Assistance Center of Towson Churches (ACTC) Outreach Ministry
ACTC has been in operation in Towson for more than 30 years, but it actually began before that at the Church of the Holy Comforter. Holy Comforter then got more churches in the area involved and soon needed a space so they moved to a small house near the Calvary Church at 116 Pennsylvania Avenue. Speaking with Suzanne Whitney, the Good Shepherd liaison this year for our Thanksgiving drive, it is amazing all of the services that ACTC provides to the needy in portions of Baltimore County.
[endif]--ACTC has grown from a group of 14 churches, to an organization of 50 congregations and 60+ volunteers. Together, they carry on the founders' ecumenical mission of providing emergency services to needy families and individuals in the community. And it is not just a food pantry for the needy, they provide so many more valuable services such as bagged lunches, care bags for the homeless, nonperishable food supplies for 3-5 days, help with eviction prevention, fuel, utilities and prescriptions, free ID, birth certificate and license replacement, mail pickup for the homeless, clothing and shelter referrals and transportation to job interviews and medical appointments. What is even more surprising is the incredible need in Baltimore County.
In 2018, ACTC helped:
31,176 ... people assisted 337,421 ... pounds of food $704,942 ... value of food distributed 19,019 ... volunteer hours $127,089 ... financial help 2,846... bus tokens, passes and gasoline help 8,043 ... total assistance for homeless 178 ... sheltered bed nights 2,359 ... Thanksgiving Baskets for families
Source: ACTC website
[endif]--Good Shepherd has been providing Thanksgiving meals to ACTC for decades. This year, Suzanne Whitney is organizing our drive. She says for years when her boys were growing up, each person in the family gathered a bag for a family. Two years ago, when she retired, she decided she wanted to get more involved with ACTC, and through meeting the Executive Director, Linda Lotz, through mutual friend and Good Shepherd parishioner, Ginny Barnhart, she decided to volunteer at the center, first as a sub and then, regularly, at least once a week. Suzanne works at the client desk helping to register new clients and connect them with the local services they may need, food, help with utility bills, medical assistance or finding them a place at the only 3 shelters in Baltimore County. ACTC also provides a healthy lunch every day to the homeless with food donated from local grocery stores and restaurants like Panera. Suzanne gets to know the clients who come regularly for meals or help and says, “It is very gratifying, you feel like you are helping people, and the clients are all incredibly polite and appreciative. The volunteers are all very nice, and it is well organized.”
This year ACTC is providing Thanksgiving meals for 2,000 families. Suzanne is hoping the Church of the Good Shepherd can provide more than last year and provide 100 bags. She says it is easier than ever. There are 4 grocery stores in our area who will have the items pre-bagged so all you have to do is pick up a bag and pay for it. It can’t get any easier than that to make a difference for a person having a difficult time. So please collect your items for a Thanksgiving dinner and deliver it to the foyer by November 20th. And if you are interested in volunteering, ACTC can always use more help. You can talk to Suzanne Whitney about volunteering or contact the Director, Linda Lotz at 410-296-4855.
Please include ONLY the following items in each Thanksgiving basket:
(All additional items should be in separate bags and marked “MISCELLANEOUS”)
• 1 can sweet potatoes/yams (23-29 oz can) • 2 cans meat/main dish (example: beef stew or chili-15-24 oz oz cans) • 1 large can fruit (20-30 can) • 4 cans vegetables (example: green beans, peas or corn-15 oz cans) • 1 cranberry sauce • 2 pkg. macaroni & cheese • 1 box instant mashed potatoes (13.3 or 13.75 oz.) • 1 cake or brownie mix • 1 bag or box of stuffing mix • 1 lb. bag or box of rice (28 oz.)