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11-year-old helps needy all year long


JAMIE RIDGELY, a North Carroll Middle school student from Manchester, does the sorts of things other 11-year-old girls do. She plays cello, rides horses, practices ballet, studies to get all A's and is a member of the Manchester Maniacs 4-H club.

But Jamie also works in a way that few preteens do.

Since she was 9 years old, Jamie has found ways to help those in need. This isn't strictly a holiday endeavor. Jamie finds way to help others, particularly kids, year round.

Recently, Jamie created a children's activity book and had 100 copies printed and bound. She also solicited new crayons to accompany each book. The books were donated to Neighbors In Need, a county charity that collects food and gifts for the needy during the holiday.

Jamie is collecting usable children's coats and canned or nonperishable food for the needy. Jamie collected six cases of canned food Sunday at Valu Food Supermarkets in Hampstead. She's also raffling a Holiday Barbie doll.

Proceeds from all of Jamie's projects benefit the Northeast Social Action Project (NESAP), a consortium of area churches that assist needy North Carroll families.

Sharon Ridgely supports her daughter and watches Jamie from the family car when she is stationed at Kmart, Festival Foods and other places that support her efforts. Jamie hands donors homemade pins that read "I'm a Santa's helper."

"We've always donated to charities, but this is something she came up with on her own. She felt she had to do something,"

Sharon Ridgely said.

Jamie's efforts last year garnered media attention. She was visited by Bea Gaddy, who is well known for feeding thousands in Baltimore. Gaddy joined Jamie when she collected food at Miller's Market in Manchester.

"She told Jamie she was proud of her because Jamie did it because she wanted to. Bea did it because she had to," Sharon Ridgely said.

Later, Gaddy sent Jamie several 25-pound turkeys and dressing as a gift from her program to Jamie's.

Jamie also received an autographed picture and a thank-you letter from President Clinton.

& Information: 239-3953.

Webelos help Jamie

Inspired by Jamie's efforts, five Webelos from Cub Scout Pack 790 have volunteered to help her with the food drive.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, the Scouts from the Trailblazer Den will collect food at Festival Foods in Greenmount. They also will sell raffle tickets for the Holiday Barbie doll. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5.

Jamie will draw the winning ticket at 3 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Manchester Town Office.

"We're doing this to give our scouts a hands-on experience, to help them realize that others do not have as much as they do," said Dawn Ros, assistant den leader.

Information: 239-6136.

School chorus to perform

The Hampstead Elementary School chorus will bring a concert of merry tunes to Cranberry Mall in Westminster this month.

The chorus, under the direction of Julia Hollenberg, will sing at the mall at 1 p.m. Dec. 14.

The school's Winter Concert, featuring the chorus and band, will be presented at the school at 9: 15 a.m. Dec. 12 and at 7 p.m. Dec. 17. The school is at 3737 Shiloh Road.

Information: 751-3420.

Annual senior concert

Each year the Women's Club of Hampstead invites the North Carroll Ensemble, a chorus of North Carroll High School singers, to sing for the senior community.

This year, the concert will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Main Street, Hampstead. The Women's Club will meet before the concert begins.

As always, senior citizens clubs and other elderly residents are invited to attend the festive event.

The young singers mix with their audience during a refreshment hour that follows the concert. Club members serve homemade cookies.

Close Your Eyes And Imagine By Jamie Ridgely, 11 years old


Close your eyes and imagine how you would feel,

to go to bed without a meal.

Your mom is sad but she says look ahead,

someday you won't go hungry to bed.

You lay down but cannot sleep,

because of the noise from your mother's weep.

She cries a lot because here comes tomorrow,

and it will just be another day of sorrow.

No food to eat, no clothes to wear,

how much more can a small child bear?

Close your eyes and imagine how you would feel,

to get up for school and there's still no meal.

You go to the bus stop with your stomach in knots,

hoping no one will notice the holes in your socks.

Your shirt is faded, your pants are old,

you're shaking inside because you are cold.

Close your eyes and imagine how you would feel,

if you came home from school and there was a meal.

Someone had helped your family to cope,

and you see that this is a sign of hope.

Your tears turn to laughter, your stomach is full,

and you can't wait to wear your new jeans to school.

There is food in the house and clothes to wear,

and a wonderful feeling knowing other people care.

Close your eyes and imagine how you would feel,

knowing you had helped this child get a meal.

There are now words that express the way you would feel,

when you know you have helped a child to heal.

If everyone could do a small part,

just imagine the warm feeling you would have in your heart.

Pub Date: 12/04/96

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