The Shepherd’s Staff is extending its services into New Windsor to provide individuals and their families in need with donations of essential items.
This second satellite location opened at St. Paul United Methodist Church in New Windsor on Wednesday evening to distribute Blessings Closet items. According to a news release from The Shepherd’s Staff, it will be open the second Wednesday of every month, coinciding with the New Windsor Food Bank.
“We saw a need to reach other parts of Carroll County, to make this service more accessible to those not in the downtown Westminster area and who may have limited transportation,” marketing manager Heather Morris said. “Shortly after, we began discussions with Rev. Shari McCourt at St. Paul to expand this service to another remote area of the county through her church in New Windsor.”
The coronavirus pandemic caused the Shepherd’s Staff to delay the opening by a few months, Morris said, but they had been looking forward to the opening, including a ceremony with New Windsor Mayor Neal Roop and members of the congregation.
The Blessings Closet provides in-kind personal care items to Carroll County individuals in need through financial contributions and donations of products such as shampoo, dish detergent, laundry soap, as well as other household and personal care items, according to the release.
Morris said the Blessings Closet originally started in a small jelly cupboard in 1991, and it eventually expanded into a larger pantry as the need for essential items continued to grow in the community. Churches, organizations, companies, and other groups started to hold drives to collect these items for individuals and their families.
The Shepherd’s Staff recently started a Wishlist Wednesday on its Facebook page to help get the word out about specific items to donate. They also created an Amazon Wishlist for Blessings Closet items to provide an opportunity for those who cannot shop locally to still support the organization by making online purchases.
“There has been a consistent need for Blessings Closet items, especially for items that were especially hard to find this summer like toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies,” Morris said. “Our goal is to help provide these items so that individuals can free up funds which can then be used on rent, utilities and other important bills.”
The Shepherd’s Staff is a Christian outreach and support center serving those in need and encouraging pathways to self-sufficiency. The Westminster location hours of operation are Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment only.
The nonprofit opened its first satellite office at Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church in Eldersburg in September 2019. Morris said more individuals and other local organizations donate items every year, increasing the amount of items that get distributed to families.
Things such as toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning supplies have been in higher demand lately due to supply in stores being limited during the pandemic, Morris said. Those in need of supplies are encouraged to come once a month to receive up to six items.
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“It means everything to be a part of this wonderful program that has been serving the community for so long,” McCourt said. “We hope to spread the ‘blessings’ to an even larger part of the community as we expand this service with the opening of this satellite office in New Windsor.”