Donation Gets Diakonia ‘One Step Closer’ To Expansion Project

Donation Gets Diakonia ‘One Step Closer’ To Expansion Project
On Tuesday, Blue Water Development announced its donation of $150,000 to Diakonia. Pictured in front, from left, are Blue Water CFO Rafael Correa, CEO Todd Burbage, dogs Blu and Oscar, Emily DeMarco, Diakonia Executive Director Bee Miller, Blue Water owner Jack Burbage and Samantha Pielstick. Back, from left, are Tracey Landman, Bethany Miller, Susan Parrish and Bryton Adkins, Diakonia Executive Board Chair Reid Tingle and Steve Kremer. Photo by Bethany Hooper

WEST OCEAN CITY – A company’s $150,000 donation will allow Diakonia to pay off the mortgage on its newest property on Route 611.

On Tuesday, Blue Water Development Corporation announced its donation of $150,000 to Diakonia, a nonprofit organization that provides housing and services to homeless individuals, families and veterans on the Lower Shore. Officials say the contribution will pay off the loan on a piece of property it acquired on Route 611 south of the Decatur Diner.

“Blue Water is all about community, and Diakonia is a vital part of helping the less fortunate get back on their feet,” said Blue Water CEO Todd Burbage. “We are thrilled to share our success and hope this donation helps Diakonia empower others to become successful members of our community.”

Diakonia Executive Director Bee Miller explained its Route 611 property will be the site of a future expansion project. She noted the nonprofit plans to build affordable permanent housing units and relocate its thrift store, food pantry and veteran and case management services, providing a more central location for community members and volunteers.

“Diakonia is recognizing the need for affordable housing in the future and this is a step in that direction,” she said.

Reid Tingle, executive board chair for Diakonia, agreed.

“This donation gets us one step closer to building our new office in West Ocean City,” he said. “The community has been vital in funding our mission, and the generosity of the Blue Water group will have a lasting impact on many residents of our community by providing help for today and hope for tomorrow.”

Blue Water officials say the $150,000 donation will allow Diakonia to continue its work in the community.

“Serving on the Diakonia Board of Directors, I see first-hand the impact Diakonia has in our community,” said Blue Water founder Jack Burbage. “That is why I felt compelled to make this donation.”

Since 1972, Diakonia has been helping men, women and families in Worcester County by providing emergency housing, food assistance and resources to get them back on their feet. What began as one humble house and four little cottages is now two buildings providing up to 50 beds, including family units allowing families to stay together.

Over the past 10 years, Diakonia has expanded to include case management, homeless prevention and veteran services, among other things. Blue Water officials noted the community resource is maintained through the generous support of individuals and organizations alike, and through the hard work and dedication of staff and volunteers.

“Every human being deserves the safety and dignity of housing, and Diakonia works hard to support the unhoused community on the Lower Eastern Shore,” a statement from Blue Water reads. “We are stronger as a community when we support our friends and neighbors in times of struggle. Diakonia is so deserving of our support, and we are grateful for the lifesaving work they do in our hometown.”

Blue Water Development is a real estate development and hospitality business based in Ocean City. To date, the company owns twelve hotels, three attractions and six campgrounds, including For Whaley and Frontier Town.

To learn more about Blue Water Gives Back and its philanthropic initiatives, visit

For more information on Diakonia, or to donate toward its expansion project, visit Donations can also be sent to P.O. Box 613, Ocean City, Md. (specify for Diakonia Building Fund).

“Diakonia is still in need of volunteers for our food pantry, thrift store and donation center,” Miller added.

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.