What a Haul! The Christ Church April 22nd Food Drive at River Hill Giant Supermarket Brings In More Than a Half Ton of Food for Two Howard County Pantries
Volunteers at the Christ Church Food Drive last Saturday were so enthusiastic and persuasive that shoppers couldn’t help but respond. They accepted our suggested grocery lists and disappeared into River Hill Giant supermarket, returning later with hundreds of canned goods, boxes of cereal and pasta, and more. Some items were, as requested, gluten-free and allergy-safe while others were typical staples like peanut butter and hearty soups.
The collection for the Howard County Food Bank more than filled the bed of the Knox family’s pickup truck and produced an astounding number upon weigh-in: 1,268 pounds. That's more than half a ton!
This drive was the first since 2019, a tradition that was interrupted by the arrival of the pandemic in 2020. Its resumption was as heart-warming as in years past, as more than 20 volunteers took shifts of at least an hour. Some chose to stay from noon until 4 p.m. Once again, the drive was multi-generational, with several family groups and a range of volunteers from elementary-school age to grandparents.
It was clear we were doing God’s work: volunteers wore Christ Church t-shirts or aprons and offered participants a reusable shopping bag that displayed Old Brick and contact information.
Some people who declined to shop for items instead gave cash donations, ranging from $1 to $50. A parishioner on Sunday added a $50 donation, making possible a contribution of at least $251 to the Community Action Council of Howard County (CAC), which operates the Food Bank.
The need is great due to inflation and the end of federal emergency food assistance tied to the pandemic. Besides organizing the Food Drive, the Outreach Commission at its April meeting took additional steps to help meet the soaring demand. Christ Church donated $1,100 to CAC, which pays for one week’s worth of milk and eggs at the Howard County Food Bank. These are Vestry-approved funds derived from parishioners’ pledges and contributions. Please accept warm thanks for your support.
New to the Food Drive was a push for items for CAC’s partner, SAFE Food Pantry (SAFE), which provides gluten-free and allergy-safe foods to those who can least afford them. “Thanks to Christ Episcopal Church’s advocacy, you collected 129 pounds of gluten-free and allergy-friendly food for our clients. We are most grateful for your continued support!” wrote SAFE Executive Director Tiffany Holtzman in an email.
Low-income households struggle, especially those buying groceries to meet dietary restrictions. In Howard County, SAFE partners with Grace Episcopal Church and with Christ Church as sites for its county-wide donation bins. Ours is near the rear of the Parish Hall; feel free to drop off eligible food items such as products bearing a “gluten-free” icon.
If you wish to help feed the hungry in Howard County by adding your own monetary donation, put Food Bank or SAFE on the memo line of your check or online using Realm. For information, please email email@example.com.
Baltimore Area Aftercare Program
As a community of those who follow the way of Jesus and his teachings, Christ Church commits to reaching out in multiple ways to serve people on the margins. We seek to meet the needs of others in broad and various walks of life. We help those who’ve lost a way to navigate safety under trying circumstances, such as the Afghan refugee family we sponsor. And we help people with little-to-no resources due to treacherous storms and weather, like those in Kentucky and Puerto Rico. We do not judge others as to what things they could have done differently to avoid their circumstances. Instead, we reach out time and again, as Christians who put our love of Christ before anyone or anything else.
With this same vigor, we can serve those returning home from prison. Those who’ve lost connection with family, those who need help with basic items such as a toothbrush and a little cash in hand. Those who may not qualify for social services because they stand judged by the history of who they’d been and what they’d done—instead of whom they have become. Christ Church can proudly say we minister to incarcerated individuals. In spite of the stringent limitations placed not only on inmates but on visitors, our own Kathy Lyon still finds a way to provide wonderful art classes to inmates at a pre-release center in Maryland. We also give some financial support to another organization to provide spiritual reading materials for inmates. These comforts can keep an inmate hopeful about the future, by just knowing someone cares.
Now it's time to help care for those recently released, or soon to be released, from prison into society. Let's help them see a new way of life and give them a chance to walk a new path. Such a program exists under the leadership of Deacon Les Roberts, also known as Brother Les. Brother Les leads the Baltimore Area Aftercare Program (BAAP). This program serves individuals who’ve been recently released from jails or prisons, by providing basic toiletry items and clothing. BAAP needs our help! All we have to do is donate one or more of the basic items requested. The SignUpGenius link with those items is at - https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0C4EA8A92DAAFFC70-april.
Thank you for your commitment to serving those on the margins!
Columbia Community Care Requests Diapers, Personal Care Items
Please continue supporting Columbia Community Care (CCC) by giving essentials and with your time and talent. Please look for updates, such as requests for volunteers, posted in the CCC Facebook Group or on the “I Can Help” portion of its website. Please keep collecting diapers, baby wipes, sanitary and personal care items, and adult diapers. Put items in the yellow bin, marked “CCC,” inside the Parish Hall. Drop off items on weekdays when the church office is open or on Sundays. Our point of contact is Leigh Smith, who delivers the contents of the bin.
Donate Snacks, Crackers, and Cookies to FISH in Bin on our Breezeway
Organizers for FISH of Howard County are continuing to ask for cookies, crackers, and snacks to fulfill their shopping lists. The yellow bin is back in its spot between Old Brick and the Parish Hall. Thanks for your contributions to our neighbors in need.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Your help is greatly welcomed and appreciated. Thank you.