Edward Albert, a Hollywood actor who may be best known for his starring role as a blind man opposite Goldie Hawn in the 1972 movie "Butterflies are Free," said, "The simple act of caring is heroic." That is an apt description of the volunteers who work tirelessly to help the disadvantaged in the northwest corner of Carroll County.
Caring and Sharing Ministries of Northwest Carroll County provides assistance to members of the community who have faced extreme hardships. Member churches include Grace United Church of Christ, St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Messiah Methodist, Taneytown Presbyterian, Emmanuel Baust United Church of Christ, Taneytown Baptist, Nations United Baptist, Piney Creek Church of the Brethren, Keymar Evangelical Wesleyan, and Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Caring and Sharing isn't just an organization helping members of the community. It is also the mindset of local residents who care about their community and share their good fortune with others.
Maryanne Turner, president of Caring and Sharing said: "Taneytown and this area has the highest rate of poverty in Carroll County, but also has the most generous people."
She heard about the Caring and Sharing group through her church.
Caring and Sharing is a standalone nonprofit and because it is run solely by volunteers there is no overhead. Currently the organization has a volunteer base of about 20 people who work within the community to run programs including a food bank, Carpenters Table and Thanksgiving Day meals.
Turner indicated this year there has been an increased need for the services Caring and Sharing provides. The food bank is now serving 73 families.
The Carpenters Table serves 30-60 people each week. Each of the member churches takes a turn providing a hot meal once a week.
This year's Thanksgiving Meal served 55 people and 20 takeout orders. The Taneytown American Legion donated the use of their facilities while Kennie's Markets donated the turkeys. Many people in the community of churches provided assorted pies. Volunteers spent the day before, cooking and again volunteered their time on Thanksgiving to serve the meals.
Additionally, other services were provided to 64 families which included 94 adults and 102 children. The services ranged from helping with electricity bills, eviction prevention, security deposits and restoring water services after shut-off notices.
Local businesses helped out as well. The Cellular Connection helped by holding a food drive and collecting and donating cash. The residents of Carroll Vista, the retirement community in Taneytown also collected items for the food bank.
Community generosity came full circle when Caring and Sharing became the beneficiary of the Taneytown Heritage and Museum's raffle. The Museum sold raffle tickets for a 3-minute shopping spree donated by Kennie's Markets, which was won by the Taneytown Chamber of Commerce who in turn donated the proceeds from the spree to Caring and Sharing.
Turner said "we have been blessed with the support of the Kahlert Foundation." According to their website, "The mission of the Kahlert Foundation is to provide grants to nonprofit organizations to improve the quality of life and well-being in the areas of health care, youth programs, education, veterans and human services."
In the mid-Atlantic region, the foundation's focus is Maryland, Northern Virginia, Southern Pennsylvania and Washington, DC., with a special emphasis on Maryland.
The Ministries' goal is to help as many people as possible with the resources available.
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"The need is great." Turner said.
When asked if the organization has a wish list of items needed, she said, "... a cold weather shelter at this end of the county."
"Though our homeless population is not as large as Westminster, people here do not have the resources to go to Westminster," Turner said.
Cash is always a welcomed and acceptable donation. Cash donations can be mailed to: Caring and Sharing Ministries of Northwest Carroll County, P.O. Box 384, Taneytown, MD 21787.
For more information on Caring and Sharing Ministries of Northwest Carroll County email them at Caringandsharingnw@gmial.com.
For more information on The Kahlert Foundation, visit www.thekahlertfoundation.org/mission.
Gabrielle Schoeffield covers Taneytown, Union Bridge, New Windsor and surrounding areas. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.