Shelter and Food Provided to Neighbors in Need

The Messenger
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The Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center’s Cold Weather Shelter (CWS) provided housing and three meals a day to local residents in need over the cold winter months. This program is administered in partnership with faith communities and the Howard County Government.

For the 19th consecutive year, Glen Mar participated in this partnership. In 2022, Glen Mar provided breakfast, lunch, and dinner January 31 through February 7. Glen Mar’s hospitality extended to 40 guests, including 20 children, a much larger number of young ones than in previous years.

The county paid for 20 hotel rooms while numerous faith communities provided meals a week or two at a time from late November to early April.

Officially, 52 Glen Mar volunteers pitched in to buy food, prepare meals and deliver these items to the hotel and guests’ rooms. The volunteer effort is actually larger than 52 for two reasons. First, if a volunteer served in more than one capacity, that person was counted only once. Second, a group, such as a Scout troop or Bible study class, was counted only as one. “The volunteers were essential,” said Joan Marshall who spearheaded Glen Mar’s portion of the CWS and could not have been happier with the volunteer response. “There’s no way we could do this without them.”

Pastor Heerak Kim was also a valuable asset. “He was everywhere we needed him to be,” praised Joan.

In addition to Marshall, our church’s CWS Planning Team included Kate Beall, Betty Pearson, Eileen and Jeff Sturgill, and Alison Zuzak. Other Glen Mar folks donated much needed funds to help with expenses that volunteers did not cover.

This was the second consecutive year that CWS guests were housed in a hotel due to the coronavirus. Previously, guests were housed in faith communities’ facilities. There, faith communities not only provided meals, but also transportation, laundry services, entertainment, and overnight hosts. When the CWS is housed in a hotel, volunteers for these services are not needed, but last season Glen Mar provided $175 for guests’ laundry expenses.

Grassroots, which operates a 24-hour crisis hotline and walk-in counseling program, is the first point of contact for homeless services in Howard County. It offers a 33-bed emergency family shelter, an 18-bed men’s shelter, and limited motel accommodations. When Grassroots’ facilities are stretched to the limit, the CWS provides overflow shelter for 17 weeks a year.

Grassroots CWS Manager Kathy Piet told Glen Mar’s Planning Team that if Glen Mar wanted to do more it could help guests obtain stable housing. To that end, $1,000 of Glen Mar’s CWS funds were donated to help with car repairs so guests can get to their jobs and remain employed, which is an essential step toward finding permanent housing.

More people are needed on the CWS Planning Team for next year. If interested, email the Cold Weather Shelter team.

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