Bethlehem Press

Sunday, July 15, 2018
PRESS PHOTOS BY DENNIS GLEWThere were some complaints about the snow earlier in the evening Dec. 9, but afterwards the scene was beautiful for Bethlehem’s 20th Luminaria Night. More photos on A16. PRESS PHOTOS BY DENNIS GLEWThere were some complaints about the snow earlier in the evening Dec. 9, but afterwards the scene was beautiful for Bethlehem’s 20th Luminaria Night. More photos on A16.
Tom Kwiatek juggles luminaria as the storm grows more intense. Tom Kwiatek juggles luminaria as the storm grows more intense.
Kim Plyler helped a neighbor with her luminaria. Kim Plyler helped a neighbor with her luminaria.
Fiona Bennett joined her father in placing luminaria on the sidewalks of their corner property. Fiona Bennett joined her father in placing luminaria on the sidewalks of their corner property.
Clearing a space for luminaria, Marty Plyler shovers the sidewalk on his block. Clearing a space for luminaria, Marty Plyler shovers the sidewalk on his block.
Nicole and Mike Layden brave the storm to light luminaria on the walk to their home. Nicole and Mike Layden brave the storm to light luminaria on the walk to their home.
Snow flies as Marty Mazzolla lights a luminaria outside his home on Sycamore St. in Bethlehem. Snow flies as Marty Mazzolla lights a luminaria outside his home on Sycamore St. in Bethlehem.
Two of the founders of Luminaria Night, Donna Acerra (center) and Joanne Anderson (right) join Kate Cohen, New Bethany’s Director of Development and Communications, to welcome volunteers picking up supplies. Two of the founders of Luminaria Night, Donna Acerra (center) and Joanne Anderson (right) join Kate Cohen, New Bethany’s Director of Development and Communications, to welcome volunteers picking up supplies.
Among the numerous students helping at Memorial Pool were two exchange students at Northampton Community College, Imma Anikina (left) and Olga Maltseva. Both young women are from Russia, Imma from the region of the Ural mountains, Olga from Siberia. Among the numerous students helping at Memorial Pool were two exchange students at Northampton Community College, Imma Anikina (left) and Olga Maltseva. Both young women are from Russia, Imma from the region of the Ural mountains, Olga from Siberia.
Liberty HS students , Dane Sinks and Vaibhar Gowda, volunteered to carry boxes of luminaria makings to people’s cars. Liberty HS students , Dane Sinks and Vaibhar Gowda, volunteered to carry boxes of luminaria makings to people’s cars.
7071. Diane Elliott (left), Executive Director of New Bethany Ministries, answers questions from a neighborhood captain picking up luminaria supplies. 7071. Diane Elliott (left), Executive Director of New Bethany Ministries, answers questions from a neighborhood captain picking up luminaria supplies.
Marilyn Wetmore pauses in front of bags of sand that will thousands of luminaria. 2017 is Marilyn’s 10th year as a luminaria volunteer. Marilyn Wetmore pauses in front of bags of sand that will thousands of luminaria. 2017 is Marilyn’s 10th year as a luminaria volunteer.
Jenny Boyle, a student at Saucon Valley HS who lives in Bethlehem, gathers bags of candles to distribute to neighborhood volunteers. Asked why she has done this for three years, Jenny said she simply wants to help New Bethany. Jenny Boyle, a student at Saucon Valley HS who lives in Bethlehem, gathers bags of candles to distribute to neighborhood volunteers. Asked why she has done this for three years, Jenny said she simply wants to help New Bethany.
The crew from Traditions of America, the 55+ community in Saucon Valley, picked up luminaria at Memorial Pool for 140 families. L-R, Bob Happel, Bill Walker, Angelo Perri, Vinny Frisby, and Gary Gilbert. The crew from Traditions of America, the 55+ community in Saucon Valley, picked up luminaria at Memorial Pool for 140 families. L-R, Bob Happel, Bill Walker, Angelo Perri, Vinny Frisby, and Gary Gilbert.

Beautiful event for wonderful cause

Monday, December 18, 2017 by Dorothy Glew Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

The evening of Dec. 9 marked the 20th anniversary of a beloved tradition in Bethlehem and throughout the Lehigh Valley, Luminaria Night. On that night rows of white paper bags holding a lighted candle anchored in sand are arranged in rows up and down streets, creating a magnificent sight. All of the money collected for the Luminaria kits goes to New Bethany Ministries, which serves the needs of the poor.

New Bethany, an interfaith ministry, began in the early 1980s to alleviate poverty in Southside Bethlehem. Throughout its thirty-two year history, New Bethany has provided a host of services to the very needy, including meals, clothing, showers, permanent housing for the homeless, and financial management for the mentally ill. This nonprofit agency is supported by numerous local groups as well as religious organizations, individual donors, foundations, organizations, and corporations.

However, New Bethany’s biggest source of support is Luminaria Night. The fundraiser could not take place without the involvement of numerous volunteers. Some prepare and distribute the Luminaria kits at the Memorial Pool Building on Illick’s Mill Road. Others include regional captains who make sure that everyone in a neighborhood has a chance to participate, and block captains who take orders for the kits, pick up the kits at the Pool Building, and deliver them to their neighbors.

Luminaria’s beginnings were modest. In 1997, three women, DeAnn Martin, Donna Acerra, and Joanne Anderson, sold kits on three streets and raised $300 to benefit a needy family. In subsequent years several charities, including New Bethany, benefited from the event. So impressed were the three women with the work of New Bethany that in 2003 they affiliated permanently with the organization. In the sixteen years since, a total of $750,000 has been raised. In 2016, 3,700 participants raised $92,000. The growth of this effort on behalf of New Bethany has been, as Joanne Anderson observed, “one little light at a time.”