Our Community December 18, 2020

Sponsoring A Family in Crisis

Originally published Dec 18, 2020

Salisbury, MD December 16, 2020


A Special Tradition

For over 20 years, ERA Martin Associates has joyfully participated in a very special holiday tradition. The REALTORS® and Staff embrace the hustle & bustle to shop for gifts and then gather to wrap them. A typical December routine – only these gifts are for people they have never met. Every year, Team ERA fulfills the wish lists for at least one family at the Life Crisis Center. 2020 was no exception, and the brokerage volunteered to sponsor three families in crisis this holiday season.


A Special Tradition: REALTORS hold some of the gifts for the Life Crisis Center. From Left: Alana Taylor, Joan Catlin, Gayle Quillin, Patricia Bounds, Laurie Cannon, Greg Johnson, Norman Knight, Lois Clohessy, Joni Williamson, Brandon Johnson


What is the Life Crisis Center?

The Life Crisis Center is a local non-profit agency serving Wicomico, Worcester, and Somerset Counties. The Center’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our community through crisis intervention and violence prevention. The staff provides a wide range of services to men, women, and children who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. The Life Crisis Center works to provide a safe place through prevention, intervention, therapy, legal services, advocacy, and collaboration.

We know that violence and abuse can affect anyone, at any time, and at any stage of life. Our goal is to help victims grow into survivors in a violence-free environment. – Life Crisis Center


The Crisis of COVID-19

One facet of the LCC is the Life Crisis Safe House, a nineteen-bed home which provides refuge for families in need. This year, that Safe House may be more important than ever before. According to the Congressional Research Service, unemployment rates in America reached the all-time high of 14.7% in April 2020, the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment was higher this Spring than it was during the Great Depression. Although these numbers have somewhat leveled out as ordinances have changed, the repercussions of loss of income and economic strife are not so easily left behind. Many families are still struggling to pay essential bills or put food on the table. In addition to financial duress, many men, women, and children found themselves trapped with their abusers due to Stay-At-Home orders. Agencies like the Life Crisis Center are a desperately needed safe haven for these victims to escape to.



The holiday season can feel dismal when you lack a roof of your own or the means to fulfill your children’s Christmas lists. Thankfully, some individuals and organizations choose to sponsor a family -or several- to bring a bit of joy. When you sponsor a family, you receive the first names and ages of any children in the family. Under each child’s name is a list of things they need as well as some of their hobbies, skills, and special presents they would like to have. Mothers at the Safe House often need necessities like toiletries or grocery gift cards. However, they still appreciate gifts that will help make their time there a little more comfortable.


Team ERA’s Tradition

ERA Martin Associates first became involved with Life Crisis Center when the Rotary Club of Wicomico County began raising funds for the construction of the Safe House. Bill Martin, Broker and Chairman of ERA Martin Associates, recalls, “We decided to stay involved even after the building was finished. The Life Crisis Center is there for those who really need help”. So, for as long as most of the ERA family remembers, they have been donating clothes, food, toiletries, and toys for Sponsor-A-Family. REALTORS® choose a child or mother to buy gifts for and once everything is purchased there is a Wrap Party. During the Wrap Party, the office gathers to sort, label, and wrap each gift with care. Once all the gifts are ready, they are delivered to a safe and confidential location. “I love dropping the gifts off every year. It feels really good to be able to help somehow,” says REALTOR® Jim Mutschler.


ERA Martin Associates will continue to uphold this special tradition for years to come. After all, the holidays are for giving, and the gift of joy just might be the most valuable of all.


Spread Joy! A small group drops off gifts to the Life Crisis Center. From Left: Joni Williamson, Lois Clohessy, Laurie Cannon, Kayla Hildreth, Jim Mutschler, Norman Knight


Resources For Additional Information

The Life Crisis Center – www.lifecrisiscenter.org

Darkness to Light, Statistics Surrounding Child Sexual Abuse, www.D2L.org

Domestic Violence Statistics: www.ncadv.org

For more information about sexual assault: www.rainn.org


If you need immediate assistance, please call LCC at 410-749-HELP or dial 2-1-1.


If you or someone you know is going through a mental health crisis or is feeling suicidal, you may also dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for the National Suicide Line.