Save the Dates-- Oct. 19 and Nov. 16-- to Help Feed the Hungry at Grassroots
On Monday, Oct. 19, Christ Church once again will provide the evening meal at Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, where 50 people at its live-in facility on Freetown Road are no doubt anticipating a menu of fried chicken, side dishes, and tasty desserts. Co-coordinator Nancy Winchester will be at Old Brick at 3:30 p.m., when volunteers may drop off their contributions safely in the parking lot. Please wear masks and plan to practice social distancing. During the months of the pandemic, this rendezvous has become routine (see photos). Nancy acquires the chicken at Weis, meets the other volunteers as they drive up to Old Brick, and then transports the items to Freetown Road for handoff to the staff of Grassroots. A generous donation of $200 from the Women of Christ Church is helping to pay for the chicken.
Christ Church has also claimed the slot for the third Monday next month, which means we’ll be providing the Grassroots evening meal on Nov. 16. Please mark your calendars. Additional volunteers -- and the resulting side dishes, desserts, fruit, and granola bars -- are welcome next week and next month.
On their own, parishioners at Christ Church have signed up to provide the evening meal on several evenings this month for the 50 adults and children. Consider pitching in, by picking a date during the remainder of October or during November to provide an entree and side dishes. Grassroots encourages an order of six pizzas -- two with cheese and four with meat (any kind), or rotisserie chickens (12 to make a meal, plus sides), but discourages lasagna or other pasta entrees. Another welcome option is takeout from restaurants to help the workforce. Here is a link to the sign-up list maintained by Grassroots.
Meanwhile, the Dorsey/Rt. 1 Day Resource Center remains closed due to the coronavirus, except for curbside distribution of non-perishables.
Multiple Ways to Aid the Less Fortunate in Howard County
You’ll recall that on a sunny fall day, slightly more than a year ago, Christ Church held one of its periodic food drives to collect non-perishables for the Howard County Food Bank. How could we imagine then that our string of successful drives at Giant supermarkets would be interrupted by a pandemic! Alas, like so many things, these drives cannot resume until 2021. Instead, we invite you to do two things.
The first is to recall the year-ago outing, when we collected 953 pounds of food and $192 in cash on Sept. 28, 2019, from shoppers at the Palace Giant. While reflecting on the camaraderie and accomplishments of that drive and the people who - then and now - need our help, please take heart that opportunities to work together in hands-on outreach will come again.
The second is to consider responding to the county government’s Fall Food Drive. On Oct. 17th from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., the Department of Recreation & Parks will host the drive at its headquarters, 7120 Oakland Mills Road. Items will be donated to the Community Action Council’s Food Assistance Program at the Howard County Food Bank. Right now, it is in need of a list of items that may sound familiar to all of you apron-wearing veterans of the Christ Church in-person drives. Here’s the Food Bank’s current list: canned and dried fruit, hot and cold cereal; soup; pasta and pasta sauce; tuna; 100 percent fruit juice; baby food; diapers and wipes; peanut butter; canned beans (pinto, kidney, and black); and low-sodium canned vegetables. For questions or more information, the county suggests that you email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to obtain food availability information not related to the drive, the county offers a food aid map (click here) as an online resource of distribution sites. It is updated at least weekly, in cooperation with Howard County Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD).
Columbia Community Care Settles Into Two-Days-A-Week Routine
Providing food and other necessities for neighbors in need, Columbia Community Care (CCC), has consolidated operations to three sites, which welcome drop-off donations during operating hours. They are Swansfield Elementary School; Oakland Mills Middle School, and Howard High School. The times are Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m. (CCC volunteers report at 4 p.m.) and Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (CCC volunteers report at 9:30 a.m.) In addition to staffing a site, volunteers can sign up on Facebook to perform duties to meet the needs of people without transportation. “Translator/dispatchers” coordinate lists of items for specific families and communicate by text message to arrange the contactless deliveries; “Shoppers,” who use cellphones to receive the texts, go to special pantries that have been established at two participating churches and assemble the items to fulfill each shopping list, and then deliver the goods to the assigned addresses. Several parishioners have volunteered in various capacities or donated to CCC. This ad-hoc group formed last spring in response to the coronavirus impact, which has especially hard hit the county’s low-income residents. Here’s a recent article about CCC that appeared in The Baltimore Sun last month.
For those of you who wish to drop off non-perishable food items, diapers, or personal care products in CCC-marked donation bins, you can do so at one of the two churches: Bethel Korean Presbyterian Church, 3165 St. Johns Lane in Ellicott City or New Hope Church,12350 Hall Shop Rd. in Fulton, or at these participating businesses: Bonheur Patisserie & Deli, 7106 Minstrel Way; Philly’s Best, 5134 Thunder Hill Rd., and LA Mart, 5865 Robert Oliver Place, all in Columbia.
For anyone who has suggestions about ways to help the community or want to get involved, please email Christ Church Outreach at email@example.com. Your help is greatly welcomed and appreciated. Thank you.