Franklin County Overdose Task Force Kicks off September Recovery Month with Events and Awareness Campaign

The Franklin County Overdose Task Force will kick off its September Recovery Month with a new look on its website and a three-month billboard campaign bearing a message of hope for community members struggling with substance abuse addictions.

The color purple, symbolizing National Recovery Month, will dominate many of the activities planned by the task force and its community partners in their upcoming awareness campaign.

Purple light installations will be located in Waynesboro and Chambersburg., in the Waynesboro Parklet on Main Street and in several locations in Chambersburg.

The Waynesboro lights will be turned on at the 2nd Annual Loved and Lost Vigil on Friday, August 31.

Chambersburg’s purple lights – to be turned on during September – will include strings of purple lights on the tree trunks of approximately 70 trees that line Main Street in Downtown Chambersburg. The fountain in downtown Chambersburg will also be up-lighted with the color purple.

The Summit Health building on 5th Avenue in Chambersburg and the Waynesboro Hospital will also be up-lighted the color purple.

In addition to the various events and activities coordinated by Franklin County Overdose Task Force partners, the task force’s awareness campaign will include three-month billboard campaign to launch Sept. 1, with the message “Recovery is possible.”

It will include a website link to the task force website.

Billboards will include two digital ones in Chambersburg  and traditional billboards in Waynesboro, Mercersburg and the Marion/Greencastle/State Line areas.

A facelift of the Franklin County Overdose Task Force website hosted by the Pennsylvania Overdose Prevention Technical Assistance Center is due to be completed and go live Sept. 1. It will include a new website address – – to be included on the billboards.

Franklin County Drug and Alcohol and Summit Health provided funding for the awareness campaign. Recovery Month activities include two Recovery Month proclamations, with the first, by Franklin County’s commissioners, is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 28 in the commissioner’s office at 14 North Main Street, Chambersburg. Those attending are encouraged to wear some form of purple.  

The second proclamation by Chambersburg Mayor Walt Bietsch will be read during the Third Annual Lights of Hope Candlelight Vigil and Walk from 8 to 9 p.m. Sept. 7 at Chambers Fort Park in downtown Chambersburg.The walk honors and supports substance abuse addicts in recovery as well as the families of overdose death victims. Candles will be invited. The public is welcome.

Other Recovery Month events include:

  • Tuesday, August 28: Franklin County Commissioners Recovery Month Proclamation at 10am at the Commissioner’s Office at 14 N. Main Street, Chambersburg
  • Tuesday, August 28: Recovery Awareness Walk in Waynesboro 6-7 pm  Gather at Esther House at 6 pm this evening to walk Main Street in Waynesboro.We will walk from Walnut Street up one side of Main Street, crossing at the square and down the other side of Main Street, crossing again onto Walnut Street to Esther House. For more information call 717-655-5217 or email at: Facebook page.
  • Friday, August 31: 2nd Annual Loved and Lost Vigil in Waynesboro 8pm Gather at Main Street Park at 8 pm this evening to honor and remember loved ones lost to overdose. Call Lindsay Walls at 540-931-3157 or email for more information. Facebook event page.
  • Friday, August 31: Memory Wall Dedication at Esther House in Waynesboro Following the 2nd Annual Loved and Lost Vigil in Waynesboro, attend the Esther House Memory Wall Dedication by placing small photos of lost loved ones on the wall. The wall will serve as a reminder of the seriousness of this battle if addiction. The event will end with a time of silence and prayer. For more information call 717-655-5217 or email at: Facebook page.
  • Friday, August 31: International Overdose Awareness Day in Mercersburg 6pm-8:30pm Help Mercersburg remember and recognize the loss of loved ones and learn how overdose effects every single person—and how you can make a difference. Vendors, games, crafts, kids activities, music, door prizes, food for purchase. Located at Lions Club Park. Facebook event page.
  • Saturday, September 1: Open House at Esther House in Waynesboro 10am-8pm Esther House is hosting an open house all day. Facility tours and light refreshments available. Paintings created by former residents will be on display and staff will be available to answer questions. For more information call 717-655-5217 or email at: Facebook page.
  • Friday, September 7: 3rd Annual Lights of Hope Candle Light Vigil & Walk in Downtown Chambersburg at 8pm Join us for the 3rd Annual Franklin County Lights of Hope Candle Light Vigil & Walk to honor and support our loved ones as we bring awareness to the disease of addiction. The event will be held on First Friday at Chambers Fort Park. Candles will be provided. Borough of Chambersburg Mayor Walk Bietsch will read a proclamation regarding Recovery Month. Facebook event page.
  • Saturday, September 22: Celebrate Recovery Connection Event in Waynesboro 9am-12pm Five Forks BIC Church. Contact: Ray Rottler (717) 377-4557. Register online using the link at  Facebook event page.
  • Saturday, September 22: Breaking the Chains of Addiction Event at Noah’s House in Chambersburg 3pm-9pm Join us for an afternoon to celebrate recovery and rebuilding families. Featured guest speaker is Tim Ryan, “The Hope Dealer”. Moon bounce, face painting, food, DJ and bonfire. Facebook event page.
The Franklin County Overdose Task Force formed in 2015 to address the opioid epidemic in our community. The task force, which has over 70 at large members, works to facilitate connections with agencies and communities and to create initiatives to address the crisis. The task force meets monthly and has sub committees that focus on prevention, treatment, recovery, law enforcement, communications and data collection. 
*September is also National Suicide Prevention Month which focuses on reaching out to those affected by suicide and increasing awareness of suicide prevention resources and treatment. To learn more about suicide prevention activities in Franklin County during September, check out this blog.