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Christ Church Outreach News: March 30, 2023

Salvation Army Gets Aid for Tornado Victims in Mississippi and Alabama

On March 24th, a violent EF4 tornado struck the rural Mississippi Delta region, causing a wide swath of destruction before moving into Alabama. The storm killed at least 25 people, according to a March 25 report on NPR. It was unusually destructive and flattened homes and entire towns in its path. The National Weather Service estimated it traveled 59 miles with a width of three-quarters of a mile and lasted an hour and 10 minutes. Survivors have been devastated. The Salvation Army divisional headquarters for Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana was poised to immediately respond, having a disaster plan in place. Its teams were on the ground by mid-morning on Saturday, “serving hot and shelf-stable meals, water, snacks, and emotional and spiritual care to survivors.”

Christ Church responded rapidly, too. On behalf of parishioners, members of the Outreach Commission voted to contribute $500 to that branch of the Salvation Army to assist in disaster relief efforts. It is the latest in a series of disaster-relief donations, including one earlier this year to help earthquake victims in Syria and Türkiye. These are Vestry-approved funds derived from your pledges and contributions. Heartfelt thanks go out to one and all who make this possible.

Mark Your Calendars: April 22nd Food Drive at Giant Supermarket in Clarksville

Once again, Christ Church will hold a food drive at a local Giant supermarket, resuming a hands-on, much-needed, family-friendly activity that had been halted by the pandemic. The place: River Hill Giant, 6050 Daybreak Circle, Clarksville, MD 21029. The time: Noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 22. The goal: engage shoppers in collecting hundreds of pounds of non-perishable groceries for the Howard County Food Bank and – new this year – for its partner, SAFE Food Pantry.

Here’s how you can help: Consider taking a shift of at least one hour. Bring your kids, too. We could also use your help in planning this popular activity that helps the hungry.

Outreach member Michon Semon is leading the drive, as she has done in years past when Christ Church held food drives at the Palace Giant, the Owen Brown Giant, and the River Hill Giant. But we need volunteers – to plan, participate, and deliver our anticipated haul to the food bank, which is operated by the Community Action Council of Howard County. For information or to respond to our call, please email

The need is great due to the end of federal emergency food assistance tied to the pandemic and inflation. Low-income households struggle to afford the cost of groceries, which is up 11.3 percent. People who are on medically-restricted diets are especially challenged. In Howard County, SAFE provides free gluten-free and allergy-safe foods.

Spread the Word and Plan to Attend an Educational Webinar on Senior Housing

Would you like to learn about a campaign to improve housing choices for seniors in our community? If so, plan to join a webinar on Monday, April 3rd from 7 to 8 p.m. by organizers of the Howard County Housing Affordability Coalition and Age-Friendly Howard County. The topic will address a housing crisis that confronts many seniors who face rising housing costs and a shortage of affordable and or accessible homes in the county. If interested, register through Eventbrite or email

Columbia Community Care Recruits Gardening Volunteers at Kickoff Event on April 8 and Participants in a Spring Fun Run/Walk on April 22

Columbia Community Care (CCC) plans outdoor activities on upcoming weekends. On Saturday, April 8 at 9 a.m., volunteers will meet at the CCC pantry building to help kick off a gardening project. On Saturday, April 22, CCC will hold a Spring Fun Run/Walk starting at 9 a.m. with a kickoff party. Each of these CCC events takes place at the former Columbia Flier building, 10750 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia. Information can be found on the CCC Group on Facebook.

The garden will allow CCC to grow its own healthy produce to better help families in need. In partnership with CCC, the Community Ecology Institute installed a series of raised garden beds. Please come to learn what will be planted and how to help. CCC posted a signup form with slots throughout the year, saying: “We appreciate you lending your gardening expertise.”