Terrence Golden, principal at St. Joseph School in Cockeysville, made good on a promise to dress in elf-wear when students met his challenge to assemble a record number of sandwiches for Our Daily Bread.
The students are no strangers to helping those in need. Each Thursday a group of middle school students and faculty begin their day by making peanut butter and jelly or cheese sandwiches to donate to Our Daily Bread, a Catholic Charities program serving meals to the hungry in Baltimore City.
Typically, the number of sandwiches totals 200 to 300. Recently Golden challenged students to reach 750 sandwiches in one day and, if they succeeded, he would dress like an elf.
On Dec. 8, students made a record 1,071 sandwiches in one morning.
Golden made good on his promise by donning an elf costume and visiting each classroom on Dec. 12.
"Sometimes, all it takes is a little incentive to spur action," Golden said.
"It's great to see the students working hard for others," he said. "And while the motivation of seeing me in elf gear is all in good fun, ultimately, the goal is to serve more sandwiches to more hungry people at Our Daily Bread.
"What better way to get into the holiday spirit than that?"
Employees, volunteers and physicians of St. Joseph Medical Center provided a brighter Christmas for 48 families who they "adopted" through Catholic Charities.
Departments and units throughout St. Joseph signed up to adopt a needy family, and the result was that thousands of presents were delivered last week to Villa Maria School on Dulaney Valley Road. From there, Catholic Charities ensured the presents were distributed to families.
All families were identified by a Catholic Charities social worker. Each family submitted a wish list that has been fulfilled by the generous St. Joseph staff.
"Our staff at St. Joseph Medical Center has been particularly moved by this experience. Employees had shopping and wrapping parties. Their children have even participated," said Susanne DeCrane, vice president of Mission Integration at St. Joseph Medical Center.
"Some have told me that it was an eye-opener for their kids to appreciate that some of the ... kids were asking for things like, a big box of snacks," she said.
Bill McCarthy, executive director of Catholic Charities of Baltimore, called St. Joseph Medical Center's campaign to adopt 48 needy families "unbelievable and unprecedented."
The generosity was evident as the hospital staff filled two rooms with gifts for the program.
The gifts ranged from a microwave, laundry detergent, paper towels and food to coats, clothes, a bike and, of course, toys.
Recently, I attended the annual winter concert at Dulaney High School, and I wanted to give special mention to the participants of the school's various clubs and organizations that were represented in this holiday event.
From the very beginning of the evening's festivities, the audience was transported into a "winter wonderland" compliments of the high school's concert and symphonic orchestras.
The program also showcased the school's dance companies, as well as the chamber singers and the wind ensembles.
The finale was truly a delight, with the wind ensemble accompanying the dance company who were decked out in top hats and tails for their wonderful dance formation.
It is amazing to see such talented young people perform as if they were seasoned veterans. Special thanks to the teachers who are truly the mentor of these students, Caitlin Cavanaugh, Barry Chesky, Deborah McWilliams and John Wright. And of course, kudos to the parents who have provided the encouragement along the way.
Aerobics hosted by the Cockeysville Recreation Council will start up again the week of Jan. 9. The cost is $40 for an eight-week session.
The group meets Mondays and Wednesdays, at 6:15 p.m., at Padonia Elementary School; Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30 p.m., at Pot Spring Elementary; and 9:30 a.m. at Warren Elementary's rec room.
Registration is accepted during the first three weeks of classes; new participants can try a class for free. For more details, call Susan Grill, at 410-667-4630 or go to http://www.cockeysvillerec.org.
Happy New Year to my family and friends, and may 2012 find you with good health and happiness!