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A special guest bearing gifts for the Charles County Children’s Aid Society had the right spirit but no red suit.

U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) visited the nonprofit in Waldorf on Friday, learning about the program and bringing toys for its annual Christmas Connection.

Children’s Aid works to improve the quality of life for struggling Charles County families with children by helping them with clothing, food, rent or mortgage and utility assistance, educational classes, recreational activities and holiday help.

The society has been assisting families since 1936.

Hoyer said what the board of directors for the Children’s Aid Society and those who volunteer do every day “gives a little bit of hope,” to those who are struggling.

Hoyer, looking around at all the donated items such as a rack full of coats, said such help is critical

“We ought to tell people to look in their closet. I guarantee almost every family has got some clothes in there that are not worn out but they just don’t use because they got something new.”

While saying this, Hoyer realized, “I’ll bet you I have 100 ties I never wear.” Hoyer said he would donate them to the group.

He said just being in the building, he was raising his own consciousness.

“But we ought to raise everyone’s consciousness,” he said.

In a later interview, Hoyer said we all have things that are used but not used up.

By donating those items to organizations such as the Children’s Aid Society, “someone is going to be able to get use out of that.”

Pamela Vahle, the group’s chairwoman, said Hoyer’s visit validates the agency and all it does for the county.

Currently, the society is collecting items for its annual Christmas Connection, a program with Charles County Department of Social Services that provides 2,000 children, infant to 17, with toys, hats, gloves, stockings and books through donations.

Donations are being collected this week at the Children’s Aid Society at 3000 Huntington Circle, and beginning next week, donations can be delivered to South Potomac Church on U.S. 301 in White Plains.

Distribution of the items will be Dec. 18 through 20 at the church.

Times for all three days will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Earle Knapp, chairman of Christmas Connection, said the program is still in need of items for children infant to age 2 and children 13 and older.

Teens, Knapp said, enjoy electronic games, and CAS relies on donations since it can’t afford to get a lot of those items.

gphillips@somdnews.com