Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Model Trains Chug into Findlay on Holiday Mission

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Model Trains Chug into Findlay on Holiday Mission

Article excerpt

Eight Lionel trains chugged along on separate tracks past a circus scene, snow-covered hills, a Ferris wheel and multiple displays of miniature houses as a new holiday tradition was born at the Findlay Township Activity Center.

Smiles abounded, starting with Paul Linko Jr., owner and operator of the trains, and his wife, Maureen.

"I can't believe how many people came," Mrs. Linko said.

It wasn't uncommon to see three generations of train watchers, as children watched with their parents and grandparents. The kids giggled as they watched the trains, and adults smiled as they witnessed the joy of the children.

Also smiling were the staff and volunteers of the West Allegheny Food Bank, the beneficiary of the train display Friday and Saturday. Admission was $5 per adult, $3 per child or $10 per family.

A total of 300 people came Friday and 270 had been through the display by mid-afternoon on Saturday, said Darlene Howell, recreation coordinator for the township. She had met the Linkos at a flea market and saw them at a train display last year in another municipality.

"I like to bring things for the community," Ms. Howell said. The trains offered a nice outting for families, while proceeds benefited residents who need help feeding their families.

People donated items for raffles, including Mr. Linko, who donated three artificial trees that were decorated by the food bank. Two of the most popular gift baskets were the one that had Penguins game tickets, and a tree with many scratch-off lottery tickets.

By 3 p.m. Saturday, visitors had purchased $500 worth of raffle tickets, said Cindi Quinn, fundraising chairwoman for the food pantry.

The pantry feeds about 170 families each month, said Geri Hermann, coordinator of the West Allegheny Food Bank. "I think that's going to get worse because of government cutbacks in the food stamp program," she said. …

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