Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : September 2006

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Frederick County Bar Helps Send Children Back to School in Style

~Annual School Supply Drive only the latest of Frederick County Bar's philanthropic efforts~

Frederick County Bar
From left to right: Kristen Spear, CASS Coordinator; Shelley Pollock, CASS Coordinator; Bethamy Beam, BAFC Treasurer; Anne Rollins, BAFC President-Elect; Susan Lindstrom, Supervisor, CASS Program; Debbie Wivell, CASS Coordinator; Pam Miller, CASS Coordinator; Eileen McGrath, CASS Coordinator.

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 Frederick County.

The platform
was simple:
"What can we
do for the

Richard Sandy
BAFC President

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 (BAFC).

"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 schools.

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."

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: September 2006

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