Volunteer of the Week: Giving Back is her way of life
Published: December 20, 2005 | 3071st good news item since 2003
Arriving in Annapolis and the surrounding areas by way of 18 trucks instead of eight tiny reindeer is Linda Greenberg, aka Mrs. Claus.
Mrs. Greenberg earns this honorary title for her 22 years of service with the non-profit organization she founded, Giving Back. The nonprofit conducts a campaign to help the homeless during the holiday season. The drive has proven to be quite successful, growing from donations that once filled the back of her car to now filling 18 trucks.
A resident of Annapolis for the past 33 years and mother of two grown sons, Marc and Cory, Mrs. Greenberg has brought her own children up on the same mantra set forth from her own philanthropic father: “Take no more than you need, and give the rest away.”
It’s a premise that’s served her well over the years. Her first experiences with helping others less fortunate than herself began at age six, helping to feed the homeless.
Over the years she brought her own two sons into service as well as hundreds of other volunteers. Many years ago, the family led the annual Thanksgiving Dinner held at Camp Letts in Edgewater. From there she noted that many branched out into other areas of service on their own.
“It very gratifying to me that hundreds of people have been involved (along with me) over the years,” she said.
“We’re all in this world together_connected. It’s good to get away from your own needs. After all, the greatest joy is not in receiving the sweater, but in giving the sweater.”
Giving Back hasn’t been the only endeavor she’s been involved with over the years. She’s also volunteered for her sons’ ice hockey teams, at their schools and in their church.
An avid lover of all animals, Mrs. Greenberg and her family have raised alpacas, sheep and goats and even began a donkey rescue society. She hopes to one day establish a local wildlife sanctuary.
Mrs. Greenberg is also an accomplished businesswoman and is on sabbatical from a radio talk show on WNAV, “The Linda Greenberg Show.” She’s run multiple other businesses in the area as well, including a limo service.
She helps her husband David’s business, Greenberg Jewelers, who was able to add more than 1,000 new toy donations this year to her efforts.
Aside from her business and volunteer positions, her interests include swimming, tennis, walking, attending movies, helping animals in need and, a personal favorite, watching reality shows on television. She loves them all.
Something else she loves is her link to area students and their community service. During the week before and during her Giving Back drive, she routinely visits schools in the county, requesting help in the form of donations and actual time on location, helping to sort donations into various trucks. She also visits area businesses, which most often chip in bulk donations.
“I’m just the catalyst, a messenger,” she said. “To me, there is no greater joy than seeing a child give his or her toy to a youngster who has none, or a preteen enthusiastically handing out fliers, making phone calls and doing home chores to buy a new blanket. The greatest gift we give our children is inspiring them to give back.”
Involving more kids is really what she most needs this year. That and others such as entertainers, musicians, clowns, and most importantly, nurses and doctors to help deliver medical care along with the donations on Christmas Eve.
For Hanukkah this year, obviously she would like Giving Back to be successful. She also would like a bicycle so that she can begin training next year for her first triathlon.
Giving Back trucks will be on hand at the Anne Arundel County Farmers Market, at the corner of Riva Road and Harry S Truman Parkway, beginning tomorrow through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The organization is in need of backpacks, thermal clothing, hats, gloves, socks, blankets, coats, baby items and new toys.