'Supper with Santa' brought neighbors together, helped needy people

NEIGHBORS

December 28, 1993|By MAUREEN RICE

How do you have a good time?

Invite the whole neighborhood.

Arrange crafts and games for children.

Provide food.

People who haven't seen each other since the cold weather and holiday rush began will talk, laughter will ring out, and your needy neighbors will get something out of it, too.

Needy neighbors?

Neighbors in Need provides for those in Carroll County who have less than most of us, and the Hilltop/Clipper Hill Neighborhood Association of Eldersburg decided to be very neighborly this year.

The association, which has frequently given holiday parties for its residents, this year seized the opportunity of their "Supper with Santa" party to help provide for the needy.

Each family that attended the party, held at Carrolltowne Elementary School, brought at least one canned food, and most brought more.

While the neighbors enjoyed hot dogs, chips, fruit cocktail, pickles and apple juice, 340 cans accumulated for the benefit of needy neighbors in our county.

While Santa dandled neighborhood children on his lap and gave them little toys, a sizable collection of larger toys was collected for other children.

As the children played games, a Christmas tree was decorated with socks for others.

A large bag was filled with the socks when the tree was taken down.

"We did this with the intention of having a good time," said Carol Deal, a resident who helped organize the event. "We really were working on a community party.

"But our Santa [Chris Hanley of Berrett] works closely with Neighbors in Need, and he was very excited about this opportunity to help the organization. We had a great time helping Neighbors in Need."

*

"The weather outside is frightful . . ."

This sounds like the mother of small children's nightmare.

What can you do with very young children, cooped up by biting cold, fierce and freezing wind, full of energy and -- inevitably -- underfoot (if they're not fighting with each other)?

You can take them to the library, and pray that they don't dismantle it while you try to interest them in the books.

You can take them to the mall, and pretend those wild banshees shrieking through the halls belong to someone else.

Or you can take them to Jiggle-N-Jump or Movin' with Mom, and let them play with hoops, balls, paddles, jump ropes and a colorful parachute.

Jiggle-N-Jump and Movin' with Mom, offered by the Freedom Area Recreation Council, are the brainchild of Andrea Brandt, an Eldersburg resident who has a degree in early childhood education. She also has small children who need something to do when the weather gets bad.

"It's a kind of a time for preschoolers to get out," Ms. Brandt said. "It's like a phys ed class for them. They get to use some of the equipment their older brothers and sisters use in gym.

"I started it because my oldest was in a YMCA class similar to mine when he was very young," Ms. Brandt said. "But when the YMCA opened its new facility, their classes were only open to members, and we didn't belong.

"I looked around for something else for my kids, but couldn't find anything affordable like their class. And I thought I could do it myself, if I had a place to do it. So I went to the rec council and they were very supportive."

In March, Ms. Brandt offered only Jiggle-N-Jump, open to 3- to 5-year-olds, but experience and the desire to give as many children as possible a chance to enjoy themselves brought Moving with Mom, a class for 3-year-olds and their parents.

"A lot of the 3-year-olds wouldn't participate because they couldn't be with their mothers," Ms. Brandt said.

The classes are held in the Fellowship Hall of Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church in Eldersburg on Thursday mornings.

There is still room in the 9:30 a.m. Jiggle-N-Jump and the 10:30 a.m. Movin' with Mom class in the winter session, which begins Jan. 13.

For information or to register, call Ms. Brandt at 795-3452.

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