Severna Park Voice

Linda Greenberg’s Spirit Looms Large in Monumental Holiday Giving Drive

January 12, 2016

The expression “larger than life” certainly could have been used in reference to Linda Greenberg. Three months after her sudden passing in October 2015, Greenberg’s life work and mission are stronger than ever through Giving Back, Linda’s Legacy (GBLL).

It’s impossible to pinpoint the exact moment when Greenberg dedicated her life to supporting the less fortunate in her communities. Her compassion and devotion to helping others was the continuation of generosity she witnessed through her parents.

In December, more than 500 volunteers and dozens of community organizations, businesses, places of worship and schools joined together for the largest community outreach to date. Donations of toiletries, new and gently used winter clothes, shoes, new baby items, blankets, small appliances, sleeping bags, diapers, women’s hygiene items, linens, new underwear and toys, and fresh fruits were accepted at various drop-off points throughout Anne Arundel County.

The main collection of items ran December 20-23 at the Annapolis Farmers Market on Riva Road. The collection sites were hives of activity and required hundreds of volunteers to collect, sort, fold and pack donations into U-Hauls designated for particular shelters.

Youth groups created handmade holiday cards, made fleece scarves and wrapped boots. Severna High School students and other groups sorted and assembled toiletry kits while others, like Boy Scout Troop 855 from St. Martin’s-in-the-Field in Severna Park, baked and decorated dozens of holiday cookies.

James Smith, an Eagle Scout from Troop 855 and the designated baker of the pack, said he’s been a part of the culinary process for as long as he can remember. Teens like Matthew Fangio, Chase Gruver and Zachary Tacyn rolled cookie dough, cut out cookies and passed them to Smith at the ovens. Cooled cookies were decorated by the younger members of the pack. The cookie baking is a holiday tradition with as many as 25 to 30 young men participating.

The signature component of the holiday drive is the backpack program. Organizations around the county, like the School of Incarnation in Gambrills, created more than 3,000 backpacks stuffed with at least a thermal top and bottom, socks, gloves, a hat and a sweatshirt. Many organizations also added a handmade card, a scarf or toiletries.

Shelter deliveries took place on Christmas Eve during morning and evening runs, and people lined up for donations early in the day.

Jeanette Middleton-Sudano, GBLL executive director, said the month-long labor of love culminates in a life-changing experience for everyone who participates. “I feel I can say this with the greatest confidence – this experience changes your whole outlook on Christmas.

“Engaging young people is so very important and fundamental to Giving Back Linda’s Legacy’s mission,” Middleton-Sudano added. “We are helping to build a community of compassionate people who don’t view helping people in need as an event or simply a way to earn service hours, rather, appreciating what we’ve been given and sharing our blessings is just something that we do as people for other people.”

If you or your family, business or organization would like to join the GBLL effort or learn more, visit

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Jeanette Sudano