With the holiday season in full swing, it's a good time to showcase some of the good deeds that have been taking place within the Cockeysville area.

One of these is the ninth annual From the Heart meal. For the past eight years, the Leone family of Cockeysville has organized a Thanksgiving meal for 250 homeless men in downtown Baltimore.

Once again, Thanksgiving morning found the family at the corner of Baltimore and Gay streets with hot turkey dinners, as well as bags full of food and drinks.

The men were also provide with a duffel full of cold weather gear, blankets and personal items. Many children from the community were on hand to assist with the distribution of the meals and to celebrate Thanksgiving with the homeless men.


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It is an activity that comes from the hearts of Chris Leone and Annette Callahan, who conduct the event to help their own children — Nicholas, 9, Andrew, 7 and Ellie, 3 — understand the act of giving to people less fortunate and understand gratitude.

"It is one of my favorite days of the year," said Nicholas Leone.

The efforts of one family have now been embraced by an entire community that helps by providing different components of the meal and the other items given to the men.

Grant and Joy Pivec, owners of Piv's Pub, 9811 York Road, Cockeysville, donate 25 roasted turkeys each year, along with an assortment of pies.

The Applebee's Neighborhood Bar and Grill location at 2450 Broad Ave., Timonium, dished up 250 servings of mashed potatoes for the event.

Donations from Scout troops, classmates, family and friends enable to the Leone family to provide a meaningful Thanksgiving meal for so many.

If you wish to donate toward next year's event, or help in any way, call Chris Leone at 443-398-6086.

The Cockeysville Middle School National Junior Honor Society recently sponsored a team to run in this year's Race for the Cure. The team raised more than $3,500 to help fight breast cancer.

The NJHS also collected more than 100 children's craft kits to be donated to Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital.

In addition, this Christmas season the NJHS is serving as a collection point for Toys for Tots. Some students have volunteered to go to the distribution warehouse to sort toys.

Meanwhile, for the Harvest for the Hungry Drive, Cockeysville Middle School collected 6,662 pounds in nonperishable food. The food is donated to the Maryland Food Bank to help needy county families. According to Baltimore County officials, Cockeysville Middle was one of the top collecting schools for the entire county. Last year they were the No. 1 middle school.

The Center for Grief and Loss at Stella Maris will discuss "Grief and the Holidays" on Wednesday, Dec. 7, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Stella Maris auditorium, 2300 Dulaney Valley Road, Timonium.

The seminar is for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one. A qualified grief counselor will discuss meaningful coping strategies for those having difficulty facing the holidays.

The program is free, but you must register in advance to attend. For more information, call Doreen Horan, manager of bereavement services, at 410-252-4500, ext. 7291.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and now on to the December holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Enjoy the season!