Jan McCarter makes sure needy kids get toys

December 21, 2004|by TARA REILLY

Editor's note: This series over the 12 days before Christmas recognizes those individuals who and groups that make the holidays better for others.

HAGERSTOWN - Inside a small basement office behind the rectory at Saint Mary Catholic Church, Jan McCarter spends hours before Christmas tagging and bagging hundreds of presents for youngsters in inner city Baltimore.

"My job is to make sure every child gets a toy," said McCarter, who has directed the church's Christmas Giving Program since 2000.

Through toy donations from parishioners and clothing donations from those involved with the church's Sunday School of Religion, 217 less fortunate children from Saint Bernardine church in Baltimore will receive presents this year, McCarter said.


McCarter credits the generosity of the church's parishioners for making the program a success.

From the looks of the basement room, known as the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine office, parishioners purchased presents for many of the 217 Baltimore children on the list.

Wrapped gifts, placed in bags and separated for each child, took up most of the office and were in piles that came close to touching the ceiling.

"And this is just the toys," McCarter said.

Parents of children in the Saint Mary Sunday School program were asked to donate new clothes to the Baltimore children.

McCarter said the church was to have mass on Dec. 12 at 2 p.m., during which the Sunday School children were to present their gifts at the altar.

On Dec. 13, McCarter said, all the presents were to be loaded in a trailer and two trucks and delivered to Saint Bernardine.

The School of Religion at Saint Mary has been helping the less fortunate around Christmas for 37 years. Parishioners have been helping out for 25 years, McCarter said.

"Most of the parishioners buy two or three toys for each kid," she said. "To me, there's no bad toy. There's no bad gift. The parishioners are just so generous in their giving and their help."

Wednesday: David Galvin, St. James Catholic Church, Charles Town, W.Va.

The Herald-Mail Articles