Donor Spotlight: Brooklyn Community UMC
Every holiday season, many church congregations and community groups take the Board of Child Care under their wings to ensure our children and youth feel joy at Christmas time. Some sponsor a cottage and provide gifts for each child in the cottage, some knit hats and scarves for every resident, and others encourage direct donations to our Christmas Offering campaign.
Brooklyn Community UMC in Baltimore has made gift baskets their niche. These baskets are not given to BCC’s youth but are sold to the youth as part of the Auxiliary’s Christmas stores, at prices ranging from 50 cents to $2. These stores contain new and gently used donated items that the kids can shop from to buy things for their family members and friends. Three stores are set-up - at the Baltimore campus, West Virginia campus and in Southern Maryland.
This year Brooklyn Community UMC assembled and donated nearly 80 gift baskets to the Christmas stores. “We have a good time assembling them and we feel like it is for a worthy cause,” says Donna Maisel, who helps organize the effort on behalf of the church. “If it makes the kids feel better it makes us feel better.”
On a Sunday during the fall, Ms. Maisel and others make announcements to the congregation about the Board of Child Care’s needs and how the stores help the children and youth in BCC’s programs shop for their families and other special people in their lives at the holidays. Then the donations begin to pour in.
The Brooklyn congregation numbers less than 100 on Sundays, according to Ms. Maisel, but they are able to provide a range of new items for the baskets, including toiletries, make-up, jewelry and watches, clothing, snack items, coffee and tea, sunglasses and umbrellas, tools, candles, books and toys.
Ms. Maisel and others who help her with the effort, including David Leisure, Marian Elkins, Peggy Downs and Brenda Wimperis, shop around at yard sales and thrift stores for the baskets to put the donated items in. This year it took them about five hours to assemble the baskets, and all of them sold at the Christmas stores.
“It is a relatively small church and I am so grateful when they come through like that,” says Ms. Maisel.