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Old Town: Laurel organizations still need donations to help those in need; Little Free Libraries still open

Little Free Library in Laurel in the 500 block of Prince George Street.
Little Free Library in Laurel in the 500 block of Prince George Street. (Courtesy photo /)

Even as we are fortunate to enjoy beautiful summer weather and as businesses begin to reopen, many in our area still have a continued need for assistance with food and other necessities. There are several wonderful organizations here in Old Town that offer help and are in need of support.

Elizabeth House, which serves a hot dinner to the hungry each evening, has several ways to help. It welcomes food drives to benefit its pantry, fresh produce to accompany its daily meals, help making bag lunches and standby volunteers for its kitchen. It also is in need of diapers. More details may be found online at fishoflaurel.org. Free dinners are offered daily from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Elizabeth House, 308 Gorman Ave.

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Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, which provides a range of social services to individuals and families in the area, has started to welcome back volunteers to its office one at a time. It also continues to operate its food pantry, as well as manage the Laurel Cares Covid-19 Relief Fund. More information on ways to help may be found online at laureladvocacy.org or by calling 301-776-0442.

St. Mary of the Mills Church has moved its food pantry from the small church office to the expansive Keesler Center to keep up with increased demand. Groceries are distributed each Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Keesler Center, 800 Main St. Nonperishable food donations may be dropped off in the vestibule of the church, 114 St. Mary’s Place. For more information, call 301-725-3080.

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It’s time for summer reading, and even with the library closed, there are still a couple of options for you and your kids to get your hands on a good book. Old Town boasts at least two Little Free Libraries, which are roadside boxes for bibliophiles that operate with the motto of “Take a book, share a book.” One Little Free Library is in the 500 block of Prince George Street, while another can be found in the 900 block of Montgomery Street.

Families with children under the age of 5 can register to receive a free book each month through the Books from Birth program run by the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System. The free program mails a paperback children’s book to each registered child monthly. More details, including information on how to sign up, can be found online at pgcmls.info/1886.

An online auction to benefit St. Mary of the Mills School will run from June 21 through 27. The school along St. Mary’s Place originally planned to host its second annual Bull Roast fundraiser in mid-May, but it was scrapped because of the pandemic. Instead, the auction portion of the event will be held online. Featured auction items include vacation packages to Caribbean islands, an outdoor playset, a wine tasting at Total Wine, premium seating and a reserved parking spot at Christmas Eve Mass, and tickets for museums and lessons. Bidding is available via the Auctria app or online at charityauction.bid/smsbullroast2020. Email bullroast@stmaryofthemills.org for more details or for any questions.

Pasta Plus, an institution in Laurel that has become a destination for area lovers of Italian fare, reopened Tuesday for carryout service. The family restaurant, which shut down temporarily in the wake of the pandemic, first planned to re-open on June 2, but that was scrapped just days before an employee tested positive for the coronavirus. Everyone at the restaurant is healthy now and owner Max Mazziotti is excited to welcome back customers. The dining room is still closed, despite Prince George’s County’s recent expansion of indoor service. For more information, go to pastaplusrestaurant.com or call 301-498-5100.

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