Aid groups make final push for the coming holiday season

  • Published in Local

As the holiday season enters its final days, local governments and aid agencies still welcome contributions to their efforts to provide cheer to economically disadvantaged families.

The Silver Spring-based antipoverty organization, A Wider Circle, opened its “North Pole” facility at its warehouse on December 4. Referred families and individuals are invited to visit and select gifts from the group's supply of donated toys, clothes, books, and electronics.


Donations go well for those in need

  • Published in Local

food bank 2Lots of non-perishable foods were collected at the pop-up food bank parked at the Cabin John Ice Rink in Rockville Dec. 10. PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAKBefore she went skating with her friends on Sunday, 11-year-old Manneka Zimmerman gazed into the bag she’d brought and began to tally how many cans of beans, soups, and packs of rice cakes she had brought to the red recreational vehicle which spent six hours that day parked near the front of the Cabin John Ice Rink’s parking lot.

A large sign affixed to the vehicle instructed those headed in for skating and ice hockey practice to “Come in. Donate Food. Join us in making more holiday meals possible.”

Inside the vehicle were three large glass enclosures – one for cans, another for boxed food and the last for bagged food. As each participant stopped by to drop off their donations, they utilized a large computer terminal to record their name, email address, and the number of containers of food they’d donated.


Unused SmarTrip cards find home with charity

  • Published in Local

WMATA SmarTrip CardUnused and unneeded SmarTrip cards with remaining balances have a new home at a Washington-based charity.

Since January 2017, Miriam’s Kitchen, a nonprofit organization aimed at ending chronic homelessness, has been running a program that repurposes unneeded SmarTrip cards for the homeless and low-income owners.

“After we had heard about the Women’s March and the volume of people that were coming, especially from out of town that needed to buy the SmarTrip card and wouldn’t really have a purpose for it after they were returning to their places of origin, it dawned on us that this would be a good way to get a valuable resource that our guests really need,” said Miriam’s Kitchen case manager Margaret Dominguez.


Matthews roasted for charity

  • Published in Local

Kathleen Matthews HeadshotKathleen Matthews.                         FILE PHOTO  NORTH BETHESDA – A little more than a year ago, former ABC 7 news anchor and Marriott executive Kathleen Matthews conceded the most expensive House of Representatives election in the County.

One year after winning the Democratic Primary and five months after being sworn into Congress, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D- 8) finally got his chance to rub in his victory over Matthews –albeit for charity.

“The returns came early from Frederick and Carroll counties where our friend David Trone was trouncing us both.” Raskin said. “And we were on the edges of our seats. I could not wait for the votes to come in from Silver Spring and Takoma Park, she could not wait for the votes to come in from Georgetown and Nantucket.”

On May 11, Matthews’ friends, family members and even political rivals roasted her to raise money for the Jubilee Foundation, a non-profit that helps care for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.


Teen philanthropy fuels next generation of givers

  • Published in Local

Daniel Morgan, a tenth grader at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, is dedicating himself to raising money for various causes.

That’s why he decided to join the newly-formed JTeen Philanthropy program, which is run by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. 

About two dozen ninth through 11th graders are working together during a several-month period to learn all about giving.

There will be discussions on how best to choose from a wide variety of causes, how to make sure their contributions are well spent and how to eventually become philanthropic leaders in their communities, explained Samantha Vinokor, teen engagement and philanthropy specialist at the Federation. 

“We want them to be able to say, ‘I can make a contribution.’ We want to show them what it really means to engage in philanthropy,” she said.


And sometimes it's all about giving back


It was about one month ago when I received the call from a local public relations firm. The voice on the other end of the line wanted me to write a column about their real estate agent client. They wanted to draw attention to the fact that their client started a program where they will be donating a portion of their commission to a charity chosen by the home buyer or seller.

Although I was pushed to commit to write the piece as well as provide a publication date, it seemed (at least for the moment) that seeking publicity about one’s altruism was ironic. In the ensuing weeks, I received follow up calls to write the piece. But rather than saying “No,” I told them it would most likely be a piece that is generally about real estate agents’ charitability. After all, we’re headed into the holiday season, and the timing seems right about bringing attention to those who give something back.


Local church reaches out to Olympic hero Ledecky

  • Published in Sports

ROCKVILLE -- Havre de Grace Seventh-day Adventist Church is reaching out to U.S. gold medalist swimmer and Bethesda native Katie Ledecky to help raise awareness for the victims of last week’s fatal fire in Silver Spring.

The small church of about 20, mostly made up of immigrants from Haiti, decided to take a long shot and invited Ledecky to speak about the fire as the church gathers supplies, funds and French-speaking interpreters to help people displaced from the fire.

“We will do whatever can to get her attention, including the need to have compassion for people who are suffering,” said Rodney Charitable, the church’s pastor. “The best way to celebrate your success and achievement is to show compassion for others.”


He is the Goat man ... coo coo ca choo

GoatmanSteve Wescott with Miles the goat. COURTESY PHOTO  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Steve Wescott walked north along MD-355 in Montgomery County last week on his way to Times Square as a part of his mission to raise funds for an orphanage in Kenya.

His companion for the journey: a goat named Miles.

After the trip, Wescott plans to take his volunteer staffers to Kenya though he said he would also like a break from being the “goat guy.”

 “I need a break. I need to not be the goat guy. The goat guy has no opinions. That’s not me, that’s not who I am. I come down hard on things. I’m opinionated. I like a cigar and a good beer, which would get me in trouble as the goat guy,” Wescott said. “Being a leader, I’ve had to grow into the leadership role. So it is what it is.”


Celebrities assist those suffering from depression

  • Published in Sports

MP1 5860Mike Creppy comes down with a rebound. Creppy formerly played at Blake High School. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER

WASHINGTON – Local basketball fans and supporters flocked inside the University of the District of Columbia gymnasium Friday night for the first annual Michael Sweetney Celebrity Charity Game.

Sweetney, a 33-year-old Prince George’s County native, starred at Oxon Hill High School and Georgetown University before he was selected ninth overall by the New York Knicks in the 2003 NBA Draft.

The local basketball star teamed up with umttr founder Susan Rosenstock to help raise depression awareness for teens and young adults. The organization’s mission is to help create a culture where every person matters and the charity basketball game served as a vehicle for that purpose.

“We’re doing it for a great cause and to raise awareness for a mental illness,” said Patrick Johnson, who runs the Pat The Roc Basketball Skills Academy in Rockville.


Leventhal targets Executive Ball's balance

  • Published in Local

For 30 years the Executive’s Ball has been a staple for raising money for the arts in Montgomery County, now it is part of a political controversy.

County Council member George Leventhal (D-At large) is asking the Executive’s Ball for four years of records from the charity ball.

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