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It amazes me that in these times of financial stress, the good people of our Southern Maryland community still take the time and part with the funds to help someone in need. This has been demonstrated recently in the outpouring of donations for three mega bake sales being organized to help a little 17-month-old girl named Gianna Grace. Previously a healthy and happy little girl, Gianna awoke one morning with yellowed skin and was unable to walk. Her parents took her to the doctor and the diagnosis was devastating ­— acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Life has changed for Gianna and her family, to say the least. Instead of playing and growing in her home, her world is now a sterile hospital environment while she receives chemotherapy and other treatments to battle this aggressive disease. Instead of working and watching their daughter play, her parents are strained emotionally and, especially, financially while all of their time is spent trying to save their daughter.

Alison Hunley, a stay-at-home mom with two children of her own, learned of their plight and went into action to help the family financially by organizing bake sales. She probably didn’t realize the outpouring of raffle items and baked goods from the community, and even the involvement of Batman of Southern Maryland Superheros at one of the sales, would be so huge.

This letter will hopefully serve as a thank you in advance for all of the community support at the three local events. The Calvert bake sales and raffles will be at Giant Food in Prince Frederick on Friday, Feb. 1, and at Roland’s in Chesapeake Beach on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Raffle items at these sales include music lessons, kayak rentals, date night packages, massages and princess birthday packages donated by local Calvert County businesses. On Sunday, Feb. 3, there will be a sale at McKay’s in Leonardtown from noon to 4 p.m., offering more fresh baked goods and gift card baskets donated by businesses in St. Mary’s County. Batman of Southern Maryland Superheros will be there from noon to 2 p.m., greeting everyone and offering a chance to win an appearance from him at some lucky patron’s next event.

Although the original goal of these sales was to help Gianna and her family financially, what is now realized is that the outpouring of the community is giving them the thing they need the most right now: hope. Their neighbors, friends and total strangers care enough to take the time to give of themselves for a sick little girl. It’s a wonderful thing. Please join us.

Kathy Penney, St. Leonard