Santa might be the most qualified person to set up a life-size Candy Land, but 20 volunteers at the Columbia Family Center gave him a run for his money when they decked the halls as the Peppermint Forest and Chocolate Mountain. 

The volunteers were helping the United Way of Central Maryland host a holiday market to provide area families facing financial insecurity with holiday gifts for their children. Parents from 30 families shopped for toys donated by companies and individuals while their kids played in rooms featuring everything from a bouncy castle to cookie decorating. 

When parents were finished shopping, volunteers wrapped the gifts, and even provided a bag to hide the goodies from eager young eyes. 

Columbia resident Maureen Harris, vice president for major gifts for the United Way of Central Maryland, said that she’s grateful for the companies and the workplace campaigns that have been taking place for years in support of the United Way. 

“United Way is trying to address needs in Howard County in addition to counties and cities with more visible needs,” Harris said. “Howard County is such a wealthy county but that makes it more expensive to live here. Some parents are working two jobs but still can’t make ends meet.”

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