As we near February, the holidays seem but a faint memory. The Christmas tree and decorations have long ago been put away, but hopefully the cheer has lingered.
In November 2011, the Lifestyle staff published a Nonprofit Wish List. We asked area nonprofits to submit a list of tangible items that could be used to help further their missions. When we published the lists, we then asked the community, in return, to help out the organizations by giving something on the list.
We would love to say that every single one of the nearly 80 nonprofits had their wishes granted, but we know that was unrealistic. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find out several of the organizations that participated did have the community donate an item or two.
What we also found was that every gift, no matter how small, was appreciated.
Some organizations said they received small items, some items specifically listed on their lists.
Keena Crowell, administrative assistant with Children's Resources Inc. in Hagerstown, said their organization received fishing poles, fishing gear and school supplies such as pencils, colored pencils and notebooks.
Diana Wall, community missions coordinator of One Hope Ministries with Bags of Love Program in Martinsburg, W.Va., said her organization received two bags of toys as a result of the list. Kathi Draper with Friends for Life based in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., said her organization also received a donation of toys.
Maureen Grove, executive director of Girls Inc. in Hagerstown, said the organization received some books and toys, as well.
Courtney Wiggins, chief executive officer with Oak Hill House & School in Hagerstown, said Oak Hill received many donations. She said Rick Calef and Butch Dingle of Hagerstown donated two TVs, a microwave, VCR player, a box of VHS tapes and a table, and Brian Lynch, president of Antietam Cable, donated Christmas shopping money and a PlayStation 3 with games. Thomas Stevenson of Barefoot Bernie's in Hagerstown raised money as well as brought gifts for the boys at the home.
Ron Lytle, founder of Contemporary School of the Arts & Gallery Inc., said his organization received lots of paints and high-end markers to help his after-school programs.
Yvonne M. Perret, executive director of Office of Consumer Advocates Inc., a peer-support mental health agency, in Hagerstown, said a desk and office chair were donated, as well as children's books that weren't on the list but a nice surprise.
"We got things we can definitely use," she said.
Perret said every little donation mattered.
"We appreciate any opportunity to request donations because we're always in need of many things for our program," she said.
Antietam Bible College asked for a few items, including a scanner, which college secretary Barbara Calhoun said was gifted to the school.
Beth Schroyer, executive assistant from Cedar Ridge near Williamsport, said the organization received donations of copier paper and a couple gift cards.
Even the basics were needed. Kay Hoffman, director of development of Brook Lane Health Services, said they received in-kind donation of hygiene products that were used as gifts in patients' and residents' Christmas stockings.
Dori Yorks, director of Washington County Family Center in Hagerstown, said the organization received dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauruses, markers, glue sticks, diapers and diaper wipes.
Trina Johnson, director of Hagerstown Day Nursery, said her organization received a monetary donation for kitchen supplies. And whether it was a direct result of the list, Paper Plus, which was going out of business, donated paper supplies, which the nursery shared with Eastern Elementary School.
Michael Priday, director of procurement services at Western Maryland Hospital Center, said the hospital received several items such as word searches and crossword puzzles, hygiene products, colored pencils and markers and DVDs.
Tracy Holliday, assistant director and grant administrator of Renfrew Institute for Cultural and Environmental Studies in Waynesboro, Pa., said her organization requested a thermal laminator. She said a current member read the requested item in the Wish List and emailed them tell them the laminator was on the way.
J. Mooch Mutchler, program director at Safe Place, Washington County Child Advocacy Center, said his organization asked for and received toilet paper and paper towels.
Some received money donations. Authentic Community Theatre in Hagerstown received $150, according to Janet Brooks, treasurer.
Lori Stottlemyer, owner-operator of Windy Rock Equine Rescue Inc. in Clear Spring, said her organization received a $1,500 check that was used to purchase two hay huts.
She said she was surprised at the gift, hoping for at least one of the small items on her list.
But when she opened up the envelope with the check she said, "I almost had a heart attack."
Stottlemyer said the hay huts protect the hay from weather, keeping it from becoming inedible for the horses. Each hut has eight openings, allowing eight horses to eat at the same time.
Judy Boykin, board president for Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle, said her organization received a platform ladder, an assortment of used hand tools, a small cash donation and "a fair amount of inquiry to volunteer."
Boykin said the Wish List was important for a nonprofit such as Habitat.
"Every Habitat I know of in this area, works pretty close to the bone, without a lot of money," she said. "Building homes, we rely on the community to find the donations to actually build the house, find the money and bring their own sweat labor to pay it forward. When the community gives even a small amount it creates awareness."
Melanie J. Davis, executive director with Holly Place, said they received cleaning items and paper products.
"It's a big help when we don't have to go buy those items," she said.
Sarah Burcher, shelter manager with Waynesboro New Hope Shelter in Waynesboro, Pa., was unsure if the donations were a direct result was from the Nonprofit Wish list. But many new people were donating this past season and admits it was hard to keep up with who was giving and why.
"It was overwhelming, but in a good way," she said.
And even those who didn't receive anything from the list, said they were still planning to participate in the 2012 Nonprofit Wish List.
"I think there's real value of it. It only takes one donor, one time to make a great impact on an organization," said Chuck Miller director of development of The Arc of Washington County.