Each year, the Salisbury Jaycees work tirelessly to help fill the needs of the community through the Community Development area. Whether partnering with Safe Kids Eastern Shore to provide child seat checks and safety fairs, sponsoring an annual birthday party for residents of Deer’s Head Hospital Center, helping the First Baptist Church of Fruitland make hundreds of Thanksgiving dinners for local residents or raising thousands of dollars for cancer research through Relay For Life, the Jaycees are active in the community year-round.
Two of the chapter’s highest-profile community events center on specific holidays. Since the 1970s, the Jaycees have taken some 200 area children shopping for holiday gifts each year during the chapter’s annual Children’s Christmas Shopping Tour. (In fact, one of the questions we hear most frequently is, how do we choose which children get to go on the tour? In short, we don’t. While the chapter organizes the event, with funding from the Salisbury Jaycees Foundation, invitations are distributed solely by area schools and social service agencies.)
Much newer than the Shopping Tour, the Jaycees’ annual Treat Street event began in 2008, after a local newspaper reported the year before that fewer parents in the city were allowing their children to trick-or-treat due to increasing crime in area neighborhoods. This safe trick-or-treating alternative draws hundreds of children, parents and volunteers to Salisbury’s Downtown Plaza each Halloween night for an evening of games, storytelling—and of course, candy! During its inaugural year, the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce named Treat Street the No. 1 community youth project in the United States.