The holidays always foster a season of giving and several schools in the area are doing just that.

At Glenelg High School, the Leadership Class will be collecting donations to make care packages for Maryland National Guard personnel in Egypt. Donation boxes are located in the school's media center and front office through Sunday, Nov 27. The students are collecting the following items: wrapping paper, greeting cards, 5 Hour Energy Drinks, Power/Clif Bars, Old Bay, Tabasco Sauce, Christmas cookies, Christmas decorations, Christmas lights, Santa hats, cans of frosting and pretzels.

Students from Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School have been giving throughout the fall, thanks to the school's Community Outreach Committee. In October, they collected 83 Halloween costumes as part of a costume drive. The costumes were delivered to the Howard County Grass Roots Center and The House of Ruth, in Baltimore. Both of these organizations were thrilled to have costumes for their families in need.

Also in late October/early November, students collected 103 winter coats that will be appreciated by others in need this winter. Students are currently involved in an initiative to collect new and used DVDs to ship to troops overseas. This project will kick off in early December, so be sure to drop off a DVD in the designated box in the school's front office.


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Happy Thanksgiving! As we sit around the table enjoying family and friends, and reflect on the blessings in our life, the day means something else to retailers…the official start of the holiday season.

As you may begin your own holiday shopping spree, you may be in need of some extra gift wrap. To help with your wrapping needs, each fall, the Dayton Oaks Elementary School PTA holds a Sally Foster gift wrap fundraiser. This is just a quick reminder that the fundraiser is still active. Sally Foster sells high quality gift wrap and orders may now be placed online, with the products delivered directly to your home and helping to raise money for a local school.

To place an order, go to http://www.sallyfoster.com. Click the red button at the top of the page: Support a Fundraiser, then Select: School (no need for a student name) and enter Code# 0881984, then you will see Dayton Oaks listed as the school you are supporting. Dayton Oaks Elementary School thanks the community in advance for their support.

Plenty to see and do on Dec. 3 as it is shaping up to be a busy day around town. Make plans to get an early start so you don't miss out on any of the festivities.

Start the day off with a special breakfast. St. Andrew's Episcopal Church is excited to offer its annual Breakfast with St. Nick Dec. 3 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The event is put on by the Youth of St. Andrews. Come out and enjoy a delicious breakfast with a special guest, St. Nicholas.

Be sure to bring your camera for some great photo opportunities. In addition to the breakfast, there are several other fun activities planned for the children – including learning about Saint Nicholas, or shopping in the St. Nick Shop where children can shop and wrap gifts for their parents for $1 each.

While the kids are busy with their own activities, adults can browse tables with items to help usher in the holiday season, including fresh wreaths and seasonal gifts and crafts. The church is at 2892 Route 97. The cost for the breakfast is $7 for adults and $5 for children younger than 10.

For tickets or additional information, call 410-442-5445.

Next, plan to stop by the Gary J. Arthur Community Center where the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks will hold its 39th annual Holiday Mart Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This popular event will feature seasonal gifts and merchandise created by 140 juried artisans. There will be door prizes and a children's craft corner.

This is a great place to find unique handcrafted items and home décor. Look for something for everyone on your list, as well as a special treat for yourself. Hot and cold beverages, as well as lunch concessions and snacks will be available for purchase.

The cost is $4 per person; children ages 6-12 are $3. Last year when I attended this event, I decided not to fight the traffic and parking in the community center parking lot and opted to park at Bushy Park and take the free shuttle to the center. It was great door-to-door service.

On your way home, if you are still looking for crafts from local artisans, you may want to be sure to make a detour to the Poplar Springs UMC Christmas Mart, Dec. 3 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The day will feature a bake table, a crafts table, a silent auction (including paintings from local artists), and a free children's make and take craft table to keep the children entertained while you shop.

Santa will also be visiting from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and food will be available for purchase. The church is at 915 East Waterville Road, in Mount Airy.