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Elkridge couple's giveaway initiative for homeless grows into Serving Line volunteer tradition


IN JANUARY 1991, Beulah and Tom Burkhardt of Elkridge headed for downtown Baltimore with 100 bag lunches, set to help the homeless. The couple entered a park unannounced, and the food was given away within an hour.

The Burkhardts couldn't know that these bag lunches would develop into the Serving Line, an organization that brings together county and city people each Sunday morning.

Now on Sunday morning, in front of City Hall in Baltimore, you'll find a line forming before 11:30 a.m., in anticipation of the Serving Line. Volunteers set up tables and serve 350 hot dog and sauerkraut lunches.

Some weeks, other provisions are given out: diapers, baby food and children's clothing; boxes of clothing from which people can pick what they need; energy drinks for youngsters or those with AIDS; men's work boots. All have been donated to help Baltimore's needy.

Many people help to carry this off each week: Joe and Marilyn Lauffler of Ellicott City are among the officers; Elkridge resident John Richardson also takes part. Bill Prehn, of Elkridge, brings baby food. Elkridge accountant Rick George helped incorporate the group and now helps with finances.

A number of churches, including Dorsey Emmanuel, Emory and Harwood Park United Methodist and New Hope Lutheran, often contribute volunteers or food.

Locust United Methodist Church members packed their first lunches last week.

My small space prevents the Serving Line from thanking its many other volunteers.

Ms. Burkhardt said she has enough volunteers to serve food Sundays, but the group also needs contributions and other help. Among those needs:

* Someone with a van or truck to transport food.

* Men's work boots or shoes.

* Baby diapers and formula.

* A working freezer.

The group has tax-exempt status. To make a contribution, send it to the Serving Line, P.O. Box 334, Ellicott City 21041. Or for information on how to contribute, call the Burkhardts at (410) 796-2331.

Educator honored

Dr. David Scuccimarra, assistant principal at Ellicott Mills Middle School, was one of three finalists chosen in the Maryland State Assistant Principal of the Year Award. The program recognizes outstanding school leaders who have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students. Dr. Scuccimarra was awarded a plaque commemorating the honor at ceremonies during the Assistant Principals Conference late last year.

Jaycees donate

Do you remember that before Christmas, the Elkridge Area Jaycees were playing Santa for donations? At the January membership meeting, the Jaycees dispatched the donations, totaling $1,800, to the Johns Hopkins Childrens Center, the highest amount sent in five years.

Thanks to the many families and organizations that welcomed Santa and his helpers into their homes this holiday season.

The Jaycees are organizing a co-ed volleyball team to play in the Howard County Recreation League. Play begins March 17 and continues through mid-May, with games Sundays between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. For information, call John McHale at (410) 796-4793 or Molly Gardner at (410) 247-6917.

New Eagle Scout

Ellicott City resident Matthew Helfrich, a 1995 Centennial High graduate, has just earned his Eagle Scout award.

Matthew began scouting as a Tiger Cub in 1984 and completed Cub Scouts with his Webelos and Arrow of Light awards. He joined Boy Scout Troop 944's Peace Patrol and advanced through eight leadership positions.

In addition, he earned 38 merit badges, the BSA Lifeguard and 50-Miler awards and the World Crest. He has staffed the council's Junior Leader Training course for three years and this summer was the Senior Patrol Leader.

Camps he attended include: Treasure Island Scout Camp, Philmont, Haliburton, National Scout Jamboree and Camp Horseshoe. Matt has been a Brotherhood member of Nentico Lodge 12 for more than four years.

Matt naturalized the storm drainage pond behind Centennial High and Burleigh Manor Middle schools as his Service Project. Students and Scouts from both schools helped him to clean the area of debris and added three birdhouses and a garden area with a park bench.

Matt thanks school participants, Metzler's and River Hill Garden centers and Clark's Hardware Store for their contributions. He now attends Western Maryland College, where he studies biology in preparation for a teaching career.

Heron project

A great blue heron, a protected bird, that frequented the pond at Elkridge Elementary School earlier this winter recently was found frozen to death. The U.S. Department of the Interior has given permission for the school to preserve the bird if there are sufficient funds for the project.

A communitywide drive has started to preserve the bird for educational display. You can place your donation in the labeled box in the school foyer, or send a check payable to Elkridge Elementary PTA, to the school at 7075 Montgomery Road, Elkridge 21227.

Quilt program

The Howard County library announces "A Stitch in Time," a program of stories and activities about quilts and quilt-making for children ages 6 and up, to be presented at Miller branch library.

Children can attend the program Feb. 12 from 4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. or Feb. 17 from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Register your child tomorrow after 10 in person or by phone at (410) 313-1955.

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