One of the surest indicators is Our Daily Bread, the downtown soup kitchen that has been serving the needy for a quarter century.
Not just city folk, but anybody who happens to stop in. And stop in they have, in droves, for breakfast or lunch, says Paula Koch, ODB's business manager.
Normally, the soup kitchen ... a misnomer, since it really offers quality meals ... serves some 269 people a day, she says. In recent months, the average leaped to 350, mainly moms and dads coming in with their children.
Actually, ODB was running out of food for the first time in its history, Paula explained.
So, the soup kitchen itself needs help these days. Volunteers of all faiths from churches throughout the county prepare and serve meals to all comers ... no questions asked. But the kitchen must also buy food.
If you can help, please write a check payable to Our Daily Bread, 331 S. George St., York, PA 17403.
St. John's Episcopal Church also sees more people knocking at its food pantry door.
For the past two years, St. John's reports, it has served 40-45 clients a month, mostly people from within an eight-block area of downtown York. "The last several months have shown a significant rise to a top of 72 in June," St. John's notes.
Similarly, Aldersgate UM Church ... "aware of the economic situation and the loss of jobs in York County and around the country," and "because the requests for assistance have been increasing" ... is making a special effort to respond to the pressing needs of members and non-members alike.
In the 15 years since the Byrnes Health Education Center opened, 800,000 people young and old have taken advantage of healthy-living classes by skilled teachers in this high-tech facility, one of just a handful in the nation, a true community treasure.
Next week, at their annual meeting, leaders will unveil plans for a year-long anniversary celebration.
Focusing on the blazing debate over national health, Dianna Be naknin, director of the Area Agency on Aging, observes ...
"No discussion of health care reform should occur that does not include the entire spectrum of long-term care services.
"Health care is not just about providing care for acute illnesses. It is inclusive of a range of services that include nutrition education, exercise programs and community services that are geared to prevent or effectively manage illnesses and reduce the need for hospitalization and facility care."
New Eagle Scouts ...
---Nicholas Vrankin, Troop 151, Hopewell Area Parents Association, Stewartstown ... son of Jeff and Colleen Vrankin. Project: Cleared area of land for a campground for Stewartstown Baptist Church.
---Kody Shenberger, Troop 31, Otterbein UMC, Mount Wolf ... son of Kirk and Robin Shen berger. Project: Built an outdoor prayer maze in the picnic area at Locust Grove UCC.
Folks at Covenant Moravian Church are collecting eyeglasses and hearing aids for the Dallastown Lions Club. Lions Club members all over the world gather some 30 million eyeglasses each year for the needy.
Zion Lutheran on Brandywine has scheduled a candlelight vigil for 5 p.m. Sunday to pray for students and teachers as the new school year begins.
Zumba, Yoga and Pilates ... a free exercise class for women ... deals with the heart, bones and muscles ... 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Apple Hill ... must register, 741-8280.
With footballs filling the air once again, Forbes.com ranks the Notre Dame's program as the "most valuable" in college football ... worth $101 million ... followed by Texas, $92 million; Georgia, $90 million; Michigan, $85 million; and Florida, $84 million. Penn State comes in at $69 million.
York County Builders present their annual "Parade of Homes" Sept. 17-20 and again Sept. 24-27 ... open house at 15 new and five remodeled homes ... details, 767-2444, or YorkBuilders.com.
DreamWrights has posted auditions for two shows: "To See the Stars," 6 p.m. Sept. 15-17, teens only ... "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," 6 p.m. Sept. 22-23 ... details, 848-8623. Also, the family theater group will conduct a gown, dress and jewelry sale 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at its Carlisle Avenue headquarters.
Columns by Hank Merges, a local writer, appear Tuesday and Thursday in The York Dispatch. Reach Hank at firstname.lastname@example.org or 854-1575.