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To Connie and the staff at the Prince Frederick Kmart, we would like to thank you very much for your help with our annual Toy and Cash Drive. This is the Red Knights International Firefighters Motorcycle Club Maryland Chapter 4’s most exciting annual event. We are very humbled by the privilege to assist children who, through no fault of their own, are in the foster care programs. This is our way of letting the children know that someone does care.

Counting only on the generosity of the outstanding citizens of Calvert and St. Mary’s counties, the Red Knights chapter collected more than $6,200 over two Saturdays this fall. We were able to buy gifts for more than 130 children. We also were able to donate extra animal pillows to each county. Each county was also given a large bag of extra toys just in case someone was not on the list. The collecting was done through a “boot drive” in both counties. The response was wonderful. All drivers received a candy cane and some motorcycle safety information. Yes, Santa was even there.

As in the past, you and your staff were filled with the Christmas spirit going above and beyond. This year, we shopped on three different days and each time, we were greeted with smiles and “Have fun!” Having more than $6,200 to spend does take time. Each year, your staff is more and more helpful. Their knowledge, training and patience are very much noticed.

Over the past few years, we have received more than $15,000 in donations, most a dollar at a time. When we started this program, we contacted many other stores to determine where to spend the money. Due to the initial positive feedback and assistance from your store, we chose to exclusively use the Prince Frederick Kmart. We appreciate the continued generosity of Kmart. Capitalizing on your corporate ads and rewards program, we estimate we have been able to purchase more than $25,000 worth of gifts, at regular price. This has allowed us to help Christmas be a bit brighter for more than 500 Southern Maryland children.

In the fall, we start with our contacts to get a list from Calvert and St. Mary’s counties’ social services departments. This list has gender, ages and wish list items. We strive to get the children what they really want. Each child gets a hat, gloves and scarf set first. After that, we work very hard to match the gift with the child. All also get a Christmas stocking filled with a card, toothbrush, toothpaste, candy and goodies. After shopping, we separate and bag each gift. The bags are sealed and tied with a ribbon and that child’s name on it. It is something that they can call their own, which a lot of us take for granted.

Please let it warm your heart knowing what a difference you made in a child’s life. We would like to thank you again and we look forward to next year.

Alan Billings, Joe Gould and Stacey Welling, Hughesville

The writers are the president, vice president and toy committee chairwoman, respectively, of the Red Knights International Firefighters Motorcycle Club Maryland Chapter 4.