A Tasty Way to Help Bridges to Housing Stability End Homelessness
Many recall the excitement as we gathered in New Brick nearly a year ago to hold a chili cook-off to benefit Bridges to Housing Stability. It was February 9th of 2020, in those convivial pre-pandemic days when we selected Chuck Rees as the winning chef. The effort, which included the Youth Group’s collection from Souper Bowl Sunday, raised $1,000. That impressive result led to more excitement last fall as Christ Church won the Silver Ladle Award during the nonprofit’s Chili & Challenge virtual fundraiser.
While unable to gather again in the foreseeable future, there’s another way to enjoy a meal for a good cause. Next month you can help Bridges prevent and end homelessness by ordering milkshakes and burgers at Shake Shack. The timeframe is from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on February 24th, which is Shake Shack Donation day. On that website for the event, you’ll find a flyer to download, so please spread the word. The restaurant is located on the plaza at Columbia Mall, 10300 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, MD 21044. Please use the code DONATION on the Shack App, web, or kiosk when checking out, and 25 percent of your total meal purchase will go to Bridges.
Christ Church parishioners had the opportunity to participate earlier this week in a similar fundraising effort by ordering takeout pizza and other dishes from Coal Fire in Ellicott City. That restaurant gave 20 percent of every designated purchase to Bridges.
Every dollar counts as the nonprofit provides critical support and affordable housing to our most vulnerable neighbors. In its 2020 annual report, you can read about Bridges’ efforts such as the vital Alliance Program that has expanded to serve 141 people living in 42 affordable rental homes in Howard County. Because Bridges tenants pay less than the market rate, they spend an average of just 31 percent of their incomes on rent compared with many low-income renters in the county who must spend more than 50 percent on housing. The annual report also lists board members for Fiscal 2021, including Christ Church parishioner James Collins.
Prayers Requested as Two Outreach Partners in Africa Face a Surging Coronavirus
Prior to the pandemic, Christ Church entered a partnership with two parishes in the Anglican Diocese of Harare in Zimbabwe. They are St. Luke's in Greendale and All Souls in Mt. Pleasant. The arrangement, in which Christ Church agreed to support annual community medical clinics, grew out of a request from parishioners Nancy and Norbert Mugwagwa. In normal times, the Mugwagwas split their residence between Maryland and Zimbabwe, attending Christ Church for a number of months and then All Souls the rest of the time.
When they departed the United States more than a year ago, taking some medical supplies in their luggage, they expected that the health clinics would be held in May and June of 2020. The Christ Church Outreach Commission planned to provide more supplies, and Fr. Manny and the Vestry received a letter from the Rev. Paul Gwese, rector of St. Luke’s. He explained how they had been “supporting the vulnerable members of our community who eagerly await this medical intervention and attend our clinics in large numbers.” The pandemic forced the cancellation of the clinics.
Even before the outbreak, the rector said, “The health system in Zimbabwe is currently going through serious challenges both in the public and private domains.” Now the situation is far more dire. This month several government officials have perished, according to news reports.
On January 24th, Nancy Mugwagwa wrote to the Outreach Commission that COVID-19 is surging with tragic consequences in the communities where our partners are located. All Souls has lost its church administrator and two parishioners, and the Mugwagwas have lost three relatives. “This is the case in most families, and we hope the tight restrictions imposed by the curfew that includes closure of bars and nonessential businesses will help to slow down the spread," she wrote. Please pray for those in our partner parishes, All Souls and St. Lukes.
Drive Continues to Fill Yellow Bins to Help CCC and 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 and personal care items. The organizers have told Christ Church Vestry member Diane Phillips-Laguerre that these basics are scarce.
Besides diapers in all sizes and baby wipes, CCC needs women’s sanitary care products, soaps, shampoo, deodorant, an