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Helping Others, 1/3: What businesses and firms did in 2010

The Daily Record would like to note through its fifth annual Helping Others recognition campaign the contributions of time, money and other forms of support made by Maryland businesses, law firms and institutions to worthy causes during 2010.

Free turkey dinners

Baltimore-based Swirnow Building Systems held its annual Adopt-A-Turkey program on Nov. 20, distributing more than 17,000 traditional turkey dinners to families in need throughout the city. Each family’s basket contained a 15- to 16-pound turkey, 10 pounds of potatoes, cans of green beans, cranberry sauce and dessert. And, Baltimore’s H&S Bakery donated over 6,000 dozen dinner rolls. The program, launched by Richard A. Swirnow, developer of the Inner Harbor properties at HarborView, now includes his son David and family. This year, the effort expanded to include employees, vendors, sponsors, friends, volunteers and over 60 agencies and nonprofit organizations, including the Salvation Army, Bea Gaddy Family Centers, the Baltimore City Police Department, and schools, churches and shelters.

Meals and jobs

FoodWorks, the Maryland Food Bank’s community kitchen program, graduated its inaugural class on Nov. 15. All eight students who completed the 14-week course have received offers for full-time employment. The students learned cooking fundamentals and life skills while earning certification with ServSafe, a food industry standard for quality and safety. FoodWorks staff and students make meals for those in need from food donated to the Maryland Food Bank by retailers, wholesalers, and Second Helping — a program that rescues excess food from food service operations. FoodWorks is funded by the City of Baltimore, the Charles T. Bauer Foundation, McCormick & Co., the France-Merrick Foundation, and individual donors to the Maryland Food Bank.

Turkeys and exams

The 11th annual Safeway Feast of Sharing at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 24 provided not just a traditional turkey dinner for residents in need but also a job fair, free clothing, and health screenings, including free flu vaccines and diabetes testing. The event is conducted by Safeway, the Salvation Army, Metropolitan Baptist Church, SunTrust Bank, Centerplate/NBSE, Kool Smiles, Securpros and the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Safeway supports a broad range of charitable and community programs, including cancer research, education, hunger relief and programs focused on assisting people with disabilities. The food and drug retailer’s Eastern Division offices are in Lanham.

Relief for families

The Baltimore B&O Railroad Museum chose the Casey Cares Foundation as its charity of choice through 2011. The foundation provides programs for critically ill children and their families. The museum will offer tickets to families, and Kids Fest tickets and engineers’ packages will be distributed to hospitalized pediatric patients. The museum will also participate in a holiday party for families at the museum and in other events throughout the year. 

Thinking green

The Toyota Green Initiative, designed to show students and alumni at historically black colleges the benefits of adopting a sustainable lifestyle, launched a nationwide tour Oct. 14 at Bowie State University. Activities including a dedication ceremony for a greenhouse, lectures and demonstrations.

Boosting toy giveaway

The staff of Bob Davidson Ford Lincoln Mercury provided a truck full of toys to supplement those given away in December by the Baltimore County Department of Social Services to hundreds of Baltimore County families and their children. Without the dealership’s help, there would not have been enough toys to go around.

Annual food collection

S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows, of Eldersburg, conducted its 7th annual holiday food drive to benefit the Maryland Food Bank. As in previous years, S&K matched each pound of food collected with a $1 donation. Since its first food drive in 2003, S&K had donated more than 3.5 tons of food collected at its showroom to the Maryland Food Bank.

Helping veterans’ families

Trusant Technologies, an information technology and construction management firm based in Ellicott City, has donated more than $100,000 toward construction of the Fisher House Foundation’s facilities in Bethesda. Fisher House provides a home away from home for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. The 16,500-square-foot, 20-bedroom suite Bethesda House, which officially opened this month, is one of three new Fisher Houses to be located at the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center; the other two are under construction. Years ago, Trusant chose Fisher House to receive its charitable contributions based on an employee’s recommendation. In 2008, the firm created the Trusant Eagle Classic golf tournament, which has raised between $33,000 and $39,000 each year. Trusant has raised nearly $118,000 since its initial commitment in 2006.

Helping people and pets

The Baltimore Humane Society combined concern for animals and people this month, offering a 50 percent discount on adoption fees for those who donated 10 or more items for the Maryland Food Bank.

Donations and matching

Bank of America launched a nationwide program this year, contributing $1 million to Feeding America and to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. In addition, it pledged up to $1 million to match donations made by customers through Jan. 15, 2011, to its Gift for Opportunity fund.

Talent and services

Devaney & Associates, a Towson-based marketing, advertising and public relations firm, donated talent and services to a number of worthy causes this year. In October, the firm provided free public relations services to the Food and Allergy and Anaphylactic Network to help raise awareness and attendance for its annual Baltimore/Washington Walk for Food Allergy: Moving Toward a Cure. In November, it donated 20 gift baskets to the Maryland chapter of the March of Dimes; each basket held more than $100 worth of locally made food, wine, coffee, snacks and desserts and was given as a thank-you gift to each local chef who participated in the organization’s annual Signature Chefs’ Auction fundraiser. In December, the Devaney & Associates creative team decorated an eight-foot Christmas tree that was donated to and displayed at the annual Festival of Trees. The tree sold at auction for $550, which benefitted Carroll Hospice, a nonprofit provider of end-of-life care to Carroll County residents.