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The holidays are upon us once again which means it’s time for the 2016 Toys for Tots Holiday Toy Campaign. Last year, ezStorage proudly participated in the program that delivered over 57,000 toys to underprivileged children in the Baltimore area. Let’s make this year even better! You can drop off your unwrapped toys at any of these locations.

There are other ways you can give back to the community, too. As you spend time with loved ones this season--giving thanks and spreading holiday cheer--keep in mind these other charitable organizations that also need your help. Whether you donate time, money or items, you can make an impact in the lives of others in 2016.

Baltimore Food Banks and Pantries

Food banks and pantries rely on donations, volunteers and partners like the Maryland Food Bank, community groups and local churches in order to provide meals to those in need.

Maryland Food Bank

The Maryland Food Bank distributes more than 120,000 meals per day. While working to meet those immediate needs, they are also looking for long-term ways to reduce hunger in our community. With offices in Baltimore, Salisbury and Hagerstown, they utilize a network of soup kitchens, pantries and schools to reach 21 counties and Baltimore City. They address hunger relief through school meal programs, culinary training and more. One way you can contribute is through their Virtual Food Drive. In just a few clicks, your contributions can begin helping families in need.

The Door

One of the organizations served by the Maryland Food Bank is The Door. As part of the Baltimore Urban Leadership Foundation, they seek to meet the basic needs of the community. They also provide special holiday baskets around Thanksgiving and Christmas. You can contribute non-perishable food items or monetary donations that will be used directly to purchase food for those in need. They are also looking for volunteers.

Salvation Army Baltimore

The Salvation Army has a variety of programs designed to serve individuals and families in Baltimore including food, shelter, social services and disaster relief. In addition to these year-round programs, they have special seasonal efforts in need of your support. Their Angel Tree program puts a personalized spin on holiday giving. Donors are matched with children in order to provide gifts and clothing during the holidays. Many businesses and groups participate in the tradition each year, and it’s terrific way to give back to your community.

There are many more charitable organizations that can use your help this holiday season. ezStorage is thankful to be part of a community that is dedicated to helping others.

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Thanksgiving is almost upon us. Some trace the holiday as far back as 1621, and in the centuries since then, our nation has cultivated a number of traditions and celebrations. Whether you’re looking to take a break from the norm or contemplating starting some new traditions of your own, we’ve highlighted a few holiday events that are worth a look.

Baltimore Thanksgiving 2016 Turkey Trots

Runners looking to work up a healthy appetite on the 24th before the Thanksgiving feast have a couple of options:

The Gobble Cobble 5K

The Gobble Cobble 5K starts at 8AM and runs through the Baltimore Inner Harbor--beginning and ending next to MAC Harbor East. The top three male and female runners along with randomly selected participants will take home a pie. A costume contest is also in store. Proceeds will benefit the Sol Goodman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at Johns Hopkins and the Greater Maryland Chapter of Alzheimer’s Association.

The Y Turkey Trot Charity 5K

The Y Turkey Trot Charity 5K in Baltimore kicks off at 8:30AM. You don’t have to be a member of the Y to participate, and dogs are welcome (but must be on a leash at all times). Best of all, kids six and under are free! The course runs through Druid Hill Park. The top three runners in each age group will take home a medal, and in the weeks following the event, fundraising prizes will be awarded as well. A portion of your registration fee and all donations benefit The Y in Central Maryland.

After Thanksgiving in Baltimore 2016

After food and festivities with families and friends, Friday has traditionally been a time for sales and shopping. The phrase Black Friday first entered the national lexicon in the 1960s as a comment on the heavy increase to foot and car traffic and the disruptions it caused. Some 20 or so years later, the more commonly accepted meaning shifted to the time of year when retailers begin to turn a profit (no longer being “in the red” but instead “in the black”).

It’s also the time when many in the US officially begin to celebrate their Christmas traditions.

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor opens its Christmas Village on November 26th. The opening ceremonies include a visit by the original Christkind from Nuremberg, a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony (at 4:30 pm), and so much more. Performers, bands and special event weekends will continue to entertain and delight all ages throughout the holiday season.

Our ezStorage self storage facilities will be accessible during regular gate hours on Thanksgiving Day, but our offices will be closed. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and we’ll be back to assist you on Friday, November 25th!

For a classic Washington DC Thanksgiving in 2016, check out these holiday happenings close to home in the DC area.

Parades for Washington DC Thanksgiving 2016

While you can’t catch a Thanksgiving parade in Washington DC, you have a couple of great options nearby. Silver Spring, Maryland celebrates Thanksgiving with a parade on Saturday, November 19th. Featuring 50-foot balloons, floats, bands (including the Washington Redskins Marching Band), mounted police, fire engines, and many other groups, the parade is quite the set of sights and sounds for young and old alike. Jolly old Saint Nick even makes an appearance! Then, on Friday, November 25th, plan for a full day of activities at Reston Town Center. In addition to the parade which includes giant balloons, dancers, musical groups, and other entertainment, even more festive fun awaits with horse-drawn carriage rides, a tree lighting, and yet another visit from Santa.

Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving in DC 2016

Turkey Trots are a growing tradition on Thanksgiving, and Washington DC has one on Thursday, November 24th at 8:30 am. We shared information about SOME (So Others Might Eat) in our piece on Washington DC charities, and they are sponsoring a 5K fun run and family walk to benefit the homeless and hungry.

Holiday Celebrations After Thanksgiving in DC

As we move beyond Thanksgiving, a variety of winter and Christmas activities are scheduled including:

  • Gaylord National Resort’s ICE - This special holiday event returns in 2016 with the new theme Christmas Around the World. It showcases holiday traditions from a variety of nations and offers attractions including a Christmas town square, Santa’s sleigh, a carousel ride and more.
  • ZooLights at the National Zoo - From November 25th through January 1st, The National Zoo offers an impressive experience with thousands of sparkling animated lights, indoor animal exhibits, a model train display and live entertainment featuring musical performances and more. Admission for this event is free.
  • Parade of Lighted Boats - On December 3rd beginning at 6 pm, the Potomac River comes alive with lighted pleasure boats. The route begins at Alexandria’s waterfront and proceeds to Washington’s Channel.
  • Mount Vernon Candlelight Tours - Martha Washington welcomes you with a Mansion tour and invites you to join in the Christmas revelry with candlelit walks, fireside caroling, and complimentary hot cider and cookies.
  • Holiday Tree Lightings - November 26th provides you with a couple of opportunities to observe a holiday tree lighting in the DC area. City Market at O’s activities last from 1-5 pm with live performances, face painting, local food and holiday photos all culminating in the lighting ceremony at 5pm. CityCenterDC’s event takes place at 6pm featuring a joyful holiday concert, balloon artists and more as they light the 75-foot Christmas tree.

However you choose to celebrate the holidays this year, ezStorage wishes you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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