OCPD Partners With Worcester G.O.L.D. For Holiday Drive

OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Police Department is collecting new, unwrapped toys for this year’s holiday season to benefit Worcester G.O.L.D., a non-profit organization that provides financial support to county citizens.

In previous decades, the department’s prior benefactor, the Santa House, has helped 20,244 children, 8,275 families and 779 elderly citizens with contributions gathered from the community since its start in the 1990s.

But with no permanent location to run the program, Santa House officials said they would suspend operations for the 2016 season to find a suitable building that will best serve the needs of the community.

Each year, collected toys, food and clothing are divided by family and given to distribution centers at the Ocean City Police Department, Showell Fire Department, Snow Hill Lions Club and the Pocomoke Fair Grounds.

In recent years, the program ran its operations in donated space, but Santa House officials have been looking for a 5,000-square-foot location in Worcester County since 2013, according to President Dena Holloway.

“We would be remised to not thank Atlantic General Hospital for being our host for 2014 and 2015 Christmas Season,” President Dena Holloway said.  “Without their generosity and thoughtfulness the citizens of Worcester County would not have been able to received help from our program.”

In its absence, Santa House officials have encouraged those seeking assistance to reach out to Worcester G.O.L.D., the Salvation Army, or their local church.

With this recent news, the police department last week announced its plans to support Worcester G.O.L.D.’s “Helping Hands for the Holidays” program in an effort to continue its giving tradition.

“We looked for another partner this year and thought Worcester G.O.L.D. was perfect because we wanted the toys to stay in the county,” the police department’s Public Affairs Specialist Lindsay Richard said. “It was the right fit for us.”

The toys the department receives will act as donations to the “Helping Hands” program, according to director Claire Otterbein, and will fulfill wish lists for those children who did not receive a sponsor for the 2016 season.

Otterbein said those who wish to donate toys through the police department can provide board games, Legos, balls, dolls, board games and action figures for younger children and gift sets for teenagers.

“All these different ways to help will go to families in need,” she said.

The police department will be collecting gifts for the campaign in the lobby of the Public Safety Building on 65th Street through Dec. 13. All monetary donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 39, Snow Hill, Md.

During this time, Worcester G.O.L.D. will also host a “Giving Tuesday” on Nov. 29 at the Atlantic Hotel in Berlin. Toys and donations from the event will go to the “Helping Hands” program. Volunteers will be stationed in front of the hotel at 8:30 a.m.

The Worcester G.O.L.D. helps more than 1,000 families each holiday season, including the elderly and those with disabilities.

Holloway said the Santa House has yet to find suitable housing in Worcester County, but hopes to participate in the 2017 season next year.

“It breaks my heart that we have to suspend the program,” she said. “It’s been devastating. I am at a complete loss.”

For more information on this campaign, contact the Ocean City Police Department at 410-520-5395 or Worcester G.O.L.D. at 410-677-6830.

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.