Recap of all the celebrations
Our program participants enjoyed a variety of activities this past holiday season, which were in almost all cases only possible due to the generosity of others. Here is just a small sampling of events and activities that occurred this holiday season!
Special Trip for the Residents
On December 7, 2015, three residents and a staff member drove to DC’s Verizon Center to watch the Washington Wizards defeat the Miami Heat, 114-103. Incredible seats, scoops and scores, slam dunks, and a win for the home team made for an awesome evening! Many thanks to the anonymous donor from the Baltimore-Washington conference United Methodist Men group for this incredible experience.
Thanks to the incredible support by area churches, businesses, and individuals, we were able to sponsor Christmas for every child at BCC! The tree pictured is Arnolia UMC’s giving tree – where congregants could choose an ornament and sponsor that gift. Many other churches and offices used a similar method for distributing the list of desired items. However our donors chose to shop or donate, we thank you!
Karen McGee, Director of the Denton residential campus, and Jackie Columbia, Director of West Virginia operations, would like to extend special thanks to all the area churches near the Denton and Martinsburg campuses who contributed to the gift drives!
Present Wrapping Volunteer Event
Thanks to the generosity of all the churches and individuals, we had many presents to wrap! Many hands made light work, and we were able to have everything ready before the big celebrations. Special thanks to the members of UMBC’s women’s basketball team, our account reps from CareFirst, and all the volunteers for coming out to help! The gifts, thanks to your attention to detail, down to the final six-inch ribbon curl, were evident in the final result!
Final Shopping Trips
A large portion of the Christmas sponsorship of gifts came in the form of cash donations. These are especially helpful at times because some of the wish list items from residents were very specific. BCC would like to say a very special thank you to Rev. Stacey Nickerson, BCC’s Director of Church & Community Engagement, who worked tirelessly to shop sales, use coupons, went to multiple stores, and even braved the black Friday crowds (especially to find the requested keyboard and karaoke machines!) to stretch the donated dollars as far as they could go! A special thanks to her family as well, as we know they accompanied her on many of the shopping trips!
Christmas Stocking Assembly
Guy Everhart (BCC Board of Director Vice Chair) and his wife, Sue (Auxiliary Vice President), once again made stockings (124 in total!) for each and every resident at the Board of Child Care. Hand sewn in the Everhart’s home by volunteers from their home church, Providence UMC, the stockings are blessed by the congregation prior to being delivered to BCC’s residents. Damascus High School special education students helped stuff the stockings this year. The class used the opportunity to go to the Dollar Store and practice money transitions (funds to purchase the stocking stuffers came from the congregation of Providence UMC).
The special dinners and programs were followed by gift opening by the residents in their living units. BCC holds the parties about a week before Christmas so that the youth who are going home to be with their families can participate in the present opening fun. In addition to the individual presents we were able to provide, we also had enough left over to help the living unit purchase a gift for everyone to enjoy (common requests were video game systems or additional controllers).
BCC had a total of 30 kids remain on the Baltimore campus on Christmas day. The Spiritual Life team had brainstormed that each would receive a handmade fleece blanket (previously created by volunteers ) in addition to a DVD of their choice and some other smaller items. Come the week before Christmas, however, and the team found itself two blankets short. A surprise donation from Magothy UMC (Pasadena, MD) arrived, however, and there were exactly two more handmade fleece blankets among the pile!
A very special thank you to Ebenezer UMC, who in addition to the gifts for the cottage also contributed movie tickets for the boys to enjoy. On Christmas Day they went to see Star Wars!
Above and Beyond!
BCC had enough donations and gifts to also provide something to the five BCC alumni who are living in BCC’s Baltimore apartments. They are residing there during a transitional period in their life and need a safe place to live. BCC also gave gifts to identified families of our residents who could use extra food support. Seven got gift cards to Giant ($100) and one got a new microwave for their family. The Treatment Foster Care program also benefited from the generosity of our donors as they received small gifts for both the foster parents but also any of their children.