CEC Outreach News: March 26, 2021

Spread the Word to Help the Hungry: Food Giveaway at Howard Community College

Public-health students at Howard Community College are planning to hand out free food to the less fortunate in Howard County on two separate days about a month apart. As a part of a final course assignment, the students are collaborating with the Maryland Food Bank to distribute 350 free boxes of food and canned goods to those in need.

The first distribution will be held Thursday, April 1st from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is drive-through only (no walk-ins) at Parking Lot B, Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, MD, 21044. The next distribution will be held Friday, April 30th, at the same place and at the same time.

Please spread the word among yourselves and any others who would benefit from free food. No eligibility is required.

Columbia Community Care Plans for Spring, Shares Future Aspirations

The all-volunteer effort that came together in response to the pandemic, Columbia Community Care (CCC), reached its one-year anniversary on March 18th and has set ambitious goals for 2021. Meanwhile, it has some short-term plans to bring cheer to children in Howard County on Saturday, March 27th.

CCC has called on members of the community to help children ages 3 to 11 years old get ready to welcome spring. Volunteers are adding a table to each of CCC’s three distribution sites that will offer gift bags and baskets for kids. The sites are open for distribution on Saturday, March 27th from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the following three locations: Stevens Forest Neighborhood Center, 6061 Stevens Forest Rd., Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Rd., and Long Reach Village Center, Suite 9, 8775 Cloudleap Ct., all in Columbia.

Sue Sharff Castonguay, a member of the CCC group on Facebook, organized the giveaway and will personally prepare multiple bags. However, to make sure there is plenty to go around, parishioners and others are invited to put together medium-size bags or baskets. She suggests filling them with new items suitable for ages 3 to 11. Ideas include gender-neutral gifts and small toys, individual snacks, juice boxes, packaged candy (no loose or bulk candy), filled plastic eggs, stickers, play dough, slime, art supplies, markers, watercolors, face masks, and mini hand sanitizers.

Parishioners can bring their bag or basket(s) to the yellow bin marked “CCC” located inside the entrance to the Parish Hall. To make sure the items get to the organizer’s preferred sites on time, a member of the Outreach Commission will coordinate with CCC. The Christ Church deadline for dropoff is today, March 26th by 2 p.m.

At a recent Zoom session with Christ Church parishioners, the founder of CCC said its goal is to establish the Columbia Community Care Peace and Justice Center to address inequities in Howard County by empowering residents. Erika Strauss Chavarria, the founder, spoke to our Racially Aware Group of Episcopalians (R.A.G.E.).

She said CCC is negotiating for a physical space where organizers would address systemic racism and other societal issues. The center would set up programming in four categories: food and sustainable farming, education and mentorship, workforce development, and health and healing. CCC is raising funds through its affiliated nonprofit organization, Equity4HC, and gathering signatures on a petition. To sign the petition or to read more about plans for the social justice center, go to the website for its petition drive.

Separately, our Christ Church drive for CCC continues to seek diapers in all sizes and baby wipes, women’s sanitary care products, soaps, shampoo, deodorant, and other toiletries. Please put them in the yellow bin marked “CCC” any time on weekdays until 2 p.m., but we ask that you call the church office (410) 381-9365 to let them know when you are coming.

Meanwhile, if you or others whom you know are in need of free groceries or items, go to the CCC website to find when its three distribution locations are open on Wednesdays and Saturdays in Wilde Lake, Long Reach and Oakland Mills. Or if you or others lack transportation, look for the button to request home delivery.

Grassroots Offers QPR Training on March 29th to Help Save Lives

Before the month ends, you can take advantage of a truly beneficial program offered by Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center. With offer members of the community a chance to learn skills that could help save a life from suicide. QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer -- the three simple steps anyone can learn to help save lives, just as individuals trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver learn what to do.

Training will be offered for adults on Monday, March 29th, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. To register go here: To learn more, email amanda@grassrootscrisis.org to speak with Amanda Ganoe, the sessions’ organizer. The online seminar is free to Howard County residents, employee