By JOHN P. EVANS III
The Holiday season is upon us, which means the plight of the less fortunate is made even more noticeable by the lack of resources to make everyone’s December a happy one.
There are many organizations in Caroline County designed to assist in aiding the needy and then there are others that not only take the lead for themselves but offer assistance to other charities in the endeavor.
Sweet Caroline is one such group. It was created to help families in need and to better our community and those among it. Over 32,000 people take up residence within Caroline County alone. Sweet Caroline’s purpose is to assure no community goes without, whether it be assistance due to medical or personal reasons. Imagine being able to lend a hand to those around us and help to spread kindness along the way.
Ben Cahall, the executive director of Sweet Caroline, said in a telephone interview recently that his organization raised close to $20,000 from two recent fundraisers to put toward the purchasing of food and presents for children and their families that otherwise would be unable to afford them.
Some of the money raised by Sweet Caroline through other fundraisers has gone to purchase meals for guests of the His Hope Ministries homeless shelter in Denton, where as many as 50 persons, more than half of them children, seek safe shelter during the fall and winter months.
“We are sponsoring some of their meals with money that we have raised and have also been able to help with a Fun Day recently for some of the children who reside there,” said Cahall. “This money comes from persons who support our cause through our raffles and other events which we have held throughout the year.”
Cahall said another group that assists in a big way by funding meals is R and M Performance, a Cambridge-Based business owned by two Caroline County brothers. “They match every meal that has been sponsored by someone else,” said Cahall.
Cahall said two events Sweet Caroline will help sponsor in December will be Storytime with Santa, to be held December 9th at the Visitors Center in Crouse Park, and Pizza with Santa on December 16th at the First Church of God in Federalsburg. “These are the kinds of events we like to partnership with because they benefit children and offer them a little fun around Christmastime,” said Cahall. “These are both free family events during which kids can have their picture taken free with Santa and enjoy (the town’s) Winter Wonderland for kids.”
Cahall said he has been very pleased with the support Sweet Caroline has received in the county. “We have been well received. The county residents have been 100% supportive in what we do,” he said. “When we reach out to people for help, they generally respond,” said Cahall. “Sometimes we’re blinded because we are so busy, that you miss recognizing some of the links in the chain. But when you stop to notice, you realize what a great county Caroline County is when it comes to helping each other out.”
He said another local business that has worked closely to help Sweet Caroline has been the Smokin’ on the Shore food truck, which has named a sandwich for Sweet Caroline and makes a donation from the sale of each of those sandwiches to purchase toys for local children.
On its web site, www.sweetcarolinemd.com, the organization lists many area food banks, their location and hours of operation.