News & Events

National Foster Care Month – Foster & Adoptive Families Meet & Greet

Meet Foster & Adoptive Families

Join us on Friday, May 31 for an opportunity to learn about the short-term, long-term, and lifetime ways foster/adoptive families serve children in foster care! The event will be held at Keystone Church, 20 Harristown Road, Paradise, PA 17562.

COBYS foster/adoptive families were once just like you – thinking about, praying about, and learning about foster care and adoption. They decided the time was right for them to open up their heart and homes.

Learn about the steps they took to become an approved resource family for children in foster care. Discover what it is like to create relationships with foster children and their birth families. Hear their experiences of providing short-term, long-term, and lifetime care for children.

Family Fun!

Kid friendly crafts and stories emphasize the love and security offered by parents and the importance of being safe. Games and a fantastic playground offer kids a chance to play while grownups converse.

Meet Staff

COBYS staff are passionate about the ministry of foster care and adoption! They are available to discuss the requirements and process to become approved with COBYS as a foster/adoptive resource family as well as any specific questions you have.

Learn more about the three types of foster care, click here.

To RSVP to attend, click here.

2019 Family Fun Walk

COBYS Family Services will host the 25th Annual Family Fun Walk on Sunday, May 5, at Peter Becker Community, 800 Maple Ave., Harleysville. The walk begins at 4 p.m., with registration beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Join us with your church group or other friends at the 25th Annual Family Fun Walk to benefit the children and families served by the ministries of COBYS Family Services. Participants can simply make a donation, and/or line up sponsors, and come out for the three-mile walk on a safe and scenic walking path.

The top two fundraisers can select a grand prize: two tickets to Sight & Sound Theatre’s production of Jesus, or pick your favorite door prize. In addition to the t-shirt, ice cream and refreshments, and an opportunity to win a door prize afforded to everyone, walkers can earn additional prizes. Each church youth group that raises $1,000 or more receives a gym night and pizza party. Please register your group together.

Click here: for the Family Fun Walk Brochure or click here: to go directly to the Sponsor Sheet.  Or contact Anne Stokes at 717-656-6580 or

COBYS Banquet Shares “Story Time” of Successes

COBYS Family Services “Story Time Banquet,” held March 14 at the Middle Creek Church of the Brethren, revisited some old familiar children’s stories and drewinspirational parallels and lessonswith the work done by the ministries of COBYS Family Services.

The program was offered twice on the same day—at both a lunch and dinner seating. This year’s event with combined total attendance of nearly 500 people, raised more than $56,000.

Attendees learned what “Corduroy” has to do with Adoption, how “The Cat in the Hat” relates to the COBYS Permanency unit, and how the Family Life Education program takes a page from “The Little Engine That Could.” The banquet also included good food, fellowship, wonderful music provided by John Frye, Pastor of Worship and Care at Calgary Church in Lancaster at lunch. The Ridgeway Brass from Ridgeway Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg provided evening entertainment this year.

New to the annual banquet this year was a storybook donation drive. Having books to call their own is important for the kids COBYS serves through our foster care and adoption programs. Attendees generously filled bin to overflowing with donated books.

Video of the entire program and of some individual segments is available on the COBYS YouTube page.

Thanks to all who supported COBYS through this event.

Rain Dampens Bodies, but Not Spirit at Record-Setting Bike & Hike

Despite steady rain that cancelled portions of the 22nd annual COBYS Bike & Hike, Sunday, September 9, was a bright day for COBYS Family Services.

More than 200 supporters walked three miles through the streets of Lititz in a steady downpour. The route was revised to avoid a soggy Lititz Springs Park. By the end of the day donors had established a new income record of more than $142,000 for COBYS ministries. The figure is an increase of more than $5,000  from last year and may still grow.

“We knew the weather would impact attendance,” said COBYS Director of Development Don Fitzkee, “but we weren’t sure about income. We were thrilled that people gave so generously. It was a great day!”

The increase in income marked the 20th consecutive year of growth for COBYS’ signature fundraiser. Since its inception, the Bike & Hike has raised more than $1.4 million for COBYS ministries.

In addition to the walk, the event usually includes two bicycle rides and a motorcycle ride, all staged from the pavilion at the Lititz Church of the Brethren. The rides were cancelled due to a flood advisory, and the event was moved inside to the church fellowship hall.

“We were really grateful that the church could accommodate us inside on short notice,” said Fitzkee. “It made for a much more pleasant afternoon.”

