Severna Park Voice
Jeanette Middleton-Sudano Becomes Executive Director Of Giving Back, Linda’s Legacy
October 6, 2015
Severna Park resident Jeanette Middleton-Sudano is now the executive director of the nonprofit organization Giving Back, Linda’s Legacy (GBLL), which provides food, clothing, blankets, toiletries and other items to the homeless population in shelters and on the street in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., during the Christmas holiday.
Middleton-Sudano has served as a volunteer with GBLL since the late 1990s. She has held positions as an advisory board member, a transition team member and the leader of the charity’s bingo fundraisers and toiletry and food drives.
Linda Greenberg, wife of David Greenberg, who ran Greenberg’s Jewelers in Brooklyn Park, formed Giving Back in the 1980s as a result of an experience she had as a child. On a winter trip to Washington, D.C., little Linda and her mother saw a homeless man shivering on the street. Linda’s mother asked her to give the man her coat. Giving her coat, providing the shivering man warmth and feeling the biting cold herself had a profound impact on little Linda. When she had children of her own, she turned to the streets of Baltimore to distribute warm clothing and blankets. It became a family project. As her boys, Marc and Cory, grew, they brought their friends to help. Other neighbors, friends and community members joined in and that snowballed into Giving Back, Linda’s Legacy.
The organization has grown exponentially over the last three decades and has drawn many individuals, churches and corporate sponsors to lend a helping hand. In 2014, GBLL served approximately 30 shelters and 450 street-homeless.
The purpose of the organization is to help the homeless, but from its inception, it was also formed to give people, especially youth, an opportunity to give back.
Middleton-Sudano said that’s what brought her into the organization about 15 years ago. She and her son, Nathan, now 22, first participated in a holiday drive.
“It transformed my son’s life and it became a meaningful experience to help others, especially at Christmas,” she said.
Nathan was in middle school when he and his mom went out for the first time on a Christmas Eve to deliver blankets and other supplies to homeless shelters.
“The next day, on Christmas morning, Nathan didn’t want to open anything,” Middleton-Sudano said. “He just wanted to give it all away. It was just beautiful. Two years later, he was out and saw a man without shoes and he gave him his shoes. His heart has been transformed by helping others,” she said. Now Nathan and his friends are grown men and they still regularly help with charities in a variety of ways. They haven’t stopped giving back.
“The more we can educate young people, the more we build bridges of compassion and love for everyone.”
Bob Knight served as interim executive director prior to Middleton-Sudano and following Steve Anstett, who served as executive director for a decade.
“Jeanette has been a part of this organization for a number of years and has made many valuable contributions,” Knight said. “She is very passionate about what we do and that passion is contagious. I’m very encouraged with her match to the role.”
Middleton-Sudano said Giving Back is ready to ramp up for the season. One of its successful projects is a backpack program that enables people to donate $25 to provide a filled backpack with lifesaving essentials that are delivered to a homeless recipient with the donor’s name.
GBLL welcomes donations of blankets, gently used coats, and toiletry kits. Information will be updated regularly on the organization’s Facebook page and at www.homelessdrive.org.
Collection days for the 2015 drive will be December 20 through 23 at the farmers market off Riva Road in Annapolis, from 10:00am to 5:00pm each day. Individuals and organizations that want to be involved can contact GBLL at firstname.lastname@example.org.