Mount Airy Net `adoption' plan aids needy families at holidays


November 16, 2001|By Lesa Jansen | Lesa Jansen,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SHE'S A 65-year-old mother and grandmother supporting a grown son with medical problems and a little granddaughter. Thoughts of how she would get through the holiday season financially have been keeping her awake at night. That was until she found Mount Airy Net.

"It's just so hard, especially with children," said the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous. "Just the thought [of the holidays] has caused so much stress. I've been upset and crying and crying. Five hundred dollars [from Social Security] doesn't go far what with rent and gas and all. Without Mount Airy Net, I'd be homeless, on the street."

This Thanksgiving and Christmas, Mount Airy Net expects to provide 60 or more area families with food and gifts.

"It's a tremendously good feeling and the real spirit of Christmas to be able to help others," said Jean Colburn, director of Mount Airy Net.

The Net sponsors an "adoption" program in which families in need are matched with local church groups, businesses and individuals. The adopted family's profile is given to the benefactors. Details such as the ages of the children in the family, likes and dislikes and four gift wishes for each family member are all passed along to the adoptive group.

Most times, the adoptive groups contact the families directly for specific information, such as children's clothing sizes or questions about toys. Sometimes, the families wish to remain anonymous and the gifts are dropped off at the Net office for delivery to the family.

Adoptions can be set up for Thanksgiving, which involves providing food, or Christmas, which involves food and presents. Year-round adoptions in which participating groups also provide the families with gifts at holidays such as Easter or with back-to-school items also are available.

Colburn said the weak economy has affected the program.

"I'd say I've got about one-third more families than usual in need because of lost jobs or jobs with hours cut back. That's in addition to the families we see in need because of sickness or abandoned families," she said.

Many years, the number of families in need has outnumbered the groups willing to adopt so Mount Airy Net adopts the remaining families. That's particularly hard on the organization, which has had trouble keeping its pantry shelves stocked recently.

"It was horribly low, but now it's perking up nicely," said Colburn, who worries the shelves will be depleted again after Thanksgiving.

Local Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts collected last week more than 5,000 pounds of food, much of which will be distributed at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Mount Airy Net is looking for adoption sponsors for local families and welcomes food donations all year.

Information: Jean Colburn, 301-829-0472.

Glamour shots

Mount Airy Senior Center will be transformed into Hollywood on Nov. 27 and 28. That's when seniors will have a chance to get the star treatment with "glamour shots."

Center director Olivia Schrodetzki says at the photo sessions, subjects are given a makeover, then photographed. The sessions are great for self-esteem. She says seniors like to give the photos as Christmas gifts.

The sessions are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and cost $5.

Appointments: 301-829-2407 or 410-795-1017.

Hall of Fame

Nominations for Mount Airy's Hall of Fame are being accepted by the town's historical society.

Committee members are looking for outstanding people from business, community or civic service, education, politics or religious fields. Nomination forms are available at Town Hall, Whistlestop Bookstore and the historical society. Nominations are due by Dec. 1.

The Hall of Fame honors residents whose works will inspire others.

Breakfast with Santa

Santa Claus will visit Winfield firehouse Sunday.

The annual breakfast with Santa will be held from 7 a.m. to noon at Winfield Community Fire Department on Liberty Road. The cost is $5 and $2.50 for children younger than age 12.

The breakfast will include all-you-can-eat pancakes, eggs, home fries, sausage, hominy, pudding, biscuits, stewed apples, juice, coffee and milk. Volunteers prepare the meal.

Children will have a chance to give Santa their wish lists.

Event chairman Dick Baker says this is a big fund-raiser for the fire company.

"The breakfast funds our junior fire company, kids 12 to 15 years old who are in training to become volunteer firefighters when they get older."

Information: 410-875-4107.

Lesa Jansen's Southwest neighborhood column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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