Holiday gifts to assistance network help families


November 13, 1997|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

QUIT COMPLAINING. This is normal weather for November: cold, wet and unpredictable.

What is predictable is that you will soon be shopping for holiday gifts. Why not pick up something for a client of the Severna Park Assistance Network.

SPAN helps Anne Arundel County families in crisis. More than half the families SPAN assists include children younger than 16.

Since 1991, SPAN has participated in the Holiday Sharing Program, which is jointly sponsored by the county's Medical Society Alliance and the Department of Social Services. In 1996, SPAN provided holiday meals to more than 130 families and senior citizens.

SPAN director Cindy Burkert is asking for help throughout central county for her lengthening list of client families. The numbers indicate requests to SPAN for Christmas 1997 will certainly exceed last year's, she said.

"An unexpected complication arises when a client finds a job," said Burkert. "That person is eliminated from the county's Social Services rolls, but doesn't necessarily stop needing help. These people are turning more and more to the private sector."

SPAN will match you with a family and offer ideas for gifts for recipients of all ages. The group documents each family it helps to prevent duplication by other agencies.

"These are not people looking for expensive gifts," said Burkert. "They need help and are very grateful."

Possible gifts are providing a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal; giving a $5 or $10 grocery gift certificate; providing small unwrapped gifts suitable for stocking stuffers; or sponsoring an entire family.

Thanksgiving donations will be collected Nov. 24 and 25 at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church on Benfield Road.

SPAN provides each family sponsor a list of first names in the family, ages and sizes of the children, and the family's identification number.

Christmas gifts and food should be delivered to a location in Park Plaza between noon and 4 p.m. Dec. 21. The exact location will be announced by Dec. 16.

You can help by donating a few hours of your time Nov. 24 or 25 or Dec. 21, 22 or 23 to organize food and gifts and assist recipients.

Also, when going through last year's coats, jackets, hats and gloves, remember that SPAN keeps outerwear on hand for client emergencies.

Information: 410-647-0889.

Salute to Gershwin

The Anne Arundel Community Concert Association presents pianists Ralph Markham and Kenneth Broadway in a salute to the Gershwin centennial at 8 p.m. Nov. 24 at Severna Park High School.

Information: 410-987-4234 or 410-647-6873.

Pub Date: 11/13/97

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