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'It wouldn't be Christmas without it'

Jan McCarter shops all year to bring holiday cheer to less fortunate kids

Jan McCarter shops all year to bring holiday cheer to less fortunate kids

December 16, 2006

Editor's note: In this 12-part series that runs through Christmas Eve, The Herald-Mail highlights people and organizations who make the holidays brighter for others.




Name: Jan McCarter

Age: 46

Home: Smithsburg

Occupation: St. Mary Catholic Church Director of Religious Education

Organization: St. Mary Catholic Church

What do you do to make Christmas brighter? McCarter directs St. Mary's Christmas Giving Program, a yearly holiday gift drive for less fortunate children in Baltimore. The drive, which begins in mid-October, calls on the church's parishioners to donate gifts, money and clothes for about 200 children - ages 3 to 5 - who are enrolled in a Head Start program at St. Bernardine Church in Baltimore. The gifts will be hauled to the church on Monday.

Why do you do it? "It wouldn't be Christmas without it. It's very much part of my life, and it's the most important thing I do this season," McCarter said. She shops all year long for good deals. She bought 25 coats that she found on sale at the end of the winter season for the children, and buys wrapping paper the day after Christmas. "I try to make the money go as far as it can," she said.

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How can others help? Cash or check donations may be made to St. Mary Catholic Church at 224 W. Washington St. in Hagerstown. Donations can be dropped off at the church office.

Comment: "For some of these kids, this is the only Christmas they get," McCarter said.

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