Rev. Mandy Mastros 3.jpg

Rev. Mandy M. Mastros from the Moravian Center of Lancaster, listens to a question as she talks about her new book, "Your Friendly Neighborhood Hope Shop" on Wednesday, Nov., 3, 2021.

THE ISSUE: It’s Monday, the day we take a few moments to highlight the good news in Lancaster County and the surrounding region. Some of these items are welcome developments on the economic front or for area neighborhoods. Others are local stories of achievement, perseverance, compassion and creativity that represent welcome points of light in a still-difficult time of the long pandemic. All of this news deserves a brighter spotlight.

We enjoyed reading LNP | LancasterOnline correspondent Joan Kern’s feature story about the Rev. Mandy M. Mastros in the Nov. 13 edition.

There’s much inspiration to be found in Mastros’ life and works in Lancaster County.

She’s the pastor of Moravian Center of Lancaster on North Queen Street and the author of “Your Friendly Neighborhood Hope Shop,” a new book that contains, as Mastros describes it, real-life stories “about resilience, hope, people working together in the community to overcome obstacles.”

The book has 25 such stories and is framed as an Advent devotional. The tales are “about people on the streets of Lancaster with whom Mastros has worked on issues of homelessness, addiction, food insecurity and mental health since she became pastor of the church four years ago this month,” Kern explained.

As the year-end holiday season approaches, it seems we can all use such stories more than ever.

“My hope with the book is to give some humanity and some voice to people not often heard or seen,” Mastros added.

We like this, too: A portion of the proceeds from the book’s sales will benefit Lanc Co MyHome, which describes itself as “a network of organizations and individuals working together to provide all the people experiencing homelessness within our community with shelter and a place to stay.”

Mastros’ church is doing work that should be praised, too. Last December, Moravian Center of Lancaster, which is celebrating its 275th anniversary this year, began sharing its space with the Islamic Community Center of Lancaster.

“The partnership has been wonderful,” Mastros said. “We serve meals together and (we serve) individuals together. They’ve shared about their faith with us.”

It’s an inspiring partnership that should make all in Lancaster County proud.

In other good things:

— The Hershey Story Museum is offering an opportunity for young writers to show their stuff, LNP | LancasterOnline’s Jenelle Janci reported last Tuesday.

The museum is accepting submissions for its annual History Contest for Young Writers through Feb. 15, 2022. The entry form can be found online at, under the “Students & Teachers” tab.

The contest is open to students in grades five through eight who are enrolled in a public, private or home school in Lancaster, York, Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lebanon or Perry counties.

Students may submit an entry in one of four categories: nonfiction, fiction, poetry or the history of science/health.

First-place winners will receive $100, a family membership to The Hershey Story, tickets to Hersheypark and a Hershey’s chocolate gift basket.

— Janci also reported last week on a Conestoga farmer who is being included in “This American Dairy Farmer,” a digital series highlighting dairy farms.

“Ed Facer, dairy manager at Star Rock Farms in Conestoga, educates children about agriculture,” Janci wrote. “In Facer’s episode of the digital series, he shared how he rode his bike 7 miles daily as a boy to work on a farm and be close to cows. He’s helped share that passion with future generations, giving thousands of students access to virtual tours of Star Rock Farms.”

It’s great to see this sort of positive marketing for the agriculture industry, and it’s especially great to see Facer’s keen interest in getting the next generation of potential farmers excited about that vocation.

“Someone’s got to feed the world, and I want to be part of it,” Facer said.

Find out more and see Facer’s episode at

— Finally, we loved the story in the Nov. 15 LNP about 2002 Penn Manor High School graduate Talia McKinney, who served as the guide runner for Irwin Ramirez, who is blind, at the New York City Marathon earlier this month.

“The two ran the 26.2-mile course while connected by a five-inch tether wrapped around their fingers,” staff writer Mike Andrelczyk wrote.

They finished in 3 hours and 45 minutes.

“I was nervous,” McKinney said. “You sort of feel uncomfortable pulling someone a certain way, and he sort of guided me in terms of that.”

McKinney is a real estate agent who appears on Bravo TV’s “Million Dollar Listing New York,” Andrelczyk reported. She met Ramirez six years ago through the group Achilles International, which “aims to transform the lives of people with disabilities through athletics and social connection,” Andrelczyk wrote.

One of McKinney’s jobs as the two navigated the course was to call ahead to other runners about the blind runner coming through — while also keeping Ramirez informed about the environs.

“You’re trying to be his eyes,” McKinney said. “You’re coming up to a corner and you’ll say, ‘Coming up to a corner in 100 meters, we’re turning right in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,’ so it’s a lot of verbal guidance. It’s really challenging. I’m still hoarse from yelling the entire time.”

But it’s a fun experience, too.

“We inspire each other to enjoy the sport of running,” Ramirez told Andrelczyk.

Their teamwork and accomplishments should inspire us. 

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