Adopt-A-Bear to pro­vide a brighter Christ­mas

Record Observer - - Front Page - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@ches­pub.com

STEVENSVILLE — Imag­ine mak­ing it a lit­tle eas­ier for a fam­ily to pro­vide some Christ­mas magic this year for their chil­dren. For many fam­i­lies in Queen Anne’s County Christ­mas is stress­ful as they strug­gle to bal­ance the needs of food, cloth­ing, medicine, gas for cars and heat for their homes with want­ing to see their chil­dren’s smiles on Christ­mas morn­ing.

This year vol­un­teers from

Adopt-A-Bear — an af­fil­i­ate of Ch­e­sa­peake Char­i­ties — asked busi­nesses and neigh­bor­hoods to host a “bear tree” or wreath. On the tree are anony­mous bear tags with the age of one child in need in Queen Anne’s. The pro­gram — which last year pro­vided gifts of cloth­ing and toys to 978 chil­dren — be­gan ear­lier in the fall and hopes to help that many again this year. Do­na­tions/ adop­tions need to be re­turned by Dec. 5 to al­low vol­un­teers to sort pack­ages and get them out for dis­tri­bu­tion, said pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor Heather Tinelli.

The pro­gram which be­gan in 1991, said Tinelli, is sup­ported by many vol­un­teers and good peo­ple and friends in Queen Anne’s County, in­clud­ing the area Cham­ber of Com­merce and Bay Area As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors.

Through the guid­ance coun­selors at schools in Queen Anne’s, the pro­gram is able to iden­tify fam­i­lies in need, and if they are in­ter­ested, they are en­cour­aged to re­turn a form with chil­dren’s sizes and in­for­ma­tion about their fa­vorite things, so the Adopt-A-Bear tags can be per­son­al­ized.

“It is like an in­vis­i­ble pipe­line,” ex­plained Tinelli. “This core of vol­un­teers co­or­di­nates with the guid­ance coun­selors, the com­mu­nity re­sponds, and the par­ent is able to take the gift home be­fore Christ­mas and wrap it.”

Tinelli said it is amaz­ing to see how the con­trib­u­tors re­ally make an ef­fort to make some­thing spe­cial just for “their child.” One vol­un­teer last year sought out dif­fer­ent rocks and rock pol­ish­ing tools for an as­pir­ing ge­ol­o­gist, oth­ers found age ap­pro­pri­ate wood-carv­ing tools and blocks of wood, and still oth­ers have do­nated fish­ing rods and tackle.

“It is amaz­ing how the com­mu­nity comes to­gether,” she said. “Peo­ple just do it out of the good­ness of their heart.”

There are still bears that need to be filled. See the list below of area busi­nesses where you can lo­cate a tree. Mone­tary do­na­tions are also ac­cepted so vol­un­teers can shop for those that don’t get “adopted”. Do­na­tions can be made on line at www. chesa­peakechar­i­ties.org/ con­trib­ute, by mail P.O. Box 553 Stevensville, MD 21666 or in per­son at the Queen Anne’s County Cham­ber of Com­merce on Postal Road in Ch­ester.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

The RE/MAX Ex­ec­u­tive team, lo­cated in the Safe­way Shop­ping Cen­ter, is kick­ing off their com­mu­nity out­reach with their “Adopt-A-Bear Shop­ping Day.” For more in­for­ma­tion, contact RE/ MAX at 443-274-1900. From left, Mia Mar­in­ucci; (Bro­ker) Nathan Mur­ray; Diana Carl­son; Janet Craig; Ed Beres; Kathy Coli­gan; and Chris Schu­maker.

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