Baltimore County officials on Wednesday accepted its largest donation yet for a program that provides school supplies to needy students.
Officials say the $5,000 donation from Greater Baltimore Medical Center will buy supplies for more than 100 county students.
The Towson hospital's donation is the largest single gift out of the more than $60,000 raised so far this year, benefitting more than 1,100 children.
The drive has been part of the county's back-to-school routine for more than 20 years, according to the county's Department of Social Services. According to the county, this year's program attracted 285 donors compared to last year's 200.
Accepting the check in his office Wednesday, County Executive James T. Smith Jr. complimented the work of the social services agency, which organizes the program every year, and praised the impact of the hospital's donation.
"When you think that GBMC is responsible for about 10 percent of that figure, that's very, very impressive, " Smith said, "You're a controlling stockholder."
Jody Porter, the hospital's senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer, spearheaded the donation shortly after joining the county's Commission for Women. Her husband is a former high school science teacher, she said, so the cause was close to her heart.
"I think it's just awesome because it gets them on the right path to the next school year," she said.
Tim Griffith, the county's director of social services, said he was pleased with the outcome of the donation drive.
"This is part of a larger effort to ensure kids have all the supplies and things they need to get back to school and be successful ," he said.
The cost to "adopt" a single student ranges from $25 to $50, according to Deborah Ward, the director of volunteer services for social services. Students are referred by social workers and then her office obtains supply lists from each student's school. Individuals can adopt a single child and go shopping or just donate the money and let Ward's "mega-shoppers" handle it.
"They will go out and buy highlighters by the case and then it gets down to $25," she said.