Chil­dren’s Aid So­ci­ety gives out bas­kets in time for Thanks­giv­ing

250 full meals handed out to fam­i­lies in need

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TIF­FANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com

For many peo­ple Thanks­giv­ing Day is about par­tak­ing in a deca­dent feast with fam­ily sur­round­ing them, but many fam­i­lies in need can­not af­ford such a lux­ury. The Charles County Chil­dren’s Aid So­ci­ety took it upon it­self to give free Thanks­giv­ing bas­kets to those fam­i­lies ex­pe­ri­enc­ing hard times, so that they can cre­ate a spec­tac­u­lar hol­i­day

din­ner.

Through­out the morn­ing on Tues­day, the Chil­dren’s Aid So­ci­ety dis­trib­uted hun­dreds of Thanks­giv­ing bas­kets at the Hunt­ing­ton Com­mu­nity Cen­ter. Each bas­ket in­cluded ev­ery part of a Thanks­giv­ing meal rang­ing from the turkey to the dessert, in­clud­ing pota­toes, onions, stuff­ing, cran­berry sauce, gravy, breads, desserts, a turkey and a foil pan with di­rec­tions for how to cook the turkey.

Danielle Wil­moth, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Chil­dren’s Aid So­ci­ety, said the or­ga­ni­za­tion dis­trib­utes 250 Thanks­giv­ing bas­kets to fam­i­lies liv­ing in Wal­dorf or White Plains with chil­dren younger than 18.

“Peo­ple were lined up be­fore we got here,” Wil­moth said. “This is my fifth year do­ing Thanks­giv­ing bas­kets and it’s awe­some to know that no one is go­ing with­out food this Thanks­giv­ing. For some of the peo­ple you can just tell that a weight is lifted off of them be­cause they don’t have to worry about where their meal that day is go­ing to come from any­more.”

Wal­dorf res­i­dent Cher- rie McClel­lan said she is very grateful for what the Chil­dren’s Aid So­ci­ety has done for her fam­ily..

“I woke up this morn­ing happy,” McClel­lan said. “This year has been pret- ty hard for me as far as jobs and be­ing in and out of work. I have a big fami- ly and I have a mom that I take care of so I re­ally real- ly needed the help. I have a daugh­ter with autism so this has helped me a lot. I’m ver y thrilled.”

Pamela Vahle, chair- woman of the Chil­dren’s Aid So­ci­ety board of di- rec­tors, said the an­nual Thanks­giv­ing bas­ket dis- tri­b­u­tion has been around for 14 years be­cause there are peo­ple in the county who need the help. Vahle said the or­ga­ni­za­tion re­ceived many dona­tions to help make the event pos- sible in­clud­ing a $2,000 lo­cal grant and truck full of tur­keys from New Life Church in La Plata.

“Peo­ple can’t af­ford the food,” Vahle said. “They are strug­gling and los­ing their jobs and try­ing to raise their kids on their own so we try to make life eas­ier for fam­i­lies with chil­dren. There’s a lot of fam­i­lies who won­der where they are go­ing to get their next dol­lar or how they are go­ing to put food on the ta­ble be­cause of their cur­rent sit­u­a­tion but we want to make sure the kids don’t have that stress when they sit down for Thanks­giv­ing din­ner.”

Genevie Plumb­ing, the Charles County Young Pro­fes­sion­als of the Charles County Cham- ber of Com­merce and The Wel­burn Or­ga­niza- tion-McDon­ald’s helped pass out bas­kets, bags and tur­keys to the fami- lies.

Par­ris St­ed­man, mar­ket- ing man­ager at The Wel- burn Or­ga­ni­za­tion-Mc- Don­ald’s, brought eight man­agers and the owner of the com­pany, An­drew Wel­burn, to help the Chil­dren’s Aid So­ci­ety by hand­ing out onions, tur- keys and pota­toes at 8:15 a.m. She said the compa- ny is very in­vested in giv- ing back and are mo­ti­vated by the smiles they are putting on peo­ple’s faces.

“A lot of the time our cus- tomers com­ing through the line at McDon­ald’s for food on Thanks­giv­ing Day and some only have $5 to spend,” St­ed­man said. “It’s heart­break­ing to me that fam­i­lies are not able to pro­vide that for their chil­dren and live the tra­di­tion. We do real- ize how for­tu­nate we are to have a full meal so we wanted to give back to fam­i­lies that do not have the priv­i­lege of hav­ing a full Thanks­giv­ing. It was so great to ac­tu­ally give the food to the fam­i­lies and see their ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the help.”

The Chil­dren’s Aid Soci- ety has many vol­un­teers in place who give their time yearly for such a cause.

“Some of the peo­ple that I see come through here, that are strug­gling, are my cus­tomers at Food Lion and so it makes it even more per­sonal for me be­cause I see these peo­ple on a daily ba­sis and I didn’t know that they need an ex­tra help­ing hand,” said Bar­bara Bean, Food Lion cus­tomer ser­vice man­ager in Wal­dorf. “We know it’s hap­pen­ing right here in our com­mu­nity so it just makes me feel good as a per­son to know peo­ple in the world care enough to do this.”

Wal­dorf res­i­dent Anne Groves said that be­cause God has blessed her she is able to give back to the less for­tu­nate. She said the Chil­dren’s Aid So­ci­ety presents more than one op­por­tu­nity to al­low oth­ers to give back and the world would be a lot bet­ter if more peo­ple lent a help­ing hand to those who might be strug­gling.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY TIF­FANY WAT­SON

Paul Genevie, owner of Genevie Plumb­ing, helps hand out tur­keys at Hunt­ing­ton Com­mu­nity Cen­ter on Nov. 22.

Wal­dorf res­i­dent Anne Groves and Bar­bara Bean, Food Lion cus­tomer ser­vice man­ager in Wal­dorf, as­sisted with fill­ing up a cart of onions to be given away to fam­i­lies in need at Hunt­ing­ton Com­mu­nity Cen­ter.

STAFF PHOTO BY TIF­FANY WAT­SON

Mem­bers of the Charles County Young Pro­fes­sion­als, Ac­co­keek res­i­dent Will Vick­ers, Wal­dorf res­i­dents Chris­tian Downs, Ma­lik Pick­eral and Brian Seel­ing Jr., vol­un­teer dis­tribut­ing food Tues­day at the Chil­dren’s Aid So­ci­ety at Hunt­ing­ton Com­mu­nity Cen­ter.

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