CAMBRIDGE, Md.- Through a simple act of giving this holiday season, you could win a great Christmas gift and help our neighbors in Crisfield who are victims of Hurricane Sandy in the process.
The Cambridge Adventist Church is partnering with the nonprofit Cambridge Main Street and local businesses in the coming weeks in a joint effort to support those people in Crisfield who suffered so greatly from the devastation of Sandy and who remain in need of help and support, particularly as the cold of winter begins to bite even harder.
"All of our hearts go out to the victims of Hurricane Sandy " says Cesar Gonzalez, pastor of the Cambridge Adventist Church. "We want to help our neighbors who are so obviously in need of assistance during this season, but we'd really like to do it in a way that also helps the businesses that are the heart of our local community."
Following the success of last year's food drive, Gonzalez is once again partnering with Main Street and downtown businesses on a project that will run through Dec. 14 with the goal of supplying food, clothing, blankets, and other much-needed items for church outreach to victims of Sandy—and doing so in a way that increases foot traffic in downtown businesses.
"We could have just bought things with our project budget, but we are trying to do something bigger," Gonzalez said. "We want to give everyone an opportunity to serve others, and this seems like a good start."
Here is how it works: Anyone can drop off non-perishable food, clean blankets, coats of all sizes, rubber boots, new packages of underwear and socks, gloves, toiletries, paper products, baby products, and pet food at participating downtown stores and restaurants beginning on Monday, November 26. You can tell which businesses are participating by the colorful posters in the window saying, "Win an I-Pad Here! And Help a Needy Family!"
For every three items donated, one raffle ticket is issued—and each ticket represents a chance to win an Apple iPad 2 worth $500. The winning ticket will be chosen at the church on Saturday, Dec. 15.
"Our downtown business community is a generous one, and the folks here are eager to help the Adventist Church help those whose lives have been devastated by this deadly storm," said Mari Stanley, the executive director of Cambridge Main Street. "The cool thing about this is the way it's set up to bring people into local stores to see what downtown has to offer."
Area residents who haven't visited downtown lately will have a lot to see—new stores, brightly decorated businesses, thriving restaurants, and a brand new lighthouse at Long Wharf on historic High Street.
"The downtown community is deeply appreciative of the way the Cambridge Adventist Church set out to organize this drive in a way that encourages area residents to discover and celebrate this growing downtown economy of ours," Stanley added.
The food and other items will be distributed by Adventist Community Services, an international community and disaster response organization.
"Acts of charity like this are at the heart of our church," Gonzalez said. "We want to imitate Christ. We want to serve others like he did and in so doing become more like him."
The Dec. 15 drawing for the iPad will be held at 11 am at the Cambridge Adventist Church, 3105 Mallard Court Cambridge (visible from the north side of Route 50, turn onto Bonnie Brook Road). The winner need not be present.