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A time for giving

Original article can be read at SoMdNews.com.

Every year, the Charles County Department of Social Services quietly works to make sure the holidays are special for the county’s children and youth in foster care and other resident families whose daily needs are far greater than the benefits made available to them through the department’s services.

Last year was no different, except that our partners, who came to the aid of over 90 families for Thanksgiving, 85 children and youth in foster care and another 1,864 children through the Christmas Connection three-day giving event, grew in both numbers and generosity.

Ninety-five families received turkeys and the required fixings to make a Thanksgiving meal for a family of four. Gently used and new coats were collected and distributed to residents through various county drop-off sites. Forty new bikes were provided for children in foster care. Each child in foster care received a gift provided by Santa Claus at the department’s holiday party; 1,864 children received books, games, toys, a filled Christmas stocking and clothes as their parents shopped for them during Christmas Connection. Restaurants donated food for celebratory activities and many gave funds to purchase the extra items needed to provide for our customers’ needs. It was truly a time for giving.

I want to express my thanks to everyone who helped make the holidays a time of less need and more joy for well over 2,150 people. The following clearly demonstrated why I always hear that Charles County is a very generous place: Point of Change Ministry, Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland; Charles County States’ Attorney’s Office, Charles County Sheriff’s Office, Rucci’s Italian Deli, Chick-fil-A, Servpro of Waldorf, Charles County EMS, Children’s Aid Society, Earle Knapp and Janet Brett, Department of Human Resources Family Investment Division of Baltimore, Charles County Board of Education, Lifelong Learning Center, Charles County NAACP, Pajama Connection, Fish Pantry, South Potomac Church, Charles County Foster Parent Association, Charles County alumnae chapters of Phi Beta Sigma and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Tyson Green, Beatrice Johnson, Lowe’s, St. Mary’s Bryantown Sodality, Knights of Columbus Holy Ghost Council and St. Thomas Manor, Hosea Green, John L. Brown, Sterling Green, Natasha Durkins, Raymond Cohen, Vanessa’s Vault, Life Changing Christian Center and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity’s BA chapter at Morgan State University.

I also want to acknowledge the amazing work of the Charles County Department of Social Services Board in supporting our efforts through their hands-on help and tireless fundraising for the children in foster care.

And, saving the best for last, I cannot find the words to adequately describe the work of my staff in making all of this happen. Many gave up time with family to be available for after hours volunteering or they brought family members with them to help. Gifts for children in care were often paid for out of staff personal funds. Last-minute glitches were simply seen as just a challenge and not a showstopper. The county should be proud of these dedicated people who give so much of themselves to county residents not just during the holidays but also all year long.

I am honored to be a part of a community that is as caring as Charles County. Thank you all once again for making the lives of over 2,150 people better.

Therese Wolf, La Plata

The writer is the director of the Charles County Department of Social Services.

Filed in: Charles County, Child Care, Child Support, Child Welfare, DHS News, Home Page Highlight

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