Annual Christmas Spirit Campaign Looking For Volunteers, Sponsors

Annual Christmas Spirit Campaign Looking For Volunteers, Sponsors

OCEAN CITY – The Young Professionals of Ocean City are gearing up for their 6th Annual Christmas Spirit Campaign, and members are looking for volunteers and sponsors to help the children.

Each year, the Young Professionals look to the community to sponsor a Christmas shopping day for underprivileged youth who attend Buckingham, Ocean City and Showell Elementary schools.

Each of the schools, in addition to the Worcester Youth and Family Services, select an average of 10 children to participate in the event each year.

The kids will meet at Outback Steakhouse in West Ocean City at 5:30 on the morning of Dec. 3, where a transit bus provided by the Town of Ocean City will take them to Walmart.

Once there, each child is paired with a chaperone and given $100 to buy gifts for their families and themselves.

“It’s fun,” co-chair Cate Nellans said. “It’s a worthwhile cause, and it’s worth it to see them shop. They always want to buy things for their mother or grandmother, and we always have to tell them it is okay to shop for themselves. They really want to shop for their families.”

Nellans said the campaign is looking for individuals to chaperone and entertain more than 50 children that morning as they make their way from the Berlin Walmart to Outback Steakhouse, where they will receive breakfast with Santa.

“We really need volunteers right now, especially as we go back to Outback for breakfast,” she said. “That is where we lacked help last year.”

Currently, 16 individuals have signed up to participate as chaperones, but Nellans said the campaign is in desperate need of volunteers for each of the children.

SonRise is already working with the group to provide entertainment and refreshments as kids wait to get their presents wrapped by the Young Professionals.

Children in grades first through fifth will have the chance to participate in games in Walmart’s activity room and at Outback Steakhouse at the conclusion of their shopping trip.

With just a month left, members are encouraging locals and businesses to either donate or sponsor a child for the event.

Those wishing to sponsor have three levels to choose from, with options ranging from $100 to $500.

Businesses that choose to sponsor a child will have their name put on the event’s banners.

However, those who cannot afford to sponsor are encouraged to volunteer or contribute in-kind donations, such as wrapping paper, bows, ribbons and tape.

Last year, at least 75 individuals and businesses, including Walmart, Outback Steakhouse, SonRise and Burley Oak, contributed to the shopping fund and the event’s festivities, according to Nellans.

Fundraising is continuing to move at the same pace as last year, but additional funds above the required amount will provide more children with the opportunity to join the event, according to the event’s committee. Any money left at the end of the trip will be placed into the next year’s fund.

The Young Professionals supplement the fund by hosting fundraisers throughout the year, including a Christmas in July celebration and a wine tasting event.

The organization will also host its last fundraiser for the event at Burley Oak in the near future, although no date has been set.

For more information, or to participate as a volunteer, message the Young Professionals Facebook page, or visit the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce website at and click on the Christmas Spirit Campaign banner at the bottom of the page.

Volunteers must complete a form and background check before the event.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.