The Young Professional Committee of the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce has coordinated with many Ocean City area businesses, churches, non-profit organizations, and individuals to make the 2nd annual United Christmas Spirit Campaign a reality.

Over the past several months, teams of volunteers (from local businesses like Gregory & Associates, LLC, Outback Steakhouse, Raymond James, PNC Bank, Bank of Delmarva, and Merrill Lynch) have nominated underprivileged children, raised funds, and put together goody bags to be gifted to the children. The shopping event, taking place December 8th, 2012, will allow 40 underprivileged children to purchase gifts for themselves, siblings or other family members.
This year, 50 children have been selected to participate in the holiday campaign. Last year, the first year the event took place, 35 kids were selected. The children’s ages range from 4 to 12 years old. All are from the Berlin, Ocean Pines and Ocean City areas.
More than 40 businesses donated to the Christmas cause in order to provide each child with a $100 spending limit.
“We aim to give children a brighter Christmas, provide them with things that they normally wouldn’t have, and let these kids know that there are individuals who are there to help. These kids can see the faces of a community who is committed to helping them have a nice Christmas,” said Cheung.
Local businesses donated some items that underprivileged children living in the Ocean City area might not always be financially able to enjoy. Gifts of fresh saltwater taffy, buckets of caramel popcorn, and vouchers to play miniature golf will be distributed to all 50 children. These three items are many times, Ocean City traditions, staples, and things to enjoy. Families that are struggling often do not get to enjoy these items; during Christmas, and thanks to the Christmas Spirit Campaign, they now can.
“The Christmas Spirit Campaign is a unique program that combines the many, many talents that the Ocean City community has to offer; creativity, time and generosity,” said Cheung, Co-Chair of the Campaign and CPA at Gregory & Associates, LLC.
The talented Ocean City community is filled with volunteers eager to help in many ways. On December 8th at 6:00 am, more than 50 volunteers will be ready and waiting to go shopping at Wal-Mart with children. Their goal is to help the children pick out gifts that they may not normally be able to enjoy. For two and a half hours, the kids will be able to purchase whatever their hearts desire.
At 9 am, the children will be picked up and chaperoned to West Ocean City’s Outback Steakhouse where they will enjoy a spirited breakfast with Santa. Small games, activities, and crafts will be offered as the kids dine and mingle with the jolly spirit. Parents of the children can then pick up their children, check out the bags of wrapped holiday gifts their kids picked out, and head home feeling thankful. 
Cheung, the creator of the event, developed the idea based on similar holiday campaigns he had been involved with in years past: Salisbury’s Junior Achievement program and other Chamber of Commerce events.
The Young Professionals Committee was formed in 2010 as a way to welcome young professionals into the local business community. The committee is active in many events and service projects and is constantly giving back to the community.
For more information about the United Christmas Spirit Campaign, contact Phillip Cheung at or 410-524-2720. 
For more information about holiday events, activities, and drives planned by local Chambers of Commerce, check out the following links below:
Photo from the MD Coastal Dispatch