Christmas Campaign Prep Underway

BERLIN – As the holiday season nears, a local group is working to drum up support for an annual initiative that benefits local children.

Members of the Ocean City Young Professionals (OCYP) are once again preparing for their United Christmas Spirit Campaign. The annual event, set for Dec. 1 this year, provides dozens of local children with a holiday shopping trip.

“It’s impactful to the children and it’s inspiring to see people in the community come together to support these children,” said Danielle Bellante, chair of this year’s event.

Since 2011, members of OCYP have been raising money each year to provide between 60 and 80 elementary school children with a $100 Walmart shopping spree followed by breakfast at Outback.

“The purpose of the event is to take underprivileged children Christmas shopping,” Bellante said.

The kids can choose how to spend their $100, typically purchasing things for friends and family members as well as for themselves.

“It’s interesting to see how each child decides to spend their money,” Bellante said.

Volunteers assist the children as they shop and then wrap all of the purchased gifts before the kids leave the store.

The United Christmas Spirit Campaign is made possible by various OCYP fundraisers, the last of which is a wine tasting scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 14 at Sello’s in West Ocean City. Tickets for the event, which runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., are $25. To register, visit

The group also asks for in-kind donations of wrapping paper, scissors, tape, bows, bags, gift labels and the like.

Bellante said the young professionals were extremely grateful for the support of Walmart and Outback, as both businesses have played major roles in the campaign since its inception.

“They’ve done this with us for years,” she said. “It shows how the community comes together.”

For more information on this year’s campaign or to sign up to volunteer as a chaperone, gift wrapper or games helper, visit

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.