Disaster Aid Goes to Episcopal Relief and Development in Wake of Winter Storms
After an unprecedented cold snap plunged Texas and other states into a deep freeze, residents suffered for days in the hard-hit Southeast. Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is stepping in to relieve suffering and help in recovery, working with affected dioceses and local parishes to see that funds go to where they are most needed.
On behalf of parishioners who have donated to General Outreach at Christ Church, members of the Outreach Commission voted this week to contribute $675 to ERD. The funds will go to assist those in Texas and far beyond who must cope with power outages, flooding, and water shortages caused by the extreme weather.
ERD describes how it is making use of the urgently requested contributions: “Your gift today will help provide emergency shelter, groceries, and gas — as well as serve cooked meals to families in affected areas. We are also working with a network of Episcopal dioceses to create shelters, recognizing COVID-19 precautions, for vulnerable people impacted by the storms and power outages, including those without electricity, without homes, or living in poorly-insulated housing.”
The statement is on the disaster aid section of the ERD website, which has a display for those wishing to make individual, tax-deductible contributions online. Anyone who prefers donating by writing a check to ERD should put “Winter Storms” on the memo line and mail it to ERD, P.O. Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058.
As Christ Church parishioners have experienced firsthand in New Brick, the damage caused by ruptured pipes can be immense. A recent article in The New York Times described the woes of one elderly couple whose pipes burst in their home in Killeen, Texas. They spent one night on a couch at church and another in a hotel that caught fire, forcing guests to evacuate. When they returned home, they found a pool of frigid water in their living room and buckled flooring in the dining room.
But that’s not all. “Their tightknit Episcopal church, which has lost three members to the virus over the past awful year, had also flooded,” the newspaper reported. “I’m at the end of my rope,” said Janet Culver, the 88-year-old parishioner. Her husband, Jim, is 91. Please keep the Culvers and other winter storm victims in your prayers.
How a Milkshake Matters in the Effort to End Homelessness in Howard County
Little things add up. That principle is behind restaurant and retailer benefits, such as the one that took place on February 24th during Shake Shack Donation Day for Bridges to Housing Stability. It was a good reason for parishioners and other supporters to flock to Shake Shack, which is located on the plaza at Columbia Mall. The sunny day seemed perfect for indulging in milkshakes, fries, and burgers --including a ‘Shroom’ burger for vegetarians. In turn, 25 percent of the participants’ total meal purchases went to Bridges.
Christ Church has a warm relationship with Bridges that dates to 2019 when we participated in its countywide chili cook-off, Holier Than Thou. Parishioner James Collins, a Bridges board member, was the master of ceremonies. That fundraising and camaraderie were surpassed on Feb. 9, 2020. Our own cook-off a year ago, which included the Youth Group’s collection from Souper Bowl Sunday, raised $1,000. And that, in turn, led to Christ Church winning a Silver Ladle Award during the Chili & Challenge virtual fundraiser held last fall by the nonprofit.
In its February newsletter, you can read about Bridges’ work that your donations support, including help for a mother of four. She writes, “I got behind on my rent when I was laid off from my job due to COVID-19 and then got very sick with COVID-19 and pneumonia. All of my kids were sick, too.” Bridges’ newsletter includes a timely excerpt of an article on racial inequities in housing, selected for Black History Month. And there’s a shout-out to Christ Church for our support of the January restaurant benefit, at Coal Fire in Ellicott City.
If you know of upcoming restaurant benefits for other worthy causes in Howard County that could be publicized ahead of time, let us know by emailing email@example.com. It’s also a way to support the local workforce as the pandemic continues to affect the economy.
Drives Continue to Collect Diapers and Personal Care Items for CCC and Non-liquid, Non-perishable Foods for FISH
Parishioners are asked to support Columbia Community Care (CCC), an all-volunteer effort that came together in Howard County in response to the pandemic, by collecting diapers, baby wipes, and women’s sanitary care products. There’s an effort underway at the state level to create a Maryland tax deduction for purchase of diapers and feminine hygiene products that are donated to nonprofits. So keep track of your receipts, given the possibility that Senate Bill 622 or House Bill 711 could pass in the General Assembly.
CCC also needs personal care items for both men and women such as soaps, shampoo, deodorant, and other toiletries. Please put them in the yellow bin, marked “CCC,” just inside the Parish Hall door. You can drop off items on weekdays until 2 p.m., but we ask that you call the church office (410) 381-9365 to let them know when you will arrive.
Meanwhile, keep the nonperishbles coming for FISH of Howard County by placing them in the yellow bin, marked “FISH” on the breezeway between the Parish Hall and Old Brick. During winter, please contribute items such as cereal and granola bars that will not freeze. Please do NOT bring canned goods, liquids in plastic such as juices or glass containers.
February LEMS Committee Update
LEMS teachers will be returning to the school building this month. To help the teachers and staff feel appreciated, the LEMS provided goodie bags for each of them, as requested by the school principal. The LEMS committee is continuing to provide food for ten families one weekend a month. If anyone is interested in volunteering with the monthly bulk purchasing, bagging, and delivering to the school when New Brick reopens please contact the committee. With local COVID cases still elevated we are following strict safety precautions and will expect the same of all volunteers. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
WOCC Outreach - Seafarer’s Donations
For years, the WOCC has been involved in providing requested items to Seafarers. Below is a list of the types of magazines, books, and DVD’s/CD’s to be donated. If you can help, it would be greatly appreciated. The Seafarer’s bin is in the lower level, near the bottom of the steps, in the Parish House.
Suggested Items needed:
· Bible in modern English (or Tagalog, Russian, or Chinese),
· Times/Newsweek/etc. up to 3 months old
· Sports Illustrated/People/etc. up to 6 months
· Cars/Computers/Consumers magazines - up to 1 year
· Reader’s Digest up to a couple of years
· National Geographic (post-2000)
· Books (except for Bibles) are less often requested, but some seafarers do appreciate action novels, as well as picture books about Baltimore or the U.S.
· Action/adventure DVD’s. Recent popular CD’s.
· Religious books (in easy English), DVD’s, CD’s; rosaries.
In general, if you have suggestions about ways to help the community, if you want to get involved, or if you need assistance, please email Christ Church Outreach at email@example.com. Your help is greatly welcomed and appreciated. Thank you.