CEC Outreach News: February 26, 2021

Updated: Feb 28

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 outreach@christchurchcolumbia.org. It’s also a way to support the local workforce as the pandemic continues to affect the economy.