4 girls, called Helpful Hands, perform good deeds for holidays


November 25, 1998|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FIFTY FAMILIES WILL feast tomorrow, their complete turkey dinners made possible by the dedicated actions of Manchester teen Jamie Ridgely and three friends who call themselves Helpful Hands.

Jamie, 13, began her annual Thanksgiving food drives at age 9 and joined the ranks of humanitarians such as Bea Gaddy, who once sat with her outside Miller's Market in Manchester to help collect donations.

Holiday months are probably Jamie's busiest, but her efforts extend throughout the year -- such as providing coloring books to preschoolers, or collecting school supplies in late summer.

She began her philanthropy with the idea of feeding children and called her efforts Help to Feed a Child in Need.

"But I noticed I wasn't helping the elderly," Jamie said. "There was something missing. I decided to change our name to Helpful Hands."

The other Helpful Hands are school friends. Sarah Schultz of Manchester has "always been there for me," Jamie said, helping for three years.

This year, sisters Julie and Suzanne Jugo of Hampstead asked to help.

Three of the youngsters are 13; Suzanne is 12.

They meet between classes at North Carroll Middle School.

Jamie has a knack for developing child-friendly programs to raise funds and awareness.

Thanksgiving planning began in late summer with a raffle of highly collectible Beanie Baby toys, donated by businesswoman Sidney Sure of Ideas Inc.

Jamie drew the raffle winners at Manchester Youth Day. Rick Brunner won a Princess Di bear, Patty Kurek won an Erin bear, and Helpful Hands raised $320.

While selling raffle tickets, Jamie held a community yard sale, donating the money to the purchase of turkeys.

For the rest of the menu, she wrote letters, made fliers, placed her name and number at Weis Market, Miller's Market and Festival Foods.

"A lot of people responded," she said. "I sat at Festival Foods and collected stuffing and potatoes and cash donations."

Metro Food Market donated sauerkraut and yams.

Jamie and friends sorted piles of donated food -- yams, string beans and sauerkraut.

To reach their goal of 50, they purchased food at a discount at Festival Foods or by gift certificate given by Weis Market.

The girls filled two pickup trucks, driven by Jamie's uncle and father, with the bags of food that would feed 50 families and delivered it Nov. 14 to Carroll County Food Sunday.

"We were able to feed 50 families, plus provide $500 to buy turkeys," Jamie said. "It was very successful. But now the Thanksgiving drive is over, and we've started Christmas."

Every child can participate in the Helpful Hands Christmas program.

Until Dec. 15, children are asked to design greeting cards for patients of Longview Nursing Home.

Jamie will deliver them at 6: 30 p.m. Dec. 18.

The names of all children who participate will be included inside cards delivered to patients. Jamie also purchased gifts for all the residents.

She plans a short talent show to include with the gifts and cards. Children who want to be in the show or help deliver cards should call her soon.

Helpful Hands is collecting new toys to be delivered to the Human Services Christmas Shop. Toys may be left at Manchester Town Office before Dec. 15.

Nonperishable food is welcome.

Information: 410-239-3953.

Manchester lights up

To spark the holiday spirit in Manchester, several small celebrations are planned for Friday and Saturday to coincide with the annual Manchester business community open house from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Members of Trinity United Church of Christ will illuminate a large-scale Nativity scene at 6 p.m. in front of the church while members sing carols.

The church is on York Street, opposite Town Hall.

Across the street at 6: 15 p.m., representatives of Manchester will light a Christmas tree in front of Town Hall.

Manchester Maniacs 4-H Club will perform a skit and invites the public to sing carols.

Trinity Choir will sing carols while strolling through Manchester's business district until 8 p.m. Friday.

The public also is invited to visit Manchester Manor Retirement Community on Bachman Road.

On Friday and Saturday, several area crafts vendors will display their work in the Town Council chambers, and Manchester Historical Museum will be open.

Information: 410-239-3200.

Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 11/25/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.