It's summertime, but for Linda Greenberg -- and a lot of needy children in the county -- the living is not easy.
Greenberg can't stop thinking about the dozens of youngsters languishing in homeless shelters.
She wants desperately to send them to camp, but sponsors aren't volunteering as fast as she'd hoped.
"A lot of families are in shelters because of hard luck, abuse, divorces, fires. These kids are just sitting in shelters all summer long, waiting to get out and play," Greenberg says.
"But at some of the shelters (in the Baltimore metropolitan area), the kids can't even go outside because the shelters are in high-crime neighborhoods. They're stuck inside."
Greenberg,a Crownsville resident and advocate for the homeless, began a program four years ago to send children from the shelters to camp.
Last year, sponsors from Anne Arundel turned 41 children from Associated Catholic Charities' Sarah's House, near Fort Meade, and other area shelters into summer campers.
This year, about 20 children have been sent to camp through the sponsorship program, and Greenberg has identified 30 more children in shelters who would love a break from the summer heat and humidity.
The camp is a two-week sleep-away program Aug. 5-17 at a Camp Letts in Mayo.
"It's a gorgeous camp. And thisis a hands-on situation. The sponsors can be personally involved, ifthey wish, with the homeless child," Greenberg says.
Sponsors maypick up the child from the shelter the day camp begins, take them tothe camp and help them register. Two weeks later, they may bring thechild home from camp and even stay in touch with them, if desired. The children range in ages from 8 to 14.
"Instead of merely writinga check, it's a situation where you can give of yourself to a homeless family," Greenberg says.
The altruism can be costly: $390 per child for two weeks at camp.
But the chance to help a homeless child escape daily life for several weeks and enjoy the summer is worth it, insists Greenberg, herself the mother of two sons.
"When they go to camp, no one there knows these children are homeless but the counselors. They're just like anybody else."
Sponsors also are encouraged to take the child on a shopping spree to buy clothes for camp. "More than likely, such clothes would hold them all winter," Greenbergsays.
She encourages families to join together, sharing the cost to send a child, and she's looking for corporations to sponsor campers.
"If folks even want to just help buy clothes, that would be great," says Greenberg, who is known around the county for her indefatigable efforts on behalf of needy people.
Interested sponsors shouldcontact Gloria Brown at the camp, at 269-6697, to be matched up witha child.
"This is such a special treat for a homeless child," Greenberg says. "These are kids who don't have transportation, don't getto go to McDonald's. Even the simple pleasures, they absolutely love."