A multitude of resources comes into play in St. Mary’s to identify and assist families that may otherwise go without gifts and a good dinner during the upcoming holiday season.
A partnership between St. Mary’s Division of Human Services and the St. Mary’s Department of Social Services takes on the first part, finding out who requires help.
The social workers “are able to identify those families that are in need of financial assistance, [as] they work with those families throughout the year,” according to Cynthia Brown, manager of the county’s human services division.
A member of each family referred by social services fills out a form with the number of children in the family, along with their toy preferences and clothing sizes.
“Some of these children are in need of gloves and coats and boots — not just toys,” Brown said.
Other families, businesses, schools and other groups can sponsor a family by calling 301-475-4200, ext. 1680, and will receive a family’s gift-request form. That begins the process of fulfilling those requests and arranging delivery by Dec. 12.
Last year, 987 families were sponsored, but no sponsors were found for almost 100 additional eligible families, Brown said. And as of last week, requests had been received from about 1,000 eligible families for this year’s program.
There are smaller ways that more businesses and people can help out the families for whom no sponsor is found. The human services office can link up those families, Brown said, to the local Marine Corps League’s Toys for Tots program and the Mike’s Food Fund Christmas meal delivery program.
Toys for Tots’ 140 drop box sites are located throughout the county, and Marine Corps League, Pax River Detachment 1305 members will be receiving toys from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27, and this Saturday, Nov. 28 and 29, and again on Dec. 6 and 13 at the county’s Kmart, Walmart and Dressbarn stores. Donations also can be made by going online to toysfortots.org and clicking the links to get to the local program.
Financial donations to the food fund can be dropped off at Mike’s Bikes on Great Mills Road during business hours, and checks to Mike’s Food Fund can be mailed to Mike’s Bikes, 21310C Great Mills Road, Lexington Park, MD 20653.
Hollywood firefighters revive unconscious traveler
A 76-year-old man was heading to the hospital with chest pains one afternoon last week when he became unconscious in a vehicle at Mcintosh Road, according to a county dispatch report and Hollywood volunteer firefighters, four of whom rushed to the scene.
Deputy Fire Chief Richard Brady, Lt. Ernest Rogers, and firefighters Nick Davis and David Yount were the first to arrive on Nov. 18, and they removed the man from the vehicle and provided CPR and a jolt from an automated external defibrillator, according to the fire department’s online report. Ambulance and medic crews also arrived, and the patient began breathing on his own as they got him to the emergency room at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. He again lost his pulse, the online report states, but he was revived a second time, and was breathing on his own when he was transferred to MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
Winter Wonderland to return Saturday to Lexington Park
The annual Winter Wonderland will return from 5:30 to 8 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 29, to the Bay District firehouse on South Shangri-La Drive in Lexington Park. The event will include a magic show, music, moon bounce, children’s crafts, tree lighting and an opportunity to have photographs taken with Santa Claus.
Giving Tuesday includes chance to support CSM
The third annual Giving Tuesday — following today’s Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday — launches a season of generosity, focused on giving to others after three days focused on consumerism.
The College of Southern Maryland’s one-day, online Giving Tuesday event on Dec. 2 will receive donations to support scholarships for students attending the college, as well as programs in the arts, athletics, health sciences and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
Donations on Tuesday for scholarships will be matched by the Florence B. Trueman Scholarship fund in Calvert County, the Greater Waldorf Jaycees Foundation Scholarship Fund in Charles County and the Chiaramonte Hope Scholarship Fund in St. Mary’s County. The college’s foundation will match all donations given that day toward arts, athletics, health sciences, Career Starters Scholarships and STEM.
CSM’s online giving page can be found at www.csmd.edu/Foundation, where supporters will be able to donate, as well as use social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email and other platforms.
Giving Tuesday also provides opportunities to win hourly prizes, which also can be viewed at www.csmd.edu/Foundation. Any size donation is appreciated, but a minimum $10 donation is required to give online.
Play bingo Thursday to benefit rescue squad
A Longaberger and Coach purse bingo event will be held on Thursday, Dec. 4, at the Mechanicsville firehouse to benefit the Mechanicsville Volunteer Rescue Squad. Doors will open at 5 p.m. for the games beginning at 7. The group leader with the most reservations will win a wrought-iron sleigh. Each game will include a Pampered Chef item. For reservations, call Joyce Downs at 301-884-8829 or 301-481-0906.
Enjoy dinner and bluegrass Dec. 6 at Mt. Zion UMC
The Mt. Zion United Methodist Men Annual Winter Dinner will be held on Saturday, Dec. 6, at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Laurel Grove.
Doors will open at 6 p.m., followed at 7 by the dinner catered by Sunshine Catering. There will be entertainment by Jay Armsworthy and Eastern Tradition, and special presentations. Reservations are required.
For more information, call Frank Hill at 301-884-3811 or 301-481-5536, or go online to www.mtzionmech.org.
Have breakfast in town with Santa on Dec. 7
Santa Claus will be back in Leonardtown, for a breakfast to be held from 8 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7, at the Leonardtown firehouse.
The meal prepared by the volunteer fire department’s auxiliary will benefit the department’s operations.
GOP central committee elects officers
St. Mary’s County Republican Central Committee members elected this year met recently and chose their officers, appointing Julie Burk-Greer as chair; David Willenborg as vice chair; Jodi Stanalonis as recording secretary; John Johnson as treasurer; and Barbara Thompson as parliamentarian. Other members of the committee include Bryan Barthelme II, Mary Burke Russell, Kevin Cioppa, Joe DiMarco and Matthew Tippett.
Trucking forum planned for Dec. 11 at fairgrounds
Trucking forums held by the Maryland Farm Bureau, with representatives from the State Highway Administration, Maryland State Police and Maryland Vehicle Administration, will include an event from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 11, at the St. Mary’s fairgrounds.
Hosted by the St. Mary’s Young Farmers, the event will provide updated farm trucking manuals and address questions on issues facing farmers on rural roads and state highways, such as how the latest trucking rules and regulations can affect a business, and concerns in regard to permits, tags and weight limits.
SMCM reading series continues Dec. 11
Keep keeping an eye out for buses
Maryland State Police want motorists to remain alert to buses carrying children to and from school.
Studies show the bus is the safest way to transport children, according to police, but drivers need to pay close attention, particularly when driving in the area of school buses and school zones.
The flashing yellow lights on a school bus indicate it is preparing to stop, to load or unload students. The red flashing lights show the bus is stopped and students are getting on or off. Drivers should not pass in either direction when red flashing lights are activated, unless they are on a divided highway.
Never pass a school bus on the right, as the consequences could be tragic if students are loading or unloading. Make sure to stop at least 20 feet either in front or behind the bus when its red lights are flashing. This gives children enough space to safely enter and exit the bus.
Keep an eye out also for students walking to and from their bus stop, because they may be thinking about getting to school, but not in the safest manner.
Drivers should eliminate distractions that can affect their driving, so they can concentrate on the road and their surroundings, especially in school zones. Remember to refrain from using a handheld cellphone while driving.