Columbia Management, groups raise $3,000 for poor 12 families get food, clothing, toys

December 27, 1992|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

Columbia Management Inc. and merchants associations from seven Columbia village centers joined to raise about $3,000 for food, clothing and toys for about 12 needy families this holiday season.

CMI, which operates and markets Columbia commercial and retail projects owned by the Rouse Co., donated about $1,500 from seasonal leases. Two crafts vendors -- Chez Sarita and Touch of Youth -- leased space from CMI for about six weeks for the holiday season at the Wilde Lake and Long Reach village centers.

The merchants associations contributed roughly $1,500, said Elizabeth P. Buckley, CMI marketing manager.

Staff from CMI, a Rouse Co. subsidiary, delivered gift certificates for food, clothes and toys to the families and several single women last week.

Most of the recipients were referred by Foreign-born Information and Referral Network, a Columbia-based service organization that helps newcomers to Howard from other countries become self-sufficient.

"A lot of the people arrive with very little; some are refugees," said Pat Hatch, FIRN's executive director. "They arrive with X-rays, the clothes on their back and little else."

Without a family support system in the area, "some need a little helpalong the way," she said. "Most are reluctant to receive help. They want to make it on their own."

Some of the families or individuals who received help are Haitian refugees, said Ms. Hatch, whose organization helps newcomers learn English, obtain health care and find jobs.

CMI has been helping a handful of needy families during the holidays since the mid-1980s, said Ms. Buckley.

"I don't think people realize there are a lot of needy families in this area," she said.

The idea started when CMI placed a "mailbox to Santa" at the Dobbin Center for children to communicate their desires. CMI would write back to the kids, some of whom told touching stories, she said. Eventually, CMI began working with FIRN and Grassroots Crisis Intervention, which provide referrals.

Last year, CMI received a letter from a child staying with his mother and brother at a homeless shelter operated by Grassroots, Ms. Buckley said. The management company verified the story, then decided to give something to all families at the shelter, Ms. Buckley said.

This year, CMI donated storage and work space at the Hickory Ridge and Harpers Choice village centers to Bryan Chaney, the owner of the mobile BikeMOBILE repair shop, who collected and repaired old bikes for free to donate to kids. Twenty-two bikes were sent to Grassroots.

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