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Ashton resident hopes her birthday will bring ‘gifts’ to others

To celebrate her 50th birthday on May 22, Ashton resident Kristen Weinberg has a special wish — to help others.

“Everyone has been asking me how I am going to celebrate or what I want for my birthday,” she said. “And I just can’t. I can’t turn on the news or see another sad story.”

Just before New Year’s Day, Weinberg decided she would collect 50 items each month during the coming year to support 12 local charities.

She asked friends and family to help choose the recipients.

“There are so many organizations doing wonderful things that I had never even heard of,” Weinberg said. “They can’t get the word out, so people don’t know how to help them.”

She learned that the one of the greatest needs, but least donated item, at the Men’s Emergency Shelter in Rockville, which is operated by the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, is socks. She hopes to collect 50 pairs.

“How easy is that?” she asked. “Think about how if you were cold, wet or dirty how nice a new pair of socks would be.”

She plans to collect 50 jars of peanut butter for Nourish Now, a Rockville nonprofit that collects surplus food from partners such as restaurants, grocers, caterers and more, and then redistributes it directly to families in need.

Another month will provide donations of 50 feminine hygiene products to I Support the Girls, a Wheaton-based organization that collects bras and hygiene products for women in need.

Weinberg’s parents are helping to organize a collection of 50 items for patients at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and another month’s project will provide 50 stuffed animals for the Montgomery County Family Justice Center, based in Rockville.

“The more I learned about these organizations and the work they do, the more I want to help them,” Weinberg said.

She is still finalizing arrangements for the remaining months but is considering a diaper drive as well as support for an organization that deals with addiction.

Weinberg welcomes donations from the community. She has created a wish list on www.Amazon.com. Go to http://a.co/38t5vlb or search “lists” for “50 for 50.”

For more information, contact Weinberg at 50for50giving@gmail.com.

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