Worcester County children participate in the Ocean City Young Professionals’ Christmas Spirit Shopping Campaign on Dec. 1. The children were each able to go on a $100 tax- free shopping spree to get presents for themselves or other family members at the Berlin Walmart. 

(Nov. 29, 2019) The Ocean City Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Committee is looking for donations and volunteers for its 2019 Christmas Spirit Campaign at the Berlin Walmart on Saturday, Dec. 7. 

“It’s our largest fundraising event that we host all year,” Young Professional’s Chair Danielle Bellante said. “We take around 80 underprivileged children Christmas shopping.” 

The committee is looking for chaperones to assist children in need to shop at Walmart and/or spend the whole day with a child, as well as gift wrappers and game helpers. 

Volunteers are required to be at least 16 years old with a valid driver’s license or identification card, and must pass a background check.

There is no sign up deadline, but volunteers are encouraged to contact the Young Professionals as soon as possible in order to complete the background check.

Furthermore, the committee is seeking donations of wrapping paper, scotch tape, scissors, gift tags, sharpie markers, name tags and contractor bags, which are due to the chamber by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5. 

Businesses and the general public are also encouraged to sponsor children through monetary donations. 

There are four sponsorship levels: 

Toy Soldier — $100, sponsors one child

Rudolph — $250, sponsors two-plus children, and companies will have their logo featured on the event banner

Elf — $500, sponsors five children, includes title sponsorship and a larger logo spot on the event banner and material

Santa — $1,000, includes title sponsorship with larger company logo on event banner, material and additional marketing opportunities

For almost a decade, the group has partnered with businesses, churches and nonprofit organizations to give impoverished children a $100 tax-free shopping spree to buy gifts for themselves and their families before Christmas. 

In addition to the shopping, children can play games, participate in craft activities, enjoy a pancake breakfast and visit with Santa. 

The big day begins at 5 a.m. next Saturday at the Outback Steakhouse in West Ocean City. 

Once all of the children have gathered, they will be transported from the restaurant to the Berlin Walmart where they will meet their chaperones. 

There, the children will have about an hour or two to explore the store and pick out their gift(s). 

Following the shopping spree, the children will return to Outback Steakhouse for a free breakfast. 

“We wanted this campaign to be really focused on bringing the Christmas joy to the children,” Bellante said. “So, we encourage them to buy toys for themselves and just fun things they can do so they don’t feel like they have to use this opportunity to buy socks or coats or anything needed.” 

Bellante volunteered for the first time in 2015, and since then has overseen the campaign as a member of the Young Professionals Committee. 

She said the campaign was not only exciting for the children, but the volunteers who spend time with the kids not because they have to, but because they want to. 

“Overall, everyone is so excited,” Bellante said. “To see how many people are willing to get up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday in the cold dead of winter is incredibly inspirational and reminds us that we have a good community here.” 

For more information, to become a sponsor, volunteer or to donate, call 410-213-0522 or send an email to ocmdyp@oceancity.org.

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