xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Meeting to address replacement for holiday charity program

St. John Catholic Church in Westminster will host the first meeting on replacing the Human Services Programs of Carroll County Inc.'s Neighbors in Need Holiday Program at 9 a.m. on Thursday. The meeting is free and open to anyone interested in helping to organize an effort to provide families in need with gifts around Christmastime in December 2015, according to Cathy Mitzel, a volunteer with the St. Vincent de Paul Society chapter at St. John Catholic Church.

"I have heard that the Salvation Army is coming, several of the churches in Westminster and, of course, people from St. Vincent de Paul will be coming," Mitzel said. "Someone from Head Start said they are coming, so I think there are groups that are coming that have helped families in the past, and I think they are groups that know of people that need help that have not been helped."

Advertisement

The impetus for the meeting, according to Mitzel, was the announcement by HSP in October that it would cancel its Neighbors in Need Holiday Program after the 2014 holiday season. During the more than 30 years HSP ran the operation, the nonprofit would identify families in need and match them with people or groups that would "adopt" each family for the holidays, purchasing gift items and necessities for each member of the household.

Over the years, the holiday program had begun to strain HSP's limited resources, according to Executive Director Cindy Parr, making it difficult for the nonprofit to focus on its core mission of helping families meet basic needs such as housing, water and electric costs.

Advertisement

St. Vincent de Paul is one of the largest groups that would adopt families through HSP's holiday program, according to Mitzel, and the chapter hopes to find some organization or coalition that will step in to fill the role vacated by HSP. The chapter, she said, would prefer to continue adopting families rather than taking on the administrative task of identifying families in need and matching them with donors.

"We're concerned that if we don't find somebody early to take on what HSP did, next year we will be floundering," Mitzel said. "I don't want any child to not celebrate Christmas."

Reach staff writer Jon Kelvey at 410-857-3317 or jon.kelvey@carrollcountytimes.com.

If you go

What: Community meeting on 2015 Neighbors in Need Holiday Program

When: 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 8

Where: St. John Catholic Church, 43 Monroe St., Westminster

Cost: Free

For more information, contact Cathy Mitzel at 410-374-8777.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement