Mt. Zion United Methodist Church starts a food pantry [Elkridge]

Carol Hill, a parishioner at Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Highland, has started a food pantry at Mount Zion called Open Doors, which is due to open Saturday, July 20. Hill would like to get the word out, so that if anyone is in need, they will know where to find help.

According to Hill, "The Open Doors Food Pantry will operate every third Saturday of the month, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Registration is from 10 a.m. to noon; no one will be turned away (a valid driver's license or ID card is required). The Open Doors Food Pantry is open to everyone no matter what race, religion or sexual preference. The food pantry will supplement the Route 1 meals and the sandwich-making mission Mt. Zion provides each month."

Hill adds, "Folks can help in many ways. All loose change put in the offering plate each Sunday will go towards buying additional food to supplement that which is received from the Howard County Food Bank. Or, you can write a check out to Mt. Zion UMC, and put 'food pantry' in the memo line.

"In the seven surrounding schools to our church, there are about 500-plus families that receive reduced or free meals each day. This number is probably higher because kids in high school don't want to be known as being associated with this program, so they just go hungry.

"The poverty level in Highland is 6.7 percent and only 1 percent less than all of Columbia. There is so much need in our communities. Please help in any way you can."

Mount Zion has a list of volunteer opportunities. You can contact them at

In keeping the homeless and hungry on your radar screens like Mount Zion UMC, remember that Green Valley has a commitment to the Elkridge Food Pantry and the Route 1 Homeless Day Center, as well. Baked goods, meat and dairy items are being donated several times a week by the store.

Support the food pantry by adding your own nonperishable donations to the collection box located in front of the registers. The Elkridge and Hanover corner of Howard County continues to be a wonderful, caring place to live, and Green Valley is a wonderful partner to this community we know and love.

There have been some recent changes to the worship schedule at Grace Episcopal Church. Sundays at 7:30 a.m., the Holy Eucharist service will be held at the historic stone church on Main Street; at 10 a.m., services will be held in the parish hall (which includes a separate children's chapel) at the corner of Montgomery and Landing roads. At 11 a.m. following those services, you can enjoy coffee and juice fellowship in the hall.

Wednesdays at 10 a.m. will feature a traditional Holy Eucharist at the old Main Street church, which will also include a healing service, followed by a coffee fellowship. Transportation will be provided as needed.

On Thursdays at 7:30 a.m., join Grace parishioners for an informal Eucharist at the Parish House Conference Room, which includes a Bible study and a breakfast fellowship.

Also, the Grace Church Childcare Center has openings for the summer and fall. For more information, contact Kim at 410-796-4561.

Elkridge could use someone to tackle a "BEAST of a project" (Beautify Elkridge — Abolish Street Trash) that I've noted in this space before. The Elkridge Kiwanis Club used to handle litter patrol on Washington Boulevard from Interstate 95 to the heart of Elkridge.

Connie Bauman, a longtime resident of Elkridge, gently reminds me of how the Kiwanians worked hard to "keep Elkridge beautiful" but, as she put it, "We all got too old and now no one does it." So, for the sake of keeping this part of our America beautiful, if your group, organization, business, club, civic group, sports team, or group of high school or college kids want to make a difference in their own backyard, please step up and take on this project. If there is anyone willing to take on the BEAST, let me know about it, so we can note your contributions in this column.

If you've got news or upcoming events, kudos or any other notables to share, don't be shy! I'd love to hear about it.

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