CEC Outreach News: October 23, 2020

Support the Diocese of Maryland Sutton Scholars at a Virtual Gala on Oct. 27

The Sutton Scholars® High School Enrichment Program invites you to its first virtual celebration. program for Baltimore City youth, brought to you by the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. An email invitation from the diocese included photos of two of the scholars.

Several participants in the most recent Christ Church “Conversations on Race” asked about ways to improve the lives and educational outcomes of young people in underserved neighborhoods in Baltimore. Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton had asked that same question and, in 2008, directed the Diocese “to identify areas of need among Baltimore City youth that we could help address.” To read about what transpired, you can go to the scholars’ program portion of the Diocese website. Or why not meet some of the young people, at least virtually, to hear their heart-warming, first-person stories? You can do so during the virtual gala. Register here.

The livestreaming event also will include a special guest as Master of Ceremonies; an online silent auction, and entertainment by the Greg Hatza ORGANization jazz band. You can visit the Sutton Scholars Facebook page to learn more and share this event.

Good News: The Somos Amigos Medical Missions Clinic is Open

Despite the restrictions and challenges of the pandemic, the Somos Amigos Medical Missions clinic has found safe ways to serve its patients in a rural, mountainous region of the Dominican Republic. The Outreach Commission has received encouraging reports from the nonprofit organization that many Christ Church parishioners have supported over the years, both in person and through donations.

In ordinary times, several parishioners travel to the Dominican Republic for an October clinic, joining dozens of other volunteers who provide medical and dental services four times a year in collaboration with residents of Naranjito. Members of Christ Church learned about their work and heard stirring success stories as recently as March 8, during the sermon delivered at worship services by Executive Director and CEO Frank Brightwell. He joined parishioner and long-time Somos Amigos volunteer Mary Keath at an adult forum that day.

It was a time before the emerging coronavirus had yet to widely impact the United States and the Caribbean. So much has changed. On Oct. 13th, he sent an email, accompanied by a photo, in which he addressed supporters:

Dear Friends,

Another three months have passed and our lives continue to be shaped by the pandemic. These are difficult times indeed, and we all long for normalcy to return soon.

Even while faced with the challenges brought about by COVID, our commitment to serve our patients is unwavering. Yes, even during the pandemic, they know they can count on us. This week would be the week when we would have a volunteer group at the clinic. But travel remains difficult and is not safe for our volunteers. The U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo continues to advise against travel to the Dominican Republic due to health and safety concerns. As we did in July, once again we have two Dominican physicians working with us for the next three to four weeks. They are joined by a team of several others and, following strict COVID protocols, will see patients by appointment. Today was the first day we welcomed patients, and already we have the next two weeks filled with appointments. Given the state of the pandemic in the U.S. and in the D.R., we know already that we will again not be able to have a volunteer team in the clinic in January. We will ask the same local team to work with us again, and in January we hope to add two local dentists to our team. Perhaps by the time to plan our April trip we can consider having volunteers travel again. As always, we will follow the guidelines of trusted medical organizations. Thank you for your continued support of Somos Amigos.



Somos Amigos has recently posted its 2020 annual report, in which we learn that from July 2019 through January 2020, the clinic had 1,084 unique medical visits and 444 unique dental visits. By April, due to the pandemic’s impact, Somos Amigos had pivoted to telemedicine and on filling and delivering critical prescriptions to more than 260 patients. Read more at: https://somosamigos.org/annual-report-2020/

Howard County Announces $1.5 Million in Rise to the Challenge Nonprofit Grants

On Oct. 15, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced $1.5 million in Rise to the Challenge grants to 40 Howard County nonprofits --many of which you will recognize as among those supported by the Outreach Commission and members of Christ Church. For example, the operations manager of Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, Anna Katz, said, “this funding will support our efforts to shelter vulnerable people during the pandemic and provide them the services they so desperately need.”

The Rise to the Challenge grants are funded through the CARES Act. To learn more and to see the 39 other recipients, read the announcement. The list of nonprofit grant recipients is a good source of information to help broaden our knowledge of needs within the county and the role that various organizations are playing to address these needs.

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 outreach@christchurchcolumbia.org. Your help is greatly welcomed and appreciated. Thank you.

Springfield Hospital Christmas Gifts

We will once again be collecting Christmas gifts for our friends at Springfield Hospital.  This has been a particularly difficult year for them, as they have been unable to have visits due to the pandemic. Though we haven’t been able to make our usual visits, we will be gathering gifts for them to bring a little Christmas Joy.  If you would like to contribute, we have placed a large container in the Tower Room to accept your unwrapped donations, before December 14th.  If that’s inconvenient, please contact Cathy Gold and we will find a way. Heycathy@verizon.net or (410) 440-4178.

DreamBuilders: Save the Dates for our Third Desk Build!

The DreamBuilders’ first two efforts at building portable and foldable desks for students was so successful, and the demand for our desks is so great, we will be hosting a third event in November! As before, we’ll be working on two successive Saturdays - November 7th and 14th. We will be moving our work site inside, to a large warehouse. As before, we will include social distancing, masks, family teams, and other measures to minimize potential exposure to the Coronavirus. We are especially looking for family teams to work the multi-person work stations. Stay tuned to this space for details on registration and location.

October LEMS Committee Update

On October 8th, the Lake Elkhorn Middle School Committee at Christ Church made their second coordinated contribution to the LEMS Weekend Food Program! We plan to continue to provide food for ten families once a month throughout the fall semester, though as with everything, we may need to adjust to changing circumstances and needs. During remote learning, the purchasing, bagging, and delivery is being handled a bit differently than normal, including strict safety precautions. When both LEMS and Christ Church resume normal operations, we look forward to any interested volunteers helping out.

In addition to the Weekend Food Program, this month the LEMS committee is using funds contributed by Christ Church parishioners to purchase 250 additional headphones for LEMS students, to be distributed by the school. The teachers and staff have identified that headphones with microphones are a tremendous help to the students as they continue to attend school using Chromebooks.

You can find more photos on the Christ Church blog, located here. If you have any questions, please contact lemspc@christchurchcolumbia.org. Donations can be made towards future LEMS support online using Realm and listing LEMS in the memo line.