Joan Fyock Norris
Kellye Martin, Thirty-One Consultant
Landis Valley Associates
Miller's Christmas Tree Farm
Mr. Hotshine
Outback Toys
S. Clyde Weaver, Inc.
Signature Custom Cabinetry
Smith's Candies
TCW Computer Systems, Inc.
The Castle Roller Skating Rink
The Goble Group
Thomas Connelly
Umberger's of Fontana

Lititz Church of the Brethren
Camp Swatara

Crystal Springs Water Company
Four Seasons Produce
Herr Foods
Hess Brothers Fruit Company
John Herr's Village Market
Oregon Dairy
Smith's Candies
Turkey Hill Dairy, Inc.

Door Prizes
ASK Foods, Inc.
Blue Ridge Communications
Country Table Restaurant, Bakery, Deli
Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre
Esbenshade's Garden Centers
Halo Branded Solutions-Rick Bridgman
Harrisburg Senators Baseball Club
Kauffman's Bar-B-Q Restaurant
Keller Brothers Ford-Lititz
Keystone Pretzel Bakery
Kitchen Kettle Village
Lancaster Barnstormers
Landis Valley Associates
Leisure Lanes of Lancaster
Miller's Christmas Tree Farm
Mr. Hotshine
Pepperidge Farm, Inc.
Reading Fightin' Phils
Reist Popcorn Company
Shady Maple Farm Market & Smorgasbord
Shuey's Pretzels
Signature Custom Cabinetry, Inc.
Smith's Candies
Stauffers of Kissel Hill
Turkey Hill Dairy, Inc.
Village Greens Golf Inc.
Weis Market
Willow Valley Associates
Zig's Bakery & Deli LLC



'Nightly News Banquet' Sets Giving, Attendance Records

Nightly News BanquetThe COBYS Nightly News Banquet ended up being big news.

Held March 6 at the Middle Creek Church of the Brethren, the event established a new attendance record and shattered last year's giving record. As of mid-March, total donations were nearing $51,000, up from $44,100 in 2013. Attendance was 558, up from 549 in 2013.

Attendance would have been higher, but seating was limited, forcing planners to turn some people away for the first time. At one point, the 550 banquet slots were filled and 60 additional people were on a waiting list.

"We were thrilled with the strong response to our banquet invitation," said Director of Development Don Fitzkee, "and we really hated to turn people away."

To accommodate people who wanted to see the program, arrangements were made to live stream it into the church sanctuary. People who came just for the program were offered a coupon for some ham loaf and gourmet potatoes at Gene Wenger's Meats & Fine Foods. While only 14 people came for the live stream, that was enough to establish the new attendance record.

The banquet program took the form of a nightly news broadcast, with a mixture of fun and serious features. The King's Strings, comprised of John & Cindy King and some of their eight children, provided lively gathering music and then wowed the crowd during the "Arts & Culture" segment of the "newscast."

Less serious items included the "Top Six-and-One-Half at Half Past Six" to kick off the broadcast; traffic updates from Nicole Lauzus that highlighted the abundance of skunks and lack of cars on the lightly traveled country roads near the church; the therapeutic weather report from weather therapist Laura Miller; sports by Mark Cunningham; and two original commercials for Gene Wenger's ham loaf. Wenger's donated the ham loaf for the meal and the coupons for live stream attenders.

"People really seemed to enjoy the humor," said Don. "We sure had fun. But we hope they were paying attention to the real news too!

The serious news included a Work for the Well-Being of the City campaign update with a "live look in" at classes at the COBYS Family Life Center; a report on foster/adoptive resource parent training taking place the night of the banquet at Lancaster Church of the Brethren; and a feature on respite parents Dave & Marj Stoddard and the Dupler family.

For your enjoyment, here is a video of the COBYS "Nightly News" Banquet 2014...

More videos of the complete program and some of the individual segments are available on the COBYS YouTube page.

A photo album from the banquet is available on our Facebook page.

Next year's banquet is slated for March 5, 2015, at Middle Creek. We are exploring the option of supplementing the main banquet with a daytime event at another venue to address space limitations.



Video Clip Highlights Adoption as Life-Affirming Option

The politically charged debate surrounding abortion sometimes drives people apart, but adoption is a life-affirming option that people of diverse perspectives can embrace.

COBYS Family Services has prepared a three-minute video segment for churches to use in their observance of Sanctity of Life Sunday on January 20. The video highlights the story of Beverly, who received free birth parent counseling through COBYS and chose to make an adoption plan for her soon-to-be-born daughter.

View and download the video here. Or check it out on Facebook and help spread the word to your friends. DVDs also are available for congregations who request them.

For more information about the video, contact Becky Frey or to learn more about COBYS Birth Parent Counseling services, please contact Melanie Swansfeger or go to


Annual Reports & Newsletters

Fall 2014 Fostering Hope Newsletter

August 2014 COBYS Connection Newsletter

Summer 2014 Fostering Hope Newsletter

April 2014 COBYS Connection Newsletter

Spring 2014 Fostering Hope Newsletter

February 2014 COBYS Connection Newsletter

2013 Annual Report/Contributors List

2013 Staff Christmas Card

Winter 2013 Fostering Hope Newsletter

November 2013 COBYS Connection Newsletter

Fall 2013 Fostering Hope Newsletter

August 2013 COBYS Connection Newsletter

Summer 2013 Fostering Hope Newsletter

April 2013 COBYS Connection Newsletter

Spring 2013 Fostering Hope Newsletter

January 2013 COBYS Connection Newsletter

Winter 2012 Fostering Hope Newsletter

November 2012 COBYS Connection Newsletter

Fall 2012 Fostering Hope Newsletter

August 2012 COBYS Connection Newsletter

February 2012 COBYS Connection Newsletter

Summer 2012 Fostering Hope Newsletter

Spring 2012 Fostering Hope Newsletter


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