The Shepherd’s Staff continued to help families in need even when the pandemic caused the organization to adapt.
Brenda Meadows, the nonprofit’s executive director, said the demand has changed and they are seeing more families using the organization’s services this year, including those who “haven’t had to reach out.”
Shepherd’s Staff is a nondenominational Christian outreach and support center that responds to people in their time of need. They offer fellowship, financial assistance and medical support. And they provide transportation, food and clothes, among other things. According to its website, Shepherd’s Staff helped 4,158 people and 1,794 families in 2020 alone.
The Shepherd’s Staff is one of five beneficiaries of Holiday Hope, the Times’ annual campaign to drive donations to organizations that help those in need in the Carroll County community.
Shepherd’s Staff fundraising efforts have had to change since the pandemic started, Meadows said. Events that were held in person became virtual. However, this year, they were able to shift back to in-person events.
“We’re extremely happy to have Festival of Trees this year in person,” she said.
And the event has evolved, Meadows said, to include “no-tree items” like a framed tree made of jewelry, and other tree-related content. The team of decorators already started for next year.
The nonprofit is a small operation with one full-time staff member and three part-timers.
“Over the past year and a half, we weren’t able to use volunteers,” Meadows said.
However, in the past few months, the organization was able to invite some back. It had 30 to 45 volunteers help with Thanksgiving, where it served 292 meals, and 50 people for the Festival of Trees. Meadows said Shepherd’s Staff could always use more volunteers.
“We’re a family here,” Meadows said. “Everybody just pitches in what we need to get done and their hearts are huge.”
The nonprofit also always needs donations, said Meadows. The organization’s best fundraising year was 2019, when it collected $65,000. Last year, it raised $50,000. She hopes to hit somewhere in between this year.
To participate in this effort, look for the Holiday Hope advertisement inside the print edition of the Carroll County Times or mail a donation to: Carroll County Times; Attn: Holiday Hope; 332-140 Village Road PMB 179; Westminster, MD 21157. When mailing your donation, make checks payable to one of the charities listed:
- Access Carroll
- Carroll County Food Sunday
- BridgingLife (formerly Carroll Hospice)
- Human Services Programs of Carroll County
- The Shepherd’s Staff
The Holiday Hope campaign provides unrestricted funds that organizations can use in areas that need the most assistance.
“It’s difficult to say, to really capture what The Shepherd’s Staff is as an organization,” she said. “We’re an organization that when people hit rock bottom, it’s a place the can go to find some direction.”
She said they are now collecting socks for seniors who are homebound, have been stuffing stockings to donate to children and preparing for their upcoming Empty Bowls event, a fundraiser to help combat hunger, for March 27.