Share Your Blessings: How you can help those in need in Howard County

Each season, we encourage readers to “share your blessings” with those in need.

Throughout the area, there are dozens of local nonprofit groups who are committed to serving those in need.


These groups can always use our help. Here is a listing of local helping organizations seeking donations of either money, items or both. In this season of giving and Thanksgiving, please share your blessings, by giving to those less fortunate.



Animal Advocates of Howard County is a nonprofit dedicated to helping animals. They support and assist county-run shelter with adoptions, rescue and medical assistance, and provide free and reduced-cost spay and neuter programs as well as educational programs. 410-880-2488, ext. 3, or aadvocates@hotmail.com or animal-advocates.org.

Wish list: Gift cards for veterinary services at vets who participate in the programs, gift cards from stores that don’t sell pets and adopters who will consider older pets or those with special needs.

The Arc of Howard County helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve full community life — one person at a time. 410-730-0638 or archoward.org.

Wish list: A variety of gift cards for Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, Walmart and Costco; gift cards and tickets for movies, bowling, restaurants, sporting events, performing arts and community events; arts and craft supplies, markers, scissors, card stock, construction paper and modeling clay; cards and card games; 100-piece (or less) puzzles; new math activity books; composition books; new ballpoint pens; household items, such as TVs, Android tablets, vacuum cleaners, new sheet sets for all sizes, portable CD and radio players, laundry soap and books for young adults.


Better Bedrest is a telephone support group for women placed on bed rest due to high-risk pregnancies and offers one-time emergency grants to help pay a small bill. 410-740-7662 or betterbedrest.org.

Wish list: Donations to the BBR Emergency Grant Fund to help a mom with a high-risk pregnancy pay a bill up to $500. Donations can be sent to Better Bedrest, P.O. Box 212, Savage, MD 20763, or betterbedrest.org. All donations are tax deductible.

Bread of Life Food Pantry provides food and toiletry items, as well as clothing items when available, to people in need within the community. First Baptist Church of Savage, 8901 Washington St. 301-725-3944.

Wish list: Nonperishable food donations including breakfast cereal and peanut butter and toiletry items can be dropped off at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays at the pantry at the back of the church building. Call the church office to arrange a special drop-off time.

The Community Knitting and Crochet Group of Howard County has for 20 years knitted and crocheted afghans, blankets, hats, scarves and baby wear for many charities, hospitals and nursing homes. Howard County Recreation and Parks, 7120 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia, MD 21046. To arrange a donation, contact Anna Hunter at 410-313-4686 or howardcountymd.gov.

Wish list: Acrylic yarn, suitable for baby hats and blankets and adult hats and scarves; and red, white and blue veterans blankets. No wool or cotton.

Columbia Pregnancy Center is a crisis pregnancy center offering counseling, resource services, practical support and confidentiality at no cost. 410-730-3223 or columbia-pregnancy.org.

Wish list: Sizes 4 and 5 diapers, receiving blankets, pacifiers and new newborn outfits for sizes ages 0 to 6 months.

FIRN is a nonprofit that helps the foreign-born community in Howard County with immigration counseling, information and referral, social services and consumer needs. 410-992-1923 or firnonline.org.

Wish list: Donors to “adopt” families in need by providing gift cards or gifts for clients. Toiletries for emergency food bank, including, laundry detergent, paper towels, shampoo, soap, toilet paper, toothpaste and soap.

Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center provides shelter to homeless individuals and families, along with crisis intervention services. 410-531-6006.

Wish list: Gift cards for Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Amazon and Giant; new pillows and blankets; new toys for children ages 2-13; heavy winter gloves and laundry pods.

The Grassroots Day Resource Center serves the precariously housed population along the Route 1 corridor and beyond. Open three days a week, services include a hot meal, showers, laundry, Internet, social services, free medical clinic, a food pantry and clothes closet. Donations are gratefully accepted during center hours: 2 to 6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. 301-776-9900 or daycenter.org.

Wish list: Canned fruit, canned chili, canned meats and fish, chicken, Spam, Vienna sausages, ham and salmon; Chef Boyardee and Chunky or Progresso soups; gently used or new men’s jeans sizes 28-34; gently used or new men’s hiking boots sizes 8-10.5; blankets; travel-sized toothpaste and tissues; gently used or new pullover sweatshirts all sizes; cases of 20-ounce bottles of water; deodorant travel size or regular; and women’s jeans all sizes, gently used or new. They also are hoping for a few service groups to provide a meal on a regular schedule or individuals to drive the van.

Hope Works (The Domestic Violence Center) provides services to women, men and children affected by intimate partner violence and sexual assault in Howard County. 410-997-0304 or mgreene@wearehopeworks.org.

