The Mount Airy Jaycees chapter -- which is behind some of the town's most popular events, including the Halloween parade, the "mammoth" yard sales and the beautiful baby contest -- is marking 20 years of service.
The Jaycees (from Junior Chamber of Commerce) promotes "leadership training through community development," said Dave Bohrer, president of the Mount Airy Jaycees, which has about 35 members.
Some people join the organization to learn business management skills through participation in its projects. Others, like Mr. Bohrer, who became a Jaycee in 1987, join to become more involved in the community.
"Since Mount Airy's a bit of a bedroom community, everybody lives here but nobody really works here," Mr. Bohrer said. "So you don't get a lot of chances to meet people."
Jaycee member Laurie Hager describes Mount Airy's chapter as "very community oriented."
"Different Jaycee chapters have different cultures, like corporations have different cultures," she said.
Right now, the Mount Airy chapter is concentrating on activities for the fall and winter holidays.
Last month the group held one of its two yearly yard sales at the Firemen's Activity Building, and this month it sponsored the Beautiful Baby Contest during Fall Fest.
Working with the Lions Club, the Jaycees will put on Mount Airy's annual Halloween Parade tomorrow. Registration will begins at 9 a.m. at the Mount Airy Pharmacy on Main Street. The parade starts at 10 a.m., with judging at 10:30 a.m.
Jaycee members Joanne Pyzik and Debbie Ruprecht are organizing the group's fourth annual Thanksgiving food drive for needy families.
Students at Mount Airy Elementary School are collecting the canned goods. The baskets will be packed Nov. 18 and delivered Nov. 19.
In addition to the ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, Ms. Ruprecht said, the baskets will include such staples as sugar, flour, potatoes and fruit juices.
The amount of canned food should last all month," she said. "Each family gets between 50 and 75 cans."
Generally, the group provides baskets to about 30 families. The group learns of families who need the baskets through social service agencies and the school system.
Anyone who wants to help pack and deliver baskets or who knows of a family that needs a basket should call Ms. Ruprecht at 301-831-5417 or Ms. Pyzik at 301-829-1997.
For the residents of Alexandria, Mount Airy's adopted city in Missouri that was damaged severely by floods in 1993, the Jaycees will hold a furniture drive Nov. 5.
Mr. Bohrer said furniture in reasonable condition will be accepted at the municipal parking lot off Park Avenue from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Mayor Gerald Johnson is planning a trip to Alexandria to deliver the furniture, Mr. Bohrer said.
For Christmas, the Jaycees will team up with the Mount Airy Lions Club for the annual Christmas party for needy children. Each kid will get pizza, a stocking filled with party favors and other goodies.
The Jaycees chapter raises money for the party by doing Santa Claus visits in homes or at private parties.
Mr. Bohrer said all money raised by chapter events is donated to worthwhile organizations.
The $400 raised from the Beautiful Baby Contest went to the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.
Anyone interested in joining the Mount Airy Jaycees may call Mr. Bohrer at301-831-7821.