Brenda Meadows is the executive director of The Shepherd's Staff.
Brenda Meadows is the executive director of The Shepherd's Staff. (Phil Grout / For Carroll County Times)

When my son was very young and just learning his independence, one of his favorite phrases was, “I can do it myself.”

As I reflect back on those times I often wonder if that was a learned behavior, for I’ve always had difficulty asking for help. That being said, I find myself in a unique position. I was called into the nonprofit sector, where daily we must ask for the communities help.

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At The Shepherd’s Staff we ask for prayers; we ask for in-kind donations like back-to-school supplies and coats to distribute to the community; we ask for community support for our programs like our upcoming Thanksgiving Day Dinner, and for sponsoring and attending our events like our upcoming Festival of Trees fundraiser in November; we ask for volunteers; but the hardest ask for me is the ask for funds. Nevertheless, without reaching out to the community for funds, this organization would not exist. We would not be able to share the love of Christ and serve our neighbors on your behalf without you.

This is exemplified in many ways, most recently the opening of our satellite location at Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church — a true example of community partnership. It is our joint hope that we will be able to meet folks where they are in South Carroll, working in tandem with other organizations like ESCAPE Ministries to avoid duplication of services and resources. Thus, saving our guests the travel expenses to Westminster and helping to alleviate their having to take valuable time away from work to seek assistance and, in turn, saving them loss of wages and, in some cases, the risk of job loss because of time away seeking necessary and much-needed services.

So for today, as difficult as it is, here is my ask.

This is the time of year that your support is most critical. Yes, as always, we need your prayers, your in-kind donations and your support of our events, but we are now experiencing the slowest time of the year for financial donations. As with most nonprofits, the bulk of funding comes in during the last quarter of the year, with one statistic going so far as to state that 12% of all giving happens in the last 3 days of the year. For us that means we know going into the year that we have to budget those funds to get us through the beginning and mid-year slump. This is particularly true this year as we expand our services to the South Carroll area, because with it the need for additional funding has grown.

So as we move into the fall and winter months please search your heart for ways to help The Shepherd’s Staff help the community — your community.

I’ll leave you with this note from a guest: “The Shepherd’s Staff has absolutely, positively made a difference in my life…[when] I come to The Shepherd’s Staff the people greet me with a smile and kindness. I always leave happier and know that I am important.”

Thank you for all you do to make our little corner of the world a better place.

Grace and peace,

Brenda

Brenda Meadows is executive director of The Shepherd’s Staff.

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