The Christmas season is (er, should be) all about giving to your fellow man. Amber Gaines, 28, helps others give back every day of the year.
The Dundalk native, who now lives in Bel Air, is the volunteer manager at the Ronald McDonald House of Baltimore, connecting volunteers with opportunities to assist in the House (you can find more information about volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House at rmhcbaltimore.org). The Ronald McDonald House, which serves as a home where seriously ill children can stay with their families while they receive treatment, embodies the Christmas spirit 365 days a year.
"The Ronald McDonald House is a home and a respite for families who are going through the unimaginable circumstances," said Gaines. "It's a place where they can feel loved and safe during through their journey."
It's not just the spirit in the Ronald McDonald House that makes Christmas time so special — it is the kindness from those outside the facility. "My inbox and voice mail are flooded every day with people wanting to donate their time and funds to bring joy to the families staying with us," Gaines said. "It's a beautiful thing to witness." Before she joins in on the Christmas festivities, Gaines spoke with us about her love of Justin Timberlake, her hypochondriac tendencies and her favorite part of working at the Ronald McDonald House.
Worst pet peeve? Bad Manners. I feel it shows lack of respect.
What song/songs are you loving/hating right now? I love "Say Something" by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera. Hate: Lady Gaga's "Applause."
Last concert/gig you went to? Justin Timberlake. I've been in love with him and his music since I was 12!
Your worst habit? Searching WebMD. I'm a little bit of a hypochondriac, so as soon as something hurts I have to Google the symptoms.
TV show(s) you can't get enough of? Toss-up between "Revenge" and "The Blacklist." Both are such nail biters.
Favorite and most loathed fashion statement? Favorite: leggings with riding boots. Loathed: shirts with the shoulders cut out.
Last great meal you had? Eggplant parmesan from DeSantis'.
Favorite place to get a drink in Baltimore? The Brewer's Art.
Best advice you ever got? Write down things that are bothering me. Sometimes it just helps to get it on paper and out of my head.
Favorite thing about working with the Ronald McDonald House? The families! I meet the most strong, inspiring parents and children every day.
Best thing about working with volunteers? Seeing the good in people. So often we encounter rude or selfish people in our lives and when working with volunteers we witness all of the good things.
Favorite thing about Baltimore? The diversity. There is a little something for everyone. We have so many good things to offer.
AS TOLD TO EMMA SCHKLOVEN