Angels from the Caring Collection
By Marion Kay
On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays there are several cars parked near a home on North Harbor Court in the quiet Annapolis community of Saefern. A welcoming sign greets you at the front door of the two-story home. After entering you walk downstairs to the basement, which is the studio of Bobbi Burnett, a stained glass artist, and also home to the Caring Collection, Inc. The studio is a large bright room furnished with tables, chairs, a sink and storage cabinets. Along one wall are cabinets that display and store a large assortment of stained glass sun catchers, which include items from apples to zebras. Along another wall are three glass shelves chock full of stained glass angels.
The studio is a production facility that is staffed by volunteers who happily spend several hours each week engaged in the various tasks necessary to create an extensive variety of stained glass products. Such tasks might include tracing patterns on glass, cutting, grinding, foiling, polishing, soldering and cleaning. Once pieces are completed, they need to be packed in boxes and labeled. Then they will be ready for the hundreds of customers who will purchase them from the Internet website, the studio or sales at Johns Hopkins and Anne Arundel medical centers.
The Caring Collection started in 1982 when Bobbie Burnett made a stained glass angel to keep up the spirits of a friend, Susie, who had been diagnosed with leukemia. Her friend passed away, but others learned about the stained glass angel and wished to purchase one for friends and family members with cancer. As a result Mrs. Burnett established The Caring Collection, calling on volunteers to help her produce the angels in of her Annapolis home. After allowing for purchases of glass and other supplies needed to make the angels and sun catchers, any profit goes back to the community in the form of grants to the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Medical Center and the Geaton and JoAnn DeCesaris Cancer Institute at Anne Arundel Medical Center.
Each year the two hospitals submit proposals to The Caring Collection for projects that they would like to have funded. In February volunteers from the Caring Collection sit down to select the projects they will fund that year. At a special presentation day event in the spring, grants are awarded and representatives from both hospitals are on hand to explain how the money will be used and to show their appreciation. As of this year, $845,000 in grants have been dispensed for such things as cancer-research equipment, patient-care equipment, fiber-optic devices and ultrasound machines. Bobbie is hoping to ultimately raise $1 million dollars for the two medical centers.
If you have some time on your hands and would like to be a part of a meaningful volunteer experience, consider joining this worthwhile group. As a volunteer for several years I thoroughly enjoy coming every week. The pay isn’t great and as Bobbie quips, “You can have all the jelly beans and pretzels you want,” a reference to the snacks that are on hand for volunteers to munch on while working. The opportunity to meet new friends and contribute to the treatment of cancer patients is priceless. Another benefit is that you become a member of a special family. That’s the way Bobbie and her helpmate and husband, Jerry, always consider every volunteer. They organize yearly parties and invite volunteers to special programs at their home or at the two hospitals.
If you would like to be part of the Caring Collection or learn about its products, browse the website, www.caringcollection.org
Marion has lived in Anne Arundel County for more than 30 years and is a former substitute teacher. She can be reached at Marion1553@comcast.net