Anne Martin wasn’t working Monday morning, but when her phone rang, she quickly ran into the office.
Martin serves as the executive director for Children In Need of Washington County.
“Anything for the children,” Martin said as she explained why the nonprofit was hoping that spring cleaning would result in the empty bins in the storage area being filled.
Children In Need is funded by the Washington County Board of Commissioners. This year marks two decades in operation in the same location on W. North Avenue in Hagerstown.
While it may be a time to celebrate for Martin and her volunteer staff, this spring’s donations are in high need.
“Basic needs; these are all basic needs,” Martin said.
Currently, Martin said that Children In Need is helping approximately 3,000 children in Washington County.
To qualify, the children have to be in the Free and Reduced Meals program in Washington County Public Schools, or in a preschool program such as Head-Start.
College students or students who are enrolled in trade programs may also qualify to shop in the clothing closets.
“There [are] 800 [children] that are homeless [in Washington County]. We are trying to reach out to any child that needs help… and any child is baby, zero, to 21-years-old,” Martin said.
Martin said Children In Need is hoping when area residents do spring cleaning this year, they consider donating to the program.
Acceptable items include the following: all sizes of shirts, pants, sweatshirts, sweaters, jackets, gently-worn shoes. New underwear and socks (packaged only). New toiletries and new school supplies.
“Our goal is to keep these children in school…Learning, engaged, not missing school,” Martin said.
There is something new that the program is also looking for this year — bicycles.
Martin said a bicycle opens up many opportunities for children. For example, if a child is in a homeless situation, they can use a bicycle to get to a school — even if it is not his or her home school — the student needs to get to a school to get on a bus and go to the “home” school.
“The school takes care of the bike. So they go off to their school and they come back, get their bike and go back to wherever they are living — and it could be on grandmom’s couch; it could be anywhere. It could be in a car. It could be in a camp,” Martin said.
A bicycle donation event is being planned for June in coordination with Antietam Brewery, Martin said. However, individuals who are interested in donating bicycles prior to that time may contact Children In Need at 301- 671-2014.
Clothing donations can be made 24/7 at the blue donation bins outside the center at 131 W. North Ave. in Hagerstown.