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Helping Others, 1/4: 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.

Benefit ‘office party’

Merritt Athletic Clubs held “Baltimore’s Biggest Holiday Office Party” on Dec. 9, inviting other companies that might have canceled their own parties because of the expense to join them at no cost. More than 40 restaurants showcased their food, and Ravens cheerleaders attended. There was live music and casino games, including roulette wheels, blackjack, and craps, with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. This party plus another in September raised more than $23,000 for the ACS.

Yearlong contributions

The Reznick Group’s national and local social impact committees help the accounting firm promote volunteerism, community service and charitable giving in Baltimore. During 2010, Reznick’s Baltimore office’s activities included: ongoing donations of toiletries to the Women’s Housing Coalition; its ninth annual charity golf tournament, which raised over $2,600 for Live Baltimore, a local nonprofit; its eighth year of serving as host of quarterly blood drives for the American Red Cross; $27,765 in employee donations, matched by the firm, for victims of the February earthquake in Haiti; providing backpacks filled with supplies for Baltimore City Public Schools students; volunteering in May at The Children’s Cancer Foundation’s Child-Fest; organizing its annual Bowl-A-Thon on behalf of Junior Achievement, which raised more than $5,500; serving meals at Goodwill’s 55th annual Thanksgiving dinner; adopting several families through St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center to provide items from their holiday wish lists (the Bethesda office are also participated in an Adopt-A-Family program). In addition, the firm has a “Pay It Forward” initiative in which employees receive extra money in December and are encouraged to share it with others.

Serving cancer patients

Sullivan’s Steakhouse planned to provide dinner Dec. 29 at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in downtown Baltimore for 50 cancer patients and family members. Hope Lodge provides free lodging for patients and their caregivers close to treatment centers including the Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland’s medical centers.

Dinner for patients

On Dec. 19, the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services’ Trainee Class 26 participated in the annual Christmas dinner sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness in conjunction with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia. For the past 30 years, the congregation has cooked and served the dinner for those who suffer from or are affected by mental illness. The trainees also collected money to donate toward a raffle and holiday gifts for those in attendance.

Food, clothes, money given

The Hodes, Pessin & Katz law firm participates in quarterly initiatives to help those in need. This season the firm held a winter coat drive and their annual Holiday Food Box Program, when, after work on Nov. 22 and again on Dec. 6, employees and family members packed 100 boxes of food for families. HPK employees, clients and friends were encouraged to donate $10 for each box. The boxes and money were donated to local food banks and shelters. HPK attorneys serve on many nonprofit boards, and the firm makes donations to community organizations, in addition to the hands-on efforts.

Holiday help for families

The Maryland Association for Justice Women’s Caucus and the association’s philanthropic arm, the MAJ Foundation, recently teamed with the Anne Arundel County YWCA in the YWCA’s annual Angel Tree Project. Twenty families were adopted, with some volunteers spending as much as $600 per family on gifts, clothes and necessities. This is the first major project for the newly created MAJ Women’s caucus, which plans “to continue participating in projects which benefit Maryland women and children in need.” Also, the association and the foundation donated $5,000 to cover all expenses for the Baltimore City Fire Department’s largest public education event of the year, the BCFD Thrill Show. More than 30 MAJ volunteers participated in the Oct. 2 event, which included fire safety demonstrations, educational activities for the children and a fire combat challenge competition.

Young volunteers honored

On Dec. 19, in a pre-game event at M&T Stadium, 30 teenagers from Frankfort High School in Keyser, W.Va., were honored for their volunteer efforts as part of Honor Rows, presented by the Baltimore Ravens, M&T Bank, and the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism. Students in the school’s SMILE (Students Making an Impact in the Lives of Everyone) participated in Allie’s Walk for Diabetes, wrapped holiday gifts to benefit Toys for Happiness, cleaned a campground, and held a Homeless Night, at which students camped in cardboard boxes on the football field to raise money for local families in need. In addition, 85 young people from Project T.O.O.U.R. Inc. in Baltimore were honored. Project T.O.O.U.R.’s Youth Volunteer Corps serves more than 7,000 households through beautification projects, drug and gang awareness, adult education classes and housing assistance services. The Corps recently started a recycling campaign and is preparing an acre to be used as a community garden.

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.

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