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Did you know that 8,000 people are on the Developmental Disabilities Waiting List for services in Maryland? Bello Machre provides lifetime care for those with developmental disabilities in Maryland, helping over 100 children, adults and families in their own homes, 200 people in their 60 homes and providing continual support to the community. In this week’s Friday Focus, Bello Machre shares the touching story of Anna Marie’s and her parents journey with Bello Machre. 
 
Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)
Bello Machre – Loving Care for a Lifetime, providing a lifetime commitment of loving care for children and adults with developmental disabilities in Maryland.  We promise family members that we will always be there for their loved ones.
 
Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?
I wish that you could meet Anna Marie’s parents, Al and Suzanne – a mom and dad who chose to adopt an abandoned child with very special needs.  I know that your heart will be as touched as mine is by their inspiring journey.
 
Al and Suzanne had already adopted two children when the social worker called to tell them about a seven-month-old infant with complex and intensive medical needs. 
 
Despite their pediatrician urging don’t do this, Al and Suzanne made the decision to make Anna Marie part of their family. Suzanne explains, “Although we knew that challenges were ahead, we immediately fell in love with this beautiful baby girl.” They didn’t see Anna Marie’s blindness or profound physical and intellectual disabilities. They saw a baby who was in desperate need of a loving family and home.
 
Anna Marie has been blessed with this amazing family who nurtured and cared for her for over 33 years.  As you can imagine, even the most loving families may eventually need a helping hand.
 
As the years have gone by, Al and Suzanne have become worried about Anna Marie’s future. “As we got older, caring for Anna Marie became increasingly difficult,” Al reflects. “With my heart condition and multiple joint replacements, care giving was left to Suzanne, and it was wearing her down. Our health problems could suddenly and catastrophically threaten our ability to care for Anna Marie.
 
We had faith that we would find the right place. After we visited Bello Machre, we knew in our hearts that we found the special home where Anna Marie would be loved and cared for - both now and after we’re gone.”  
 
Anna Marie now lives in one of Bello Machre’s fully wheelchair-accessible homes. She receives around-the-clock loving care because of her extremely painful and crippling osteoporosis. Al and Suzanne are still very involved in her life and are important members of the Bello Machre family. 
 
For every Anna Marie, there are hundreds more people in need of our help. I want us to be able to say yes – yes to parents who are terrified about the future.  I want to say yes – there is a home for your loved one at Bello Machre today, tomorrow and always.
 
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to love and be loved – that’s what Bello Machre strives for each and every day.  We are an amazing organization in need of volunteers, donations and funding.  More importantly, we need your help to spread the word.  We invite you to be a part of the Bello Machre family!
 
Q: Are there any upcoming events?
Bello Machre has an Annual Golf Tournament, details to come. As well as join us for Every Step Counts on June 9, 2018 at the Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland. This Walk/Bike 5k has activities for everyone and is a wonderful way to show your support.
 
Q: How can people get involved with your organization?
Again, we are a great organization, trying to make a difference in the community. We need volunteers, funding/donations and of course community awareness. If interested in getting involved visit https://bellomachre.org/you-can-help/ for details.
 
The Charles County Children’s Aid Society was founded in 1934 by a group of compassionate women who saw a need in the community. The organization has continued to thrive and grow over the years, working to improve the quality of life for struggling families within Charles County. The Children’s Aid Society provides a food pantry, clothing, baby and household items along with holiday assistance to thousands of families. In this week’s Friday Focus, we caught up with Danielle Wilmoth, Executive Director, and discovered the generosity this organization provides all year long.
 
Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)
A: Children’s Aid has been serving residents of Charles County for over 80 years. Our goal is to help ease burdens families in the county may have when it comes to providing basic life necessities to their families. We are a food pantry and clothing closet and also offer a variety of items depending what we get donated. These things include baby items, personal hygiene items and household items. Children’s Aid also offers support to families during different holidays. We have a School Supplies Distribution, during which we distribute 1,500 filled book bags to children going to CCPS. We have a Christmas program called Christmas Toy Connection in which we partner with DSS and help approximately 1,200 families provide Christmas gifts to their children. We also distribute Easter and Thanksgiving baskets.
 
Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?
A: I personally enjoy working our two major events, School Supplies Distribution and Christmas Toy Connection. Over the last five years I have met some incredible people during these events. Whether they are clients who are extremely grateful for the service or the volunteers who give their free time to help us ensure each project is a success.  My heart is always so full walking away from these events after seeing a community come together to support each other.
 
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
A: The biggest challenge our organization, like other non-profits in the area face, is funding.
Whether that funding comes from actual monetary assistance or by the donations of goods.
 
Q: Are there any upcoming events?
A: Our next event is Designer Purse Bingo on March 11, 2018. Bingo will be held at the American Legion and you can buy tickets ahead of time or at the door. In addition to playing bingo for the chance to win a designer purse, we will have delicious desserts, raffles, auction items and more. Additionally, when you bring a package of diapers, you will receive one extra game sheet. We also participate in several yard sales throughout the year. See our full list here.  
 
Q: How can people get involved with your organization?
A: People can get involved with Children’s Aid in a couple of ways. We take volunteers in our warehouse and office on a daily basis, we also need volunteers for all of our projects throughout the year. Our organization survives off of donations, whether they are physical items or monetary donations. We accept gently used and new items so that we can distribute them back out into the community. To find out more information on volunteering, donating or any other questions, people can visit our website, give us a call or send us an email at info@childrens-aid-society.org
 
Do you need or know someone who needs affordable prescriptions? Health care services? Medical supplies? Health Share of St. Mary’s partners with local organizations to assist children and adults in St. Mary’s County achieve good health. They offer financial support as well as critical medical supplies, care and more for those in need. Check out their upcoming events and ways to get involved in this week’s Friday Focus! Robbie Loker, President, Board of Directors of Health Share also shares one of her favorite moments. 
 
Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)
Health Share of St. Mary’s Inc. provides access to basic health care for St. Mary’s County residents, who are either uninsured or underinsured with a monthly income of $1,354 - $1,962. This network of services is provided by the department of Social Services, the Health Department and Medstar St. Mary’s Hospital.
 
Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?
A 68-year-old man had suffered for years with chronic pain in his mouth as a result of his inability to pay for dental care.  Health Share was able to arrange for a dentist to remove the tooth and prescribe antibiotics and pain medication.  He is now able to eat solid foods and enjoyed his first turkey sandwich in 2 years this past Thanksgiving.
 
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
Our funding is limited. We appreciate the incredible generosity of donors and designated funds from the United Way of St. Mary’s County.  Health Share receives no financial assistance from the government.
 
Q: Are there any upcoming events?
Our two major fundraisers are our Holiday Home Tour the first Sunday in December and a Champagne Reception the third Sunday in May. We also have a Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball on February 26.  To learn more about our events check our website:  http://www.healthshareofstmarys.com/
 
Q: How can people get involved with your organization?
Donations are tax-deductible and can be sent to Health Share’s PO Box 1208, Leonardtown, MD 20650.  Volunteers are always needed with our fundraisers and to help with administrative tasks.  For more info contact Robbie Loker rloker@md.metrocast.net or 301-904-6634.
 
The Women’s Evolution Center, Inc. creates a peaceful and motivational environment for women to discuss their dreams. The Center take a comprehensive planning approach to inspire and support women’s needs as well as encourage dream realization.  We enjoyed speaking to Lisa Gumbs, Executive Director to learn a little more about The Women’s Evolution Center in this week’s Friday Focus. 
 
 Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)
 We are a private nonprofit agency that has been providing transitional service with a persona and innovative curriculum to all women including underprivileged women in Charles County for over three years.
 
Our curriculum includes: finding passions, time (focus) management, organizational skill, job awareness, etc.
 
 Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?
 When a client’s pattern of life has changed for the better through our sessions, she is better motivated and able to organize her life for success.  
 
 Q: What is your biggest challenge?
 Funding is the most significant challenge.
 
 Q: Are there any upcoming events?
 We are planning to have group sessions for all women throughout the county in the year 2018.  
 
 Q: How can people get involved with your organization?
 We always welcome donations.  We are also looking for motivational speakers and a website monitor. Please visit our Facebook @  https://www.facebook.com/WECCares/.