Volunteer creates Christmas magic at Baltimore County shelter


The Eastside Emergency Family Shelter, home to more than 150 homeless mothers and children was treated to a special day of holiday caring on December 20, 2014. Sarah Caruso, the event organizer and local volunteer assembled more than forty of her friends and family to host a one of a kind holiday event for the residents.

Shelter residents, Tier Brown (left), and Ja'Nae Trent (right), with Carouso. Brown and Trent who are transitioning to permanent housing received furnishings for their new homes.

Shelter residents, Tier Brown (left), and Ja’Nae Trent (right), with Carouso. Brown and Trent who are transitioning to permanent housing received furnishings for their new homes.

Sarah Caruso or Mrs. Claus, as she has affectionately been named, goes above and beyond the call of service.

“I am just someone, like you, who likes to make a difference,” Caruso said.

For the second-year, Mrs. Claus visited the Eastside Emergency Family Shelter. She stocked toys and goodies and gave them out to all the families.

She graciously gifted over 100 movie tickets so residents could enjoy a trip to the movie theater complete with lunch and transportation.

It didn’t stop there, after the movies all the families were in for a surprise with brand new linens and a special gift left on every bed. A mock store was set up and mothers were encouraged to shop for items especially for them.

Of course, no Christmas event would be complete without her husband old St. Nicholas showing up to give gifts to the children.

Even after all of that, she still had more to give. Mrs. Claus selected two families transitioning into their own homes, to receive the ultimate surprise of completely furnished homes. The evening ended with a formal dinner served to the residents by volunteers.

The residents of the Eastside Emergency Family Shelter had a wonderful day filled with holiday cheer.

“It’s great to know that there are angels on earth who make it better for those who are less fortunate. What Sarah has done is simply the most amazing gesture and giving that I’ve ever witnessed,” said A. Antonio Coffield, executive director, Community Assistance Network Inc.

Community Assistance Network, Inc. (CAN) is Baltimore County’s Community action agency and non-profit, established in 1964 as part of a national network of over 1,000 community Action Agencies. This network was designed to help poor and low-income families move from poverty to self-sufficiency. CAN’s vision is to eliminate poverty in Baltimore County.

For more information on CAN, visit: www.canconnects.org.