Editor’s Note: This story is part of a series running through December and features the six local charities that will benefit from the Holiday Hope 2022 campaign, sponsored by the Carroll County Times and the Kahlert Foundation.
The Shepherd’s Staff, a Carroll County-based nonprofit, says more area residents are seeking help this year due to rising inflation, which has led to higher costs in grocery stores and gas pumps.
“People are really struggling,” said Brenda Meadows, the nonprofit’s executive director. “We are seeing more working families and older people. With inflation rising, many people just can’t get by.
Meadows said seniors who live on monthly Social Security payments find those payments aren’t enough to make ends meet.
“It’s a population that has always wanted to do things themselves,” she says.
The Shepherd’s Staff is a non-denominational Christian outreach and support center with locations in Westminster, Eldersburg and New Windsor. It offers a scholarship, financial aid and medical support, and provides transportation, food and clothing, among other things.
“We’re basically a stopgap for people in crisis,” Meadows said. “We are privately funded, which means we are only supported by the community. We do not receive any county, state or federal donations.
Meadows said that in 2021 the nonprofit had helped 4,500 people, and so far this year the number has grown to more than 5,000. By the end of the year, she expects to have helped 5,500 people.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact fundraising efforts for the organization, located at 30 Carroll St. in Westminster.
“Fundraising is always difficult,” Meadows said. “We are not back to normal yet.”
In 2020, the nonprofit raised $42,066. In 2021, that number has dropped to $28,735.
Meadows said this year the nonprofit hopes to raise what it did before the pandemic, in 2019 — $65,000.
“We can’t do what we do without the community and their support,” she said. “Carroll County is a big community when it comes to giving. We have hundreds of volunteers and we are fortunate to have interactions with the people we serve.
The non-profit organization has one full-time and four part-time employees.
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Shepherd’s Staff are hosting a free Christmas concert for the community at 7pm, December 10, at Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3184 Church St., Manchester. Participants are asked to bring non-perishable food and personal care products, such as toothbrushes, shampoo and soap, as donations.
The organization is also hosting an online event – the Giving Tree – where people can purchase a virtual decoration – star ($250), gifts ($100), ornaments ($50) or lights ($25) – to honor a family member or friend. The link is https://www.shepstaff.org/giving-tree.
The organization again fills the Christmas stockings with gifts that will be given to families with children. To prepare for winter, the association also collects new coats to distribute to children and adults. Larger men’s coats are especially needed, Meadows said.
To participate in Holiday Hope, donate online at tinyurl.com/42hvad5h or write a check payable to one of the organizations below and send it to: Holiday Hope, 332-140 Village Road PM8179, Westminster, MD 21157. Include the form found inside the printed edition of The Carroll County Times to receive a thank you card from the organization.
- Benevolent Carroll
- shepherd’s staff
- Carroll Access
- Carroll County Food Sunday
- Carroll County Social Services
The Holiday Hope campaign provides unrestricted funds that organizations can use in areas that need the most help.
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