Meaningful Ways To Give Back This Holiday Season


Want to make an impactful contribution to anyone struggling this holiday season? Charitable organizations have holiday programs for those looking to sponsor or donate. Serving People Across Neighborhoods (SPAN) and Giving Back, Linda’s Legacy (GBLL) are two of those groups.


One of the biggest projects for SPAN is finding sponsors for its Holiday Caring program.

“Each year, SPAN matches low-income families with sponsors who provide holiday food baskets and/or Christmas gifts for children 18 and under,” explained Maia Grabau, director of operations at SPAN.

Last year, SPAN was able to provide Christmas gifts for about 350 children in addition to dinner baskets for their families and the community’s elderly population.

Get involved in the Holiday Caring program by filling out an online form. Email to receive the link.

Don’t have time to shop? SPAN also accepts gift cards in lieu of dinner baskets or children's gifts. Recommended gift cards include grocery and toy stores. SPAN encourages holiday gift cards for children or teens in denominations of $50 each.

All donations for the Christmas Holiday Caring program should be delivered to the SPAN headquarters by December 11 between 1:00pm and 4:00pm. The group’s headquarters is in Severna Park behind Our Shepherd Lutheran Church at 400 Benfield Road.

One simple way to contribute to SPAN’s efforts is to donate items to one of its bins, located at the Severna Park Library or the Severna Park Community Center. SPAN also welcomes in-person donations at its headquarters Mondays to Thursdays, or any time in the plastic bin behind their building.

Some of the most in-demand items include toiletries, laundry detergent and dish soap. Other items that are coveted include food such as jelly, syrup, instant or canned potatoes, noodles and other boxed goods.

Michele Sabean, director of development at SPAN, shared how the nonprofit gets numerous requests for toiletries and things like laundry detergent.

“I have had people comment that they were watering down their shampoo to make it last longer or that it had been a long time since they had been able to wash their hair,” Sabean said. “Those type of comments stick with me and keep things in perspective when I am shopping for my shampoo.”

Sabean noted that although everyday essentials are vital for the recipients of the program, it’s sometimes other items that also bring smiles.

"It is nice to have the comfort items - coffee, tea, jelly and cake mixes," Sabean said.

Want to help SPAN further? Donations to support SPAN's programs are accepted by sending a check to the following address: SPAN, Inc., P.O. Box 626, Severna Park, MD 21146.


GBLL has handed out warm winter clothes to the needy in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, the city of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. for more than 40 years.

“The need is great, and your support is essential during these difficult times,” said Jeanette Sudano, executive director of GBLL.

GBLL is gearing up for another holiday season of providing essentials to those experiencing homelessness or struggling with its Sponsor a Backpack program.

The signature item provided in the program is a backpack filled with unworn winter clothes including a hat, gloves, socks, long underwear and a sweatshirt. A homemade card from a local school student accompanies the items. A donation of $25 to the Sponsor a Backpack program can provide one backpack to an individual living on the streets.

In 2020, GBLL delivered more than 2,500 backpacks on Christmas Eve. Last year, GBLL grew its efforts and delivered 3,000 backpacks filled with new warm clothing as part of the more than 22 truckloads of necessities on Christmas Eve.

GBLL will host a toiletry sorting and packing event at The Church of Latter-Day Saints in Annapolis on December 10 with hopes to put one toiletry kit in every backpack. Items most requested include travel sizes of soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, lip balm, lotion and women’s sanitary products.

Phronesis Wealth Management has also volunteered its office as a collection space for toiletry items until December 16. Other items such as clothing, coats, hats, gloves, sleeping bags, blankets and baby items can also be deposited there. That office is located at 529 Benfield Road in Severna Park, and the business is accepting donations weekdays from 8:00am to 4:00pm.

In addition to items noted above, other in-demand items are men’s clothing like jeans, belts or long-sleeve shirts. Baby items such as disposable diapers, formula, toys, linens, blankets and nonperishable food are also beneficial.

GBLL’s main operations will take place at The Church of Latter-Day Saints in Ellicott City from December 19 to December 23, where many volunteers are needed daily to sort, organize and pack the trucks. Volunteers are also needed for morning and evening deliveries that will take place on December 24.

Email Sudano at to sign up as a donation site or volunteer for efforts.

GBLL is run solely by volunteers and is funded almost entirely by local citizens.

“Without your help, we could not accomplish our mission,” Sudano said.

To donate to GBLL’s efforts, visit

Other Organizations To Help


Asbury Church Assistance Network (ACAN) is a nonprofit organization in Severna Park that provides healthy food choices and reduces food insecurity in the communities it serves. Each year, ACAN does a Thanksgiving dinner giveaway, providing families with turkey, chicken, the fixin's, water and more. ACAN also helps families during the Christmas season. To learn about items needed or to volunteer, contact ACAN at 410-647-7667 or visit

Arundel Federal Savings Bank

Each year, Arundel Federal Savings Bank has donation boxes in the lobby of each of its locations to collect toys for the holidays. This year’s toy drive began November 3 and runs through December 2. The Severna Park branch is located at 50 West McKinsey Road. For more information, call 410-544-9600.

A Call For Coats

Admiral Cleaners is collecting seldom used and outgrown coats to warm up winter for people in need. Bring unwanted coats to any Admiral Cleaners location before November 30. For more information, call 410-267-8381.


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