Adopt-A-Bear to provide a brighter Christmas
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.
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.