The Shepherd's Staff has partnered with the Westminster Rescue Mission on the former's back-to-school program this summer.
For years, The Shepherd's Staff has distributed school supplies and other items to registered families at the nonprofit's 30 Carroll St. location in Westminster. But this year, according to Executive Director Brenda Meadows, some of the items will be distributed from the Westminster Rescue Mission, at 658 Lucabaugh Mill Road, as well.
"In addition to the filled backpacks and the other things the families get when they come through," she said, "we give out additional pieces such as gift certificates for Payless Shoes and clothes that are distributed at the mission."
Distribution of the back to school supplies has already begun and will continue until Monday, Aug. 21. Although the extended deadline for families hoping to receive supplies had already passed, Meadows said generous donations have made it possible to continue offering late registration for families that might have missed the earlier opportunity.
Those interested should visit The Shepherd's Staff in person, she said.
"When they come in they fill out a form and we give them a time to come back," Meadows said. "We're in a good place right now as far as donations go, so my gut feeling is there will be an adequate supply for folks coming in."
The clothing distribution portion of the back to school program had been run out of a clothing shed at The Shepherd's Staff location for many years, Meadows said.
"The program has just expanded quite a bit and it addition to that the clothing shed is not air conditioned, it's not well lit," she said. "Generally in the summertime it's extremely hot and humid and uncomfortable."
Looking to improve the client experience, The Shepherd's Staff had partnered with the Salvation Army beginning three years ago, but with the success of the Salvation Army's Brass Hat Cafe, Meadows said, it made sense logistically to seek new accommodations for the back to school program.
"We reached out to the mission and built a partnership, which has really been great because there have been folks coming in for the back to school clothing distribution piece that weren't aware of some of the things the mission was doing and vice versa," she said. "It's been quite a wonderful opportunity for both organizations."
The Shepherd's Staff could also use volunteers during the week to help distribute back to school items. Those interested in volunteering should call Karen Rau at 410-857-5944.
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