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Owings Mills: Renting a handmade centerpiece benefits neighbors in need

Martha Stewart might be the guru for decorating and creativity, but the Owings Mills area has its own local source: Centerpieces for Tzedakah.

A team of volunteers create customized centerpieces and decorative baskets, which are rented out at an affordable cost. Customers can even choose a theme for the decorations. At a recent meeting at the Jewish Community Center, there was an Orioles centerpiece as well as a Ravens one. Both were beautifully done, enhancing the event and becoming a conversation starter. These centerpieces can be tailored for a bar or bat mitzvah, wedding, bris or baby naming, anniversary, luncheon, or community event.

This project by Jewish Community Services benefits its Community Food Fund to help residents in the community facing hunger and adversity.

The project began in 1993 as a way to raise monies for the JCS agency's food assistance program. It was modeled after another program operating in several cities across the U.S. The Jewish Community Food Fund provides grocery store certificates and other support for needy families. The current economic climate has families who were "just getting by" now struggling to survive and they are relying on the services of the food fund.

Consider using the Centerpieces for Tzedakah program and be the talk of the town. According to Rozi Rice, volunteer coordinator of JCS Client Services, "We're at all of the best parties!" Check them out online at http://www.jcsbaltimore.org/donate/centerpieces or call 410-466-9200 .

The Harbour School at Baltimore has done it again, hosting another fabulous Independence Day float parade. This 9th annual celebration was themed "Oh Say Can You See." There were many Fort McHenry scenes, each one done in a creative way. The excitement of the students in each village was wonderful to watch, and deciding three winners at the end of the parade was a tough choice indeed.

Each team was given only a small bag of supplies that needed to be incorporated into the float. Any remaining materials had to be recycled, donated, or borrowed. No purchasing of any store-bought fancy materialshere!Each winning team was presented with a certificate, and the Best in Show took home a trophy. The winning villages were: Most Creative-Fitness Center; Best Representation of Theme-Fresnal Learning Center; and Best in Show-Village Wetlands. Congratulations to all of the students who worked so hard to create a parade of masterpieces!

Everywhere around town is evidence of construction. New ground was broken at the Metro Centre where three new buildings will be constructed, as work continues on the community college and Owings Mills Library. Residents are looking forward to having a state-of-the-art library close to home. The last library that was here was a mini-library in the St. Thomas Shopping Center, ages ago. Quaint, yes, but it was entirely too small for a thriving area such as ours.

The debate continues over the Solo Cup property and the proposed Wegmans. While there are a great number of residents in favor of Wegmans, the support for "Say No to Solo" is rising. The County Council has to make a decision on that zoning soon, and this is one instance where all the eyes and ears of the community will be tuned. As for the Owings Mills mall, more stores have closed and the mall resembles a ghost town.

A happy sixth birthday to Makayla Elizabeth Freeman who celebrated July 22. Little sister, Katie, added to the celebration, and a yummy birthday cake satisfied everyone's sweet tooth.

Aug. 3 was a special day for Christian Isaiah Often when he celebrated birthday number four! Friends and family joined him at his grandparents' house on Aug. 4 for a pool party, where just five weeks earlier, his baby brother, Brody celebrated his first birthday.

It is impossible to believe but this is the last summer column before school starts. Students will be entering through classroom doors on Aug. 27, while the poor teachers need to return Aug. 20. Whatever happened to school starting after Labor Day?

In closing, I send continued prayers to the families of the victims in the Colorado shooting. I still remember when a man was shot and killed at the Loew's Movie Theatre in Valley Center many years ago. I could never go to that theater again, and eventually it closed down. The senseless violence in our society today is frightening and makes us hold our own children and grandchildren that much tighter. Hoping for a safe and happy end to summer, and I'll be back Sept. 13.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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