With the start of the holiday season upon us, the time for giving is here.  The United Christmas Spirit Campaign – hosted by The Young Professionals of the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce – is a prime example of the area’s generous nature this time of year. “We started in 2011, the Chamber of Commerce had an idea to bring forth the Young Professionals, with those aged 21-39 that had common interests,” said Phillip Cheung, Former Chair of the Campaign. The YP’s brings together the talent and insights of the emerging generation in the workplace, in a dynamic and diverse group of peers with a passion for making a difference, a willingness to learn, the desire to build important relationships, and the energy to get involved in the community.  “I introduced the Spirit of Christmas Campaign to the OC Chamber because of its already generous and charitable nature,” said Cheung.

“The intention is to first help families in need with a pay it forward motive,” said Cheung. And he’s right on the money… the Christmas Spirit Campaign is the perfect way to welcome December. The Young Professional Committee of the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce is coordinating with Ocean City area businesses, churches and other non-profit organizations. The 2014 United Christmas Spirit Campaign invites 50 underprivileged children for a Christmas gift shopping event, this allows the children to purchase gifts for themselves or siblings for Christmas, enjoy games and craft activities and have some time with Santa. “The first year we started small with just 30 kids, from schools and churches around the area in need, we were able to have our volunteers and employees to be matched with a child,” said Cheung. Since then, the campaign has only grown. With now 50 kids offered in the program, they are able to give more thanks to the money raised. “It’s just amazing to capture such a teachable moment, not only for the kids, but for the volunteers as well,” said Cheung. “It’s not about just one person, it’s the final goal of helping children from around our area, and helping the Chamber give back to the community.”

The Young Professionals of Ocean City look forward to this great event every year, as it offers everyone a chance to really get into the spirit. “With the organizations developmental skills and public relations efforts, this event really polishes our YP’s as they climb the ranks to acquire skills to help them succeed,” said Cheung. Each year, the campaign has exceeded their expectations of offering $100 per child for Christmas shopping. This year, the event is December 6th, starting bright and early at 5:15AM. This year’s goal is also to raise $6,000. The undertaking will also require roughly 70 volunteers (volunteers still needed, hint hint).

But, the real question is… “How can we set fire to other events, not just during the Christmas season, and give people the motivation to help other times of the year,” asked Cheung. We couldn’t agree more. While we love the amount of giving that happens this time of year, we encourage all of our readers to keep the momentum going through the rest of the year as well. But first things first…want to volunteer for this heartfelt event? Contact Sara Sabia: 410-289-0883 or Alison McCarty: 410-641-6470.

Schedule of Events:

5:15AM: Check in volunteers at Outback Steakhouse

5:45-6:00AM: Parent/Child check in at Outback

6:00-6:15AM: Bus leaves for Walmart

(Volunteers at Walmart will be given instructions and a picture will be taken.)

6:30-7:00AM: Child shopper and chaperone introduction, shopping begins. After child is finished with shopping, chaperone checks child in at the activity room and chaperone goes to register with gifts. Volunteers head to Outback once finished with shopping and/or helping in activity room or with gift wrapping.

7:30AM: Santa arrives and will be visiting children in the activity room

8:30AM: Shopping ends, gifts are loaded into trucks headed for Outback

8:45AM: Bus leaves for Outback

9:00AM: Breakfast at Outback for children and volunteers

9:15AM: Phillip speaks to the kids about the Christmas spirit

9:30AM: Parents check children out gifts & goody bags are distributed

6:00-10:00AM: Kimberly Tucker will be on hand to photograph


1.)    Wear a red shirt or sweater

2.)    Bring a calculator

3.)    Be sure gifts are age appropriate and complete with batteries

4.)    Be sure to list/tag gifts that are going to someone other than the child

5.)    Check your child shopper into activities room after shopping

6.)    Use first AND last names on everything