A number of would-be riders walked instead, or came to donate and pick up a t-shirt. In addition to 210 walkers, many others stopped in for fellowship, ice cream, or to bid on the Silent Auction that ran throughout the afternoon. Total attendance was estimated at 350, down from 601 people who walked or rode last year.

Taking the weather in stride, planners jokingly changed the event name to “COBYS Soak & Hike” and Fitzkee encouraged participants to “make memories” as they trudged through puddles. He later joked that although participation was down, the event established a new “indoor attendance record.”

Keith & Lisa Reinhart, owners of the Lampeter Café, cheered bedraggled walkers by setting up an impromptu coffee and hot chocolate station. (Someone suggested that serving hot drinks was their excuse to not have to walk in the rain, and Keith did not deny it.)

Contributing to the day’s success was record business support. More than 100 businesses provided cash or in kind donations of auction items, door prizes, or food and supplies. Cash sponsorships from businesses exceeded the last year’s amount by $11,000 and the previous best by $6,000. The auction generated $4,921, nearly $1,000 more than last year. Bringing top price at $440 was a custom Philadelphia Eagles-themed cornhole game made by Craig Snyder and donated by Galen & Nancy Shenk.

Participants pay a registration fee and/or raise money from sponsors. Mari Cunningham established a new individual fundraising record with total pledges of $12,525. Other top fundraisers were Floy Fitzkee, $6,685; Londa Brandt, $5,810; and Lucy de Perrot, $3,900.

Four Church of the Brethren youth groups earned gym and pizza nights by raising at least $1,500. They were: Little Swatara, $10,462; Mohrsville, $5,031; Mountville, $1,972; and West Green Tree, $1,556.

At the end of the day Fitzkee thanked the crowd for their friendship and support during his 17 years as Director of Development, acknowledging that he recently had announced his resignation and would not be handing out door prizes next year. The crowd expressed appreciation for his service with a standing ovation.

Photos from the event can be viewed on our Facebook page.

Haven’t paid your Bike & Hike pledge yet? Go here.

COBYS is grateful to additional sponsors who helped make Bike & Hike a success. Click here to view a full list.


Special Thanks to Our Business Sponsors
































Balsbaugh Insurance Agency
Ebersole Brothers Construction, Inc.
ELA Group, Inc.
Engle Printing & Publishing Company
Four Seasons Produce
Homestead Nutrition, Inc.
J.B. Zimmerman
Keller Brothers Auto Company
Lancaster Salvage
Longenecker’s True Value & Appliances
The Country Store, LLC
Unruh Insurance Agency, Inc.
Wenger & Company PC

Grand Prize Donors
Bob Neff Tours, Inc.
Giant Food Stores
Sight & Sound Theatres

Lititz Church of the Brethren

Crystal Springs Water Company
Garman Builders
Hess Brothers Fruit Company
John Herr’s Village Market
Keystone Pretzels
Smith’s Candies

Silent Auction Donors
Blatt’s Service & Fabrication
Blue Ridge Communications
Body & Soul Reflexology
Cindy Umberger
Cocalico Automotive, Inc.
Don & Carolyn Fitzkee
DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Lancaster
Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre
Esbenshade’s Garden Centers
Fillmore Container
Fox Meadows Creamery & Country Market
Foxchase Golf Club & Banquet Facility
Galen & Nancy Shenk
Go N Bananas
Good’s Store
Henry Faus
The Hershey Story
James & Pamela Ament
James Wenger
Jean Leininger
Keller Brothers Auto Company
Mark & Mari Cunningham
McElroy Pharmacy
Merv & Bonnie Wampler
Morr Indoor Range & Training Center
Outback Toys
Primitives by Kathy
S. Clyde Weaver
Shuey’s Pretzels
Smith’s Candies
Wenger Foundation, Inc.
Wilbur & Judy Rohrer

Door Prizes
Blue Ridge Communications
Choo Choo Barn
Cocalico Automotive, Inc.
Country Barn
Esbenshade’s Garden Centers
Goodville Mutual Casualty Company
Home Depot
Kauffman’s Bar-B-Q Restaurant
Keller Brothers Auto Company
Landis Valley Associates
Oregon Dairy
Peaceful Valley Furniture
Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center
Reist Popcorn Company
Rocky Springs Entertainment Center
Shuey’s Pretzels
Smith’s Candies
Stauffers of Kissel Hill
Tangles Salon
Umberger’s of Fontana
Village Greens Golf, Inc.
Zig’s Bakery & Café