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Nonprofit View: Westminster Rescue Mission provides food pantry, recovery program and more

Permit me to offer a Jeopardy game show-style answer in the "Carroll County Non-Profit" category: "This 501c3 organization has served the community for almost 50 years." And the question is: "Who is the Westminster Rescue Mission?"

Based upon my interactions with many local people as the Chair of the WRM Board of Directors, not too many of you answered this Jeopardy-style question correctly. Despite our founding in Westminster in 1968 by Jim Resh, our Mission remains a secret to many in our community. We play a critical social services role by operating an extensive food distribution program, emergency shelter for the homeless and a long-term residential recovery program that serves 25 to 35 men struggling with addiction.

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Here are more facts about WRM that you may not know:

• We distribute about 20,000 pounds of food every week to people in need in Carroll County.

• Over 700 households receive food from our on-site pantry every month.

• We pick up donated food from dozens of local stores and restaurants for re-distribution.

• For four years, we have provided emergency shelter for up to 12 men each night, to alleviate overcrowding at the local Cold Weather Shelter.

• Our addiction recovery program is a nine-month program, and is a real solution to the opioid crisis.

• Since our inception, hundreds of men have graduated from our recovery program; over 35 men have completed our recovery program in the last two years.

• Local businesses hire the men who graduate from our addiction recovery program.

• Our long-term, faith-based, residential recovery program is free of charge.

• We receive no local, state or federal government funds.

• We operate two thrift stores to provide residents opportunities for bargain price shopping. The Mission Store at 28 W. Main St. in Westminster and the Thrift Barn on our main campus at 658 Lucabaugh Mill Road help to fund our operation while at the same time providing a unique shopping experience for local residents.

• Donations of furniture, clothing, household goods, shoes, food and recyclables can be made at our Lucabaugh Mill Road location; we also accept clothing and shoes in the bright blue WRM collection bins located around the county.

• Many local churches faithfully support our mission.

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• The WRM Ladies' Auxiliary sponsors many popular fundraiser events, such as the Ladies' Tea, to support the Mission. You are invited to their 2017 Spring Fashion Show, which will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 22, at Faith Family Church in Finksburg.

Like many nonprofit agencies, we depend on the generosity of our neighbors, local citizens and businesses to help fund our budget to support our neighbors in need. We play a significant role in this community and are thankful for the many volunteers and generous donors who support our good work. Now that you know more about our essential services, we invite you to join our list of volunteers or donor supporters.

For more information, contact Carol Bernstein at cbernstein@westmisnterrescuemission.org or Randy Hart at rhart@westminsterrescuemission.org.

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