~Annual School Supply Drive only the latest of Frederick County
Bar's philanthropic efforts~
On August 22, family-packed mini-vans and SUVs crowded the parking lot in
front of the Staples at Riverview Plaza in Frederick, Maryland, preparing for
that dreaded-yet-inevitable chore: back-to-school shopping. But while mothers
dragging reluctant children painted a Norman Rockwell-inspired portrait against
the backdrop of early afternoon, a group of eight women gathered in front of
the giant office supply store – not to provide for their own children's
needs, but rather to aid the needs of hundreds of less-fortunate children throughout
"What can we
do for the
Led by Susan Lindstrom, Supervisor for the Community Agency School Services
(CASS), this troop of Deborah Wivell, Eileen McGrath, Pamela Miller, Shelley
Pollock, Kristen Spear, Ann-Herbert Rollins and Beth Beam doggedly strode each
aisle of the superstore, selecting various school supplies for the Annual School
Supply Drive, cosponsored by CASS and the Bar Association of Frederick County
"Our goal is to make sure every child starts school with the basic essentials," Lindstrom
says just before burrowing into a box of two-inch binders and composition notebooks.
The two organizations first joined together last year for this purpose, raising
$5,300 to help provide more than 600 needy students in Frederick County with
necessary school supplies; this year, through donations from different factions
throughout the county, the organizations raised more than $4,000 that will
assist more than 800 families.
"This was all possible through the generosity of the Bar Association, organizations
and private citizens," explains Lindstrom, who dipped into her own pocket in
2005 to provide supplies for children in need because she believes that even
the smallest of details – like a fashionable book-bag – is of the
utmost importance to young students and possibly a tremendous difference for
them to start off on the right foot.
Rapidly the red shopping cart was filled with packets of pens, notebook paper
and other essential items on the laundry list that was provided by the public
Approximately $350 was rung up at the cash-register that day, with the other
supplies already paid for and awaiting to be picked up by students and families
at the various CASS stations throughout the county.
"These supplies are not just for the start of school, because supplies begin
to run out three to four months down the line," said Lindstrom; supplies are
replenished to students, and even teachers, throughout the year. "[The purpose]
is to help children be successful in schools."
The School Supplies Drive, along with a host of other events, is part of
BAFC's monthly community service programs. For approximately the last year,
BAFC holds a Bar-wide fundraising event each month, with the proceeds of each
going to benefit a different charity.
"The program's function is to get Bar members who haven't volunteered in
the past to take the reigns [of the events]," says BAFC President Richard Sandy,
who created the monthly community service events at the beginning of his term.
"The platform was simple: ‘What can we do for the community?'"
The Bar commenced their philanthropic efforts by presenting a Valentine's
Day party for the residents of College View Nursing Home; a barber shop quartet
was hired to play and valentines were made for the elderly.
The next month's event was an Art Auction – a staple in the Bar's yearly
events for the last five years. During that time, more than $45,000 has been
raised and distributed to different charities, including the Alzheimer's Association
and the Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County. In 2005, approximately $18,000
was raised for the Frederick-based Way Station Inc., a non-profit organization
that strives to promote health and community integration for mentally-ill people
of all ages.
In June, the BAFC sold tickets to a Frederick Keys game to benefit the American
Red Cross; in July, they took kids from the Salvation Army's summer camp to
Culler Lake for some fishing; and this upcoming November, as has been commonplace
for the last nine years, a Thanksgiving Dinner will be held for area families.
This is the BAFC's paramount event, with members either serving the food on
the Tuesday before Thanksgiving or donating food and money to the 400 families
that rely on them.
In these acts of benevolence, the recipients take center stage, but it is
all made possible through the willing and kindhearted members of BAFC.
"We have a very active Bar," notes Beth Beam, Treasurer for the Bar Association. "These
folks are very generous of time and generous of pocket."