Young Professionals Gearing Up For Giving Campaign

BERLIN — The Young Professionals Committee of Ocean City is preparing for its third annual United Christmas Spirit Campaign (UCSC), which has seen increased support this year from business partners.
UCSC provides 50 local kids with breakfast at Outback Steakhouse and shopping with a chaperone at Wal-Mart on Dec. 7. The event is modeled on similar holiday charity shopping tours but has been shaped by the Young Professionals to be a unique experience for not only the children but all of the volunteers involved.
“Out of creating a bond for the young professionals and the community, that idea was developed and we had great, tremendous support, with everybody helping different aspects of getting this going,” said Phillip Cheung, co-chair for UCSC. “And we put our own twist to how we do this project with some learning moments, some teachable moments, knowing that it’s easy for someone to write a check for $20 and be done with it but to actually be here and give-up three hours of your time on Saturday morning is more valuable.”
UCSC is exactly the kind of community outreach that Wal-Mart wants to be involved with, according to the Route 50 Wal-Mart Store Manager Jim Kime. The store has been involved with the program since its inception but has recently more than tripled their annual donation from $300 in 2012 to $1,000 this year.
“It was a great success for the community, the kids and our store and our associates just really wanted to be a part of it,” he explained. “And we talked about it all year long here at the store and we just wanted to be a bigger part of it this year which is why we made a larger donation this year.”
Wal-Mart has relationships with a number of charitable organizations and Kime acknowledged that the late-fall and early-winter is probably the most important for many of those groups.
“The needs come out more at the holidays than any other time during the year,” he said.
With United Christmas, there are a lot of moving parts, with about 70 volunteers serving as chaperones and helpers for the 50 children involved. The day starts with a check-in at Outback in West Ocean City, followed by a bus ride to Wal-Mart where kids will shop for the holidays using money donated to the program, then head over to an activity room and then finally back to Outback for breakfast.
To cover the cost, including $100 for each child and chaperone to shop with, the Young Professional committee, which is associated with the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, sets an annual goal of $5,000, which looks reachable and perhaps even surpassed, thanks in part to Wal-Mart’s $1,000 donation, according to President Anna Giles. The group is also close to achieving the minimum of 70 volunteers needed to run the large event, though more help is always appreciated.
“We could always use more volunteers. We’re doing okay right now with volunteers but we can never have too many,” said Giles.
This is one of a few community outreach initiatives by the Young Professionals committee, which the members hope to expand over the next few years. The committee is relatively new but growing steadily.
“We come together for developing leadership skills, developing networking skills, organizational skills and bringing folks in year after year to be able to take on these duties to raise money and organize these kinds of events, which help us professionally grow,” Cheung said.
Charitable outreach is the “spirit of Ocean City,” he added, though the committee also has an eye on the other parts of Worcester County.
For more information on donating or volunteering, contact Cheung at 410-524-2720 or send an email to