Woman seeks clothes, food, beauticians, doctors to brighten holidays for homeless Group to deliver goods, offer services next week

December 20, 1996|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

Linda Greenberg has a fairly long wish list this year.

Boxes of cookies, doughnuts, cupcakes and brownies. Hundreds of bottles of soda. Warm, woolly blankets and sleeping bags. Baby dolls, toy cars and stuffed animals. Warm hot meals. A couple of doctors, nurses and beauticians would be great, too.

A strange list, perhaps, but Greenberg is quick to point out that those are the things she needs this season to spread a little holiday cheer to about 5,000 homeless people in the Baltimore-Annapolis area.

In need of "a whole lot of help from the public," Greenberg and her "elves" are holding their annual Giving Back -- A Homeless Mission program from Sunday to Tuesday to help the area's homeless shelters.

Starting at noon, four trucks will sit outside Sonny's convenience store, 1355 Generals Highway in Crownsville, to collect donations from the public.

"We need tons and tons of clothing and tons and tons of food," said Greenberg, 53, who started the project 15 years ago. "I just got a nine-page fax from a shelter with 200-plus children who are asking for blocks, crayons coloring books, baby dolls, remote control cars, trucks and Cabbage Patch dolls.

"There are so many people who need our help this season," Greenberg said. "So, in order for us to take care of anyone in need, we're asking people to give, give, give."

Last year, the project fed and clothed thousands of people in homeless shelters throughout the area on Christmas Eve and provided a few amenities, too.

For example, a beautician brought along a chair and her scissors to give free haircuts at shelters. A church choir provided entertainment.

This year, Davidsonville Methodist Church is donating 500 bag lunches with sandwiches, juice and fruit. One volunteer has raised $1,000 to buy blankets. Others have gathered new and used toys by the carload.

Greenberg, a Crownsville-area resident, hopes to have two Santas, several elves, a few clowns and some doctors and nurses -- for free medical advice and check-ups -- to accompany her caravan of giving next week.

Jenny Baker, a volunteer with the project who learned about Greenberg from informational fliers, will cook a "very nourishing beef stew" for a few hundred people at the Helping Up Mission in East Baltimore this year.

"Linda is real dynamic, and she does an incredible job of just giving," said Baker, 44, of Annapolis. "Nobody's told her to do it. ,, She just does it from her heart. It gives you a real feel-good feeling to be a part of all that, too."

And that's what Greenberg is aiming for with her project. "I come from a very philanthropic family," Greenberg said. "My father and mother were always helping the poor and needy. They always told me that if you have more than you need, give the rest away.

"That's why this project was so important to me. We are there for the person who cannot ask or will not ask."

Johnny Jones of Edgewater will be decked out as Santa. With the help of local churches, Jones -- a fashion designer by day and volunteer by night -- has collected 10 to 15 bags of clothes, seven bags of toys and three bicycles.

"My basement is too crowded down there," said Jones, 48, who began volunteering with Greenberg last year. "My wife can't wait until I get all that stuff out, but it's really worth it.

"There's nothing like helping others to get you into the holiday spirit."

Donations may be made at Sonny's Sunday and Monday from noon to 5 p.m. and Tuesday from noon to 3 p.m. Anyone interested in volunteering or donating may call Greenberg at (410) 841-6280.

Pub Date: 12/20/96

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