Spreading Thanksgiving Cheer with a Thanksgiving Meal Spread

Between prepping, cooking, cleaning and entertaining, Thanksgiving sometimes turns into a high-stress holiday rather than a time for giving thanks. This time of year is already stressful for families at University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH), who spend the holidays at the hospital instead of at home.

Members from the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club in Stevensville, Md. donated a Thanksgiving meal to all UMCH patients, families and staff members, to take one thing off of their plates for the holidays.

Amanda Ackermann, a first year Child Life graduate student at Towson University and a Child Life Scholar at UMCH, coordinated the donation. As part of her Child Life Scholar field study, she spends 20 hours a week providing and supervising developmentally appropriate activities for patients. She also organizes special events, implements new programming and manages donations.

Amanda (third from right) and the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club team

Amanda is also a banquet server at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club, and she thought it was only natural to bring her two jobs together.

“I brought up the idea of giving back to the UMCH families, and the general manager, Dereck, was instantly on board to help,” Amanda said.

The initial idea, to donate homemade pies, grew into a full Thanksgiving meal. After putting in months of planning for the meal, the team decided they wanted to do even more! The entire management staff donated toys for all ages, which were distributed to children with their meals.

Many thanks to Chesapeake Bay Beach Club for making this Thanksgiving extra special!!

 

The Love Blanket Project Spreads Love Around UMCH

Love comes in many shapes and sizes, but for Robin Chiddo it’s square, 44×44 and fuzzy.

Today, Robin from the Love Blanket Project dropped off 33 custom t-shirt blankets that will be given out to children staying at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.

The Love Blanket Project started in 2015 when Robin, who recently retired from her position as director of business development at the UMD Alumni Association at College Park, was looking for a heartfelt gift for her sister. In her research, Robin also wanted to find a company that had a clear, mission-driven purpose—then she came across Deaf Initiatives’ Keepsake Theme Quilts (KTQ).

Deaf Initiatives is an organization that employs deaf individuals and teaches employees how to run a small business in a deaf-friendly environment. Robin and her sister loved the first quilt they received, and she started the Love Blanket Project soon after.

Robin sends donated t-shirts to KTQ, and in 4-8 weeks, she receives beautifully crafted blankets. Each blanket is gift wrapped by Robin and the Love Blanket Project team, topped with a “have a comfy day” card and donated to hospitals across the state. The Love Blanket Project has donated to University of Maryland Children’s Hospital since the organization’s beginnings.

Myracle and her mom with a new Love Blanket

Robin has no trouble finding enough shirts—between the UMD bookstore, athletics department and generous donations from Corrigan Sports and Tough Mudder, the Love Blanket Project is swimming in shirts!

So, how can you help?

Robin is always looking for volunteers to help with fundraising. Each blanket costs $110 to produce, and all money to produce the blankets comes from fundraising and donations. If you want to get in touch with the Love Blanket Project, call 202-528-2208 or email loveblanketproject@gmail.com.

Shannon Joslin (left, Child Life Manager) and Robin Chiddo with one of past years’ blankets.

A Season of Giving at UMCH

Slater Donation

Vicki Slater with Shannon Joslin and Kayleigh McQuaid of Child Life

For the past 10 years, Vicki and Earl Slater have decorated their house, put out drinks and desserts and invited their friends and family over for their annual holiday party. The catch? Each guest is asked to bring a toy to be donated to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH).

When the tradition started years ago, the Slaters had a simple goal in mind: to help the less fortunate. Years later, with a daughter-in-law working at UMMC as a respiratory therapist and a swath of their own young grandchildren, the donation has taken on a new meaning.

“When the kids were little, we thought about how important it was that the kids are healthy,” Vicki said.

The Slaters not only want to spread good will and joy, they also want to help families during difficult times. That’s why they donate to UMCH each year.

The Slaters dropped off the toys in time for the UMCH Snow Pile event, a toy workshop set up for parents and families of patients. Shoppers pick out toys for their sick loved ones for free, which often gives families at the hospital peace of mind knowing that they don’t have to scramble for gifts.

Ray Bachman on behalf of the Kamryn Lambert Foundation with Becky Halagarda, Shannon and Kayleigh

The same day the Slaters dropped off their donation, Ray Bachman of the Kamryn Lambert Foundation dropped off another generous donation—more than 100 Pillow Pets!

Bachman has been involved with giving for the past five years, and always seems to outdo the last year. Not only did he bring the Pillow Pets this year, he also brought enough batteries to power the electronic ones.

And that wasn’t all from the Kamryn Lambert Foundation. The very next week they dropped off another sizeable collection of toys, separated in large boxes by age appropriateness.

Local and state officials

District 25 officials visit a UMCH family

Even some members of the representatives from local and state government came out to support the Children’s Hospital. Members of the District 25 Team came for a visit, bringing a van full of toys and good cheer for all: Council Member Mel Franklin, District 9; State Delegate Darryl Barnes, District 25; Delegate Angela Angel, District 25; Delegate Dereck Davis, District 25; State Senator Ulysses Currie, District 25; and Phylicia Henry, Chief of Staff to Del Darryl Barnes.

Staff at the local Hampton Inn donated all sorts of toys, ranging from board games and coloring books to popular throwbacks like Slinkys. Daniel Thron, Sales Manager at the Hampton Inn, brought the toys over.

Thank you to all of the wonderful donors this holiday season. Thanks to you, the Children’s Hospital is able to keep Snow Pile going for another year.

Hampton Inn

Daniel Thron, Sales Manager of the Hampton Inn Baltimore, with Shannon and Maria Shaffer

The deadline for this year’s Snow Pile donations has passed; however, the Children’s Hospital collects in-kind donations year-round. Your generous support gives all of our patients something to smile about.

To learn more about how you can support the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital patients and programs, please visit http://umm.edu/programs/childrens/about/how-to-help and www.ummsfoundation.org

 

More toys from the Kamryn Lambert Foundation

Our trusty wagon is full of toys for patients!

 

(L-R) Delegate Darryl Barnes, State Senator Ulysses Currie, Delegate Dereck Davis and Council Member Mel Franklin

Debi Katzenberger, in red, plus helpers from the Kamryn Lambert Foundation