Circle Works: Baltimore Outreach Services Holiday Party
More than 100 Circle members volunteered to help with the annual Christmas party for Baltimore Outreach Services (BOS) clients on Sunday, December 17, 2017.
Every year, Baltimore Outreach Services sponsors a Christmas party for its success stories - women and their children who have moved from the shelter into their own homes, obtained jobs and achieved self-sufficiency. About 120 guests attended the party this year. BOS has been the recipient of several BWGC grants and provides emergency shelter, supportive housing, educational programming, health and mental health services, job training and employment counseling. This includes a successful program training women in culinary skills leading to jobs in restaurants and catering businesses. This grantee is very successful in giving the women the tools they need to build strong, independent lives for themselves and their children.
Circle Works was very interested in working with BOS on this project for two additional reasons. Their Director, Karen Adkins, is a polished, organized and engaged professional. She understands what the women in her care need, and she gave excellent guidance about how we could help. Another positive reason for selecting this grantee is that they have a very large, well equipped facility - a perfect place to host the Christmas event.
When Circle Works Co-Chairs Georgia King and Sherry Billig met with Karen Adkins, they were excited that this project offered many ways for Circle members to participate. The various activities allowed our members to get to know each other, to learn more about this grantee, and to provide their time and talents in ways to help this organization celebrate this occasion.
Circle Works used Sign Up Genius to offer volunteer opportunities for the first time, and the response was overwhelming. All volunteer slots were filled within a few days; and due to popular demand, additional slots were added.
The Circle members and Team Leaders who participated were amazing. Anne Donahue coordinated the Adopt A Guest Team. Circle members volunteered to shop for 40 guests from their Christmas wish lists. Anne delivered the gifts to BOS where they were wrapped by volunteers. Nanny Warren and Beth Lebow coordinated the BWGC Gift Wrapping Team. Four wrapping sessions were scheduled before the party and another wrapping team volunteered during the party. Nanny Warren and Georgia King also coordinated the Baskets for Moms Team. Twenty Circle members collected scarves, lotions, toothpaste, socks, jewelry, picture frames and other small items and created 40 beautiful baskets for children to give to their moms. Sherry Billig coordinated the Baking Team, working with 20 Circle bakers preparing cookies, brownies, and other treats creating 30 beautifully decorated cookie platters that were delivered to BOS and served at the party for dessert after dinner. In addition, Beth Lebow contacted John Baum of Bakery Express, who donated two large, gorgeous Christmas theme decorated sheet cakes. Nanny Warren coordinated the BWGC volunteers on the day of the party.
All Circle members at the party enjoyed meeting the moms and hearing their stories as they helped them choose and wrap gifts for their children. The next day, Karen wrote “We really enjoyed having you all with us this year and are very appreciative of all your help!” All Circle members agree that we received as much as, if not more than, we gave.
By Georgia King and Sherry Billig