Columbia Community Care Overcomes a Shortfall – with Help from Christ Church – and Recruits Volunteers for Gardening and Other Tasks
Facing high demand from Howard County families in need, Columbia Community Care (CCC) has overcome several recent setbacks, in part with help from Christ Church. CCC is planning a community-wide event in June and is calling for volunteers, including gardeners and translators. Information can be found on the CCC Group on Facebook.
In early May, CCC was awaiting grant funding and had to suspend home delivery of groceries to individuals and families who lack transportation. But leaders announced this week that they are able to resume as of Friday, May 12. They also put out a call for volunteer translators, who help coordinate the food drop-offs to non-English speaking recipients. To sign up as a translator, which can be done from home, or as a sorter at the pantry, go online to “I Can Help” and look for links under “Delivery Volunteer Opportunities.”
The need is great due to inflation and the end of federal pandemic food assistance to those in poverty. CCC also helps struggling families whose earnings are above the poverty line. This group is described by United Way and others as “ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed).” CCC Executive Director Erika Strauss Chavarria posted last week that 23 percent of Howard County families are considered as “ALICE” residents who struggle to make ends meet.
The Outreach Commission recently approved a donation to CCC to help meet demand. Christ Church sent $500 for grocery purchases, which were distributed last weekend at CCC sites (see photos). The Vestry-approved funds are derived from parishioners’ pledges and contributions, so please accept warm thanks for your support.
CCC’s upcoming event is a “Free-For-All” version of a flea market to be held on Sunday, June 4 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Given the conflict with Sunday morning worship, why not attend the 8 a.m. service or delegate a neighbor to handle your unwanted merchandise? Pass along the CCC instructions: “Please bring your free items, your own table and chair, or sign up for a parking space and open your trunk.” Participants also are asked to donate non-perishable food or personal hygiene items. The location is the CCC pantry, which is the former Columbia Flier building, 10750 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia.
The gardening project is at the same address. The goal is to allow CCC to grow its own healthy produce to better help families in need. In a partnership with CCC, the Community Ecology Institute installed a series of raised garden beds. CCC recently asked for more people to use its signup form, which has slots open from Saturday, May 13 throughout the year. Tasks include “watering, weeding, checking for critter activity, planting, harvesting, and anything else that needs to be done at the garden.”
CCC announced that its three distribution sites will be closed on Saturday, May 27, which is Memorial Day weekend. But more volunteers are needed on Saturdays before and after that. Free groceries, produce, baby supplies, and household essentials are distributed at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Rd.; Long Reach Village Center, Suite 9, 8775 Cloudleap Ct., and at The Barn in Oakland Mills Village Center, 5851 Robert Oliver Place, all in Columbia.
Recipients are welcomed on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon, or when supplies run out, and volunteers are encouraged to register for their slots at each location. Those shifts last from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Signups for volunteers are posted through the end of the year for each site: Wilde Lake, Long Reach, and Oakland Mills.
At Christ Church, Leigh Smith is our representative who takes parishioners’ donated items to CCC. Please continue your support by collecting diapers, baby wipes, sanitary and personal care items and adult diapers. Put them in the yellow bin, marked “CCC,” inside the Parish Hall on weekdays when the church office is open or on Sunday.
Celebrate Wellness, and Help Support DreamBuilders
Temple Isaiah, our partner in DreamBuilders, is inviting us to join in their MatzohBall Run on June 4th. It’s a fundraiser, whose profits go to help support DreamBuilders, Grassroots, and HopeWorks. In addition to the family fun run/walk, there will be health screenings, wellness booths, and plenty of events to entertain. Please visit the MatzohBall Run link above, or read all of the details on the Christ Church website.
Baltimore Area Aftercare Program
Thank you to everyone who donated items/money to the Baltimore Area Aftercare Program (BAAP). BAAP is supporting three women who will soon be released from prison and rejoining society. This will be our last week collecting items at Christ Church. The SignUp Genius link with requested items can be found here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0C4EA8A92DAAFFC70-april. Please bring any donations to Deacon Denise or Diane Phillips LaGuerre by this Sunday, May 14th, so we can get them to the program coordinator.
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 email@example.com. Your help is greatly welcomed and appreciated. Thank you.