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Franklin County Visitors Bureau Readies for Festival of Trees and Sharing the Heart of the Holidays

As the last leaves fall from trees and the first frost arrives, the Franklin County Visitors Bureau is busy getting ready for the annual Festival of Trees, set to open this year at the 11/30 Visitors Center on November 18th at 4 PM.  Back again in 2024 is Sharing the Heart of the Holidays, a special giving and receiving event, centered around collecting a variety of items to support Franklin County residents that need a little help this holiday season.

Homeless Matters, Grocery Outlet, and Franklin County Visitors Bureau teamed up in 2023 to organize the first year, which resulted in a full box truck of donations to help families and individuals in Frankliln County during the holiday season and winter months. Sharing the Heart of the Holiday collects twelve items to correspond to the twelve days of Christmas. These items are blankets and linens, books of all kinds, coats of all sizes for the entire family, outdoor gear like hats, scarves, mittens/gloves, snow boots and galoshes, grocery gift cards, laundry and hygiene items, games and family fun items, art and school supplies, baby clothes and baby items, gas cards, and toys. Collection of items will end on December 4.

“Homeless Matters strives to ease the burdens that face families and assist in providing an opportunity to be successful, even in the face of such personal hardships. Through this wonderful collaboration we can lessen the burden this holiday season and share the heart of the holidays,” said Jacqui Wolfe, the driving force behind Homeless Matters.

Businesses and organizations interested in a hosting a Sharing the Heart of the Holiday donation box or meeting some of the organizations that connect people in need to the collection items provided by  Sharing the Heart of the Holidays are invited to attend First Friday at the Frankliln County 11/30 Visitors Center on November 3, 5 PM to 7:30 PM. Or, contact the Franklin County Visitors Bureau at 717.552.2977 for questions, more information, or to be a drop-off site for Sharing the Heart of the Holidays. To learn more about Festival of Trees, visit


Kitty D Hann 1938-2024

At 18 years of age, Kitty was recruited to work for the Dept. of the Navy in Washington, D.C., where she resided in an all-girl’s boarding house. She created lifelong friendships there.

John Eugene Walck 1933-2024

Mr. Walck worked proudly for Hagerstown Canteen Vending Service for 50 years, retiring in 2003. He enjoyed the outdoors, trap shooting, and collecting trains.

Justin L. Nichols 1981-2024

Justin enjoyed hunting, fishing, spending time around a camp fire, time spent with family and friends and living life to the fullest.

Robert “Bob” Rhoten 1933-2024

After he left the military, Bob worked several data entry jobs. After 10 years of service to the Federal Government, he retired in his early 70’s.

Nina Fegan 1947-2024

Nina graduated from St. Joseph’s Nursing School in Lancaster, PA as a Registered Nurse. She enjoyed puzzles, reading and vacationing in Cape May, NJ.

Duane Lee Bidlack 1938-2024

Duane earned a Bachelor’s degree from Tri-State College and later a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University.

Who We Are

The Franklin County Free Press, established by Vicky Taylor in 2019, emerged as a beacon of local journalism for the residents of Franklin County. Under Vicky's leadership, it quickly became an essential source of news, particularly at a time when major newspaper publications were increasingly overlooking local coverage.

On January 1, 2022, the torch was passed to Nathan Neil and his firm, Neil Publishing, LLC. Neil, a local entrepreneur with multiple thriving businesses in Chambersburg, shares Vicky's fervent commitment to both the community and the world of local journalism.

Rooted in the heart of Franklin County and powered by its residents, the Franklin County Free Press continues to bridge the gap, ensuring that the local stories, events, and issues that matter most to the community remain in the spotlight.