Wish list: $25 gas cards, grocery cards and Target and Walmart gift cards; lotion, toothpaste, cleaning items, all-purpose cleaner and latex and non-latex cleaning gloves; Clorox wipes, laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, gallon freezer bags, diapers in sizes four and five and wipes; pop-top canned goods, pasta and sauce, peanut butter, jelly, Ramen noodles, pancake mix, maple syrup, juice boxes, salad dressing, ketchup, brown and white sugar; flour, crackers in individual packs and granola; Ibuprofen, Tylenol, daytime and nighttime aspirin, cough drops, cough syrup, cold and allergy medicine without alcohol, Pepto Bismol and vitamins; nasal strips, Band-Aids, antacid, antibiotic ointment and aloe; new undergarments for men, women and children; and batteries of all sizes.

The Howard County Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental education center and land trust, educates children and adults about our natural world, preserves the land and its legacy for future generations and models responsible stewardship of our environment. 410-465-8877 or hcconservancy.org.

Wish list: Bath and hand towels; picnic blankets; bird seed; new 5 gallon buckets; gently used shovels and rakes, computer monitors (19 inch or larger). Monetary donations also accepted.


Howard County Office on Aging and Independence/Project Holiday provides gifts and a visit to low-income seniors who have no family. Many of the seniors they serve will be alone during the holiday season, receiving no gifts, no cards and no acknowledgment.


Wish list: New donated items for low-income seniors who reside in assisted living facilities and in the community. The office of children and families is also collecting gift items, including books and toys for families in need with children ages 0 to 5. The wish list for the adults and children includes body lotion, body wash, books, deodorant, hair brushes, hair conditioner, scarves, shampoo, shaving cream, slipper socks, socks, toothbrushes, toothpaste, toiletry gift sets, throw blankets and toys for ages 0 to 5.

The Jewish Federation of Howard County is a community-driven organization committed to taking care of the needs of Jewish people and building a vibrant Jewish future in Howard County, in Israel, and around the world. 410-730-4976 or jewishhowardcounty.org.

Wish list: Gift cards to Giant, Safeway, Target and gas stations or make a donation at jewishhowardcounty.org.

Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland has provided nutritious meals to homebound individuals since 1960. 410-558-0827 or www.mealsonwheelsmd.org.

Wish list: Volunteers to deliver meals in your area once a week at 11 a.m. Monday through Friday, grocery shop for a client twice a month, call or visit a client regularly or pack meals at the main office weekday or Saturday mornings. Donations include adult diapers (pull-ups: sizes M, L, and XL, not tabbed), anti-bacterial liquid soap, adult wipes/towelettes, deodorant, body lotion, tissues, shampoo, comb/hairbrush, toothbrush/toothpaste, back-Up boxes, boost or ensure (plain, vanilla and chocolate), canned goods (corn, beans, stew, fruit, etc.), canned chicken, tuna or salmon, crackers/cheese crackers, peanut butter/peanut butter crackers, cereal, single servings of fruit cups/applesauce, dishwashing liquid, paper towels, laundry detergent, toilet paper, cleaning wipes, dish towels, flash lights and non-skid socks.

Neighbor Ride is a volunteer-based transportation service that helps Howard County senior citizens stay active, independent and connected to the community. 410-884-7433 or neighborride.org.

Wish list: Volunteer drivers who like a very flexible schedule, who enjoy making an impact interacting one-on-one with seniors and who can do three rides a month.

On Our Own of Howard County is a wellness and recovery service center providing peer support services to people with mental illness in any form in Howard County. 410-772-7905 or howard.md.networkofcare.org.

Wish list: Paper products, such as toilet tissue, paper towels and toiletries, like toothpaste, deodorant and body wash; art supplies of beads, woodcraft sets, paint and brushes; nonperishable food items, including canned goods, dry goods and canned meats; bottles of water; tablecloths; drawing pads; and colored pencils.

One Month’s Rent pays one month’s rent or security deposits for low-wage earners in Howard County who are threatened with losing their housing to a personal, economic or medical crisis.

Wish list: The One Month’s Rent Initiative works with the Community Action Council to help hundreds of families. All donations go directly to families and help them maintain housing. Monetary donations can be a check made out to Community Action Council with a note for OMR and mailed to P.O Box 2153, Columbia, MD 21045. Online donations can be made when you follow the instructions on the website: onemonthsrent.org.

Winter Growth Inc. provides community-based services for seniors and disabled adults with assisted living, medical day programs and respite care designed to support independence, enhance self-esteem and promote the dignity of each individual. 410-964-9616 or wintergrowthinc.org.

Wish list: Heart to Heart volunteers for an hour or two, one-hour orientation program; small holiday gifts for men and women; Depends (adult pull-ups); personal care items including toothbrushes, toothpaste, non-perfumed lotions, razors, shaving cream and body wash; gift cards to Target, Walmart, Costco, Giant and Safeway for program supplies; twin sheets and comforters; bath towels; desktop computer, laptops, tablets for programs; bed pillows.

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