Assistance Center of Towson Churches


ACTC ASSIGNED ITS OWN ADDRESS ... 116 W. Pennsylvania Avenue, Towson, MD 21204. We are not moving, just have a separate address from Calvary Baptist, where our building is located.

2019 ACTC SPRING MATCHING GIFT CHALLENGE ... Raised $127,000 in all to help fund the mission of the Assistance Center, and to allow an increase of 50% in amount given to prevent eviction. Thank you to all the donors who made it possible. 

GENERAL BOARD MEETINGS ... for churches representatives, volunteers and pastors take place twice a year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The next meeting will be Tuesday, April 21 at 6 p.m. with a light dinner served.


"SPRING 2018 MATCHING GIFT CHALLENGE" PROCLAIMED SUCCESS! ... Thank you to all of the donors whose generous gifts made it possible to successfully meet the $52,750 challenge goal by the end of the day June 25. Making the success possible were 29 donations combined to form the $52,750 pool and 180 other donations given to meet the challenge, including 28 churches (some more than once), church members, volunteers, board members, businesses, organizations and individual supporters.

Doubling the impact brought the total collected to $105,500. This means, for example, ACTC can feed 1,696 families of three with bags of food instead of only 848 families! All 209 participants should feel proud of the difference they have made in the lives of their neighbors in need.

ROSIE THE RIVETER RETURNS ... to Hunt Valley Church, in her image and the phrase "We CAN Do It!" printed on a food list to promote its annual May food drive. Everyone in the congregation received the church's signature orange carry bag with the collection's list. The outcome was a hefty number of 5,500 items delivered in a truckload. Thank you Hunt Valley Church

It's not too late to double your money that will be matched dollar-for-dollar. Thank you to everyone who took us beyond the bend so far with $39,575 given toward meeting the new $50,000 challenge goal. May 31 is the finish line. A gift of any size doubles the impact your generosity will have on uplifting the lives of many homeless and families in need.

To make a donation: Call 410-296-4855; mail a check to ACTC, 120 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Towson, MD  21204 with the notation CHALLENGE; or contribute electronically with the DONATE button on ACTC's Welcome page.

You still have until May 31 to double your money and do twice as much good for ACTC by joining its SPRING MATCHING GIFT CHALLENGE. Thank you to everyone whose contributions tallied $31,870 on May 8 and took us beyond the halfway mark of the $38,400 challenge goal.

No donation is too small. A gift of any size doubles the difference you can make toward sustaining ACTC's 33-year history of mission-driven programs and activities that uplift people's lives. For example, with your $50, 20 homeless instead of 10 will receive a Care Bag of food for their lunch or supper.

To make a donation: Call 410-296-4855; mail a check to ACTC, 120 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Towson, MD  21204 with the notation CHALLENGE; or contribute electronically with the DONATE button on ACTC's Welcome page.

RINGING AND SINGING resounded throughout the crowded sanctuary of the Towson Presbyterian Church on Sunday afternoon, April 29, when the congregation and four choirs had assembled for the "Benefit Concert and Hymn Sing" ACTC fundraiser. Making beautiful music were the chancel choirs of Towson Presbyterian and Central Presbyterian churches, the praise choir of Mt. Calvary A.M.E., and the handbell choir of Ascension Lutheran. They had been called together for the program by Stephen Harouff, director of music and organist for Towson Presbyterian Church.

The audience was inspired by words from Linda Lotz, ACTC executive director, and a stirring testimonial by one of ACTC's homeless clients. For the prelude, Stephen shook the rafters with his awesome performance on the organ of "Tocatta on 'Beecher' " by Peter Stoltzfus. Concluding the uplifting afternoon, everyone gathered in Thompson Hall for good fellowship and treats of "sweets and savories" provided by volunteer Dianne Thompson and her committee.

GHS IN ... Members, leaders and supporters of Towson's Cub Scout Pack 319, sponsored by Hunt's Memorial United Methodist Church, celebrated the Cubs' successful annual food drive for the Assistance Center of Towson Churches, exceeding last year's total by 100 pounds.

Four vehicles packed with 1,500 pounds of nonperishables collected in bags from 160 generous families in Towson, Riderwood and Lutherville pulled into Trinity Episcopal's parking lot Saturday, April 28, ready for being unloaded into the church's undercroft for sorting and temporary storage. Their accomplishment will provide sufficient food to feed 45 families of three with five days of meals

Shown here are: Grady Brunnett, left front, Carson Hewitt, Mason Sacca, Christopher O'Donnell, John Brunnett, left rear, Mike Sacca, Mike Tomko, Cub master Russ Hewitt and Drew O'Donnell. Committee chair was Glenn Kehring.

Thank you all!

DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT ... Spring Matching Gift Challenge: Through May 31, 2018
Rise to the challenge by making a donation to the Assistance Center of Towson Churches now and your gift will be matched up to $22,000, dollar for dollar, by a group of generous ACTC sponsors. Your actions will double the difference your support can make for the less fortunate living in your community, with limited or no resources, who struggle to buy food, pay the rent or utility bills, purchase medicine, or obtain transportation to see a doctor.
Contributions such as yours enable ACTC to continue its 33-year-old mission of uplifting lives by "reaching out to those in need with God's love and provision" through giving food, financial aid and other emergency services.

To raise the ante to be matched or to make a donation: call 410-296-4855; mail a check to ACTC, 120 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Towson, MD 21204 with the notation Challenge; or donate electronically via the Donate button on our Welcome page.

Follow our progress and like us on Facebook. Please share on your social channels.

This is ACTC's major fundraiser for the year. We hope you will take great pride in knowing the important difference that your gift makes.

Cartons overflowing with almost 1,000 children's books collected by elementary K-5th grade Sunday School children at Hunt Valley Church were recently delivered to ACTC. They will be coded and shelved in "Lindy's Public Library" for adults and children to browse and select one to take home.

Lindy Utermohle was ACTC's first director, volunteer and board member. As an educator and social worker, she knew the value of early reading and founded the little library situated in a corner of the center. Before Lindy died two years ago, she and her husband Charlie, also a volunteer and board member, were accustomed to visiting flea markets and yard sales in search of inexpensive books to keep the shelves full.

When the supply dwindled, Charlie issued a call for help that was answered by Hunt Valley Church and the leadership of Melanie Mitchell, who managed the very successful Sunday School book drive. Many others responded to the call as well.

Lindy's legacy can stay busy now for several months to come. When the need for replenishment arises, Melanie has already offered to lead another drive, and others will be asked to donate children's books that now sit idle on their shelves. Thank you Charlie and Melanie, shown here, and Hunt Valley Church!

MEMBER PASTORS GATHER FOR BREAKFAST ... ACTC held its second annual "Breakfast for Pastors" on Tuesday, January 30 at 9 a.m. in Trinity Episcopal's Memorial Hall. Cold weather and snow failed to put a damper on the well attended event that included a hot, homemade breakfast, good fellowship, an informative update on ACTC's accomplishments in 2017 and its plans for the future, plus an unscripted, uplifting performance by a homeless client of an original song played on her donated guitar.


thanks to Ridgely Middle School and its seventh annual "Stuff-a-Bus" project. Under the leadership of its SGA co-sponsors Elizabeth Charette and Ryan Brown, the school collected an astounding 4,409 cans of food sorted into about 250 boxes. They were unloaded for ACTC on Wednesday, the day after #GivingTuesday by seven student volunteers. Several ACTC volunteers were on hand to assist.

Many thanks to them and the Whitcraft Bus Co. that donated the vehicle and its driver for helping ACTC provide emergency food supplies to the needy in our communities.

COUNTING OUR BLESSINGS ... For its 29th annual outreach project, "Thanksgiving Baskets," ACTC received a resounding number of 2,046 bags for giving to families and agencies in Baltimore County and city. People arrived at Memorial Hall of Trinity Episcopal Church by car, truck or foot to pick up Thanksgiving dinner in a bag, thankful for the event capably managed for the last seven years by ACTC's vice president Pat Shaw, assisted by teams of volunteers, including her daughter and son-in-law.

It took a U-Haul It truck stuffed with 360 bags of food Hunt Valley Church had collected to deliver the goods. Church members Melanie Mitchell, left, her 10-year-old-daughter Carly, Nicole Earp and Mike Griffith shown here unload the truck with the help of a volunteer team.

ACTC is grateful for all of the churches, organizations, businesses, schools, individuals and volunteers whose contributions brightened Thanksgiving Day for so many people in need.

To see a photo album of the event, visit ACTC's Facebook page.

For the first time, this year, on Tuesday, November 28, ACTC will take part in an international call to action - a day when charities, families, businesses, community centers, students, retailers and more come together for #GivingTuesday.
It's the sixth year people can come together during the holiday season to give back and support the causes they believe in. Your contribution to ACTC can make a difference for people in your community: between going hungry or feeding their family; becoming homeless or having shelter; going witihout electricity or keeping warm; not surviving or getting the vital prescription filled.

Every dollar counts. If you would like to become part of this worldwide outreach movement by contributing to ACTC on #GivingTuesday, send a check with the notation #GivingTuesday to ACTC, 120 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Towson, 21204 or use the Donate button here on ACTC's
Welcome page. Thank you in advance for making someone's day a brighter one.

WHEN HOMELESS JESUS VISITED IMMACULATE CONCEPTION ... A sizable and enthusiastic crowd assembled November 15 to take part in the special "Ecumenical Prayer Service" originated and hosted by Father Joseph Barr, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church. It was a unique opportunity to ponder the display of the famous, life-sized bronze sculpture Homeless Jesus by Timothy Schmalz, the church had been privileged to exhibit, while standing together in prayer for the homeless, sick and needy, blessed by Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46. It was also a time to honor the Assistance Center of Towson Churches that weekly serves people in crisis with emergency provisions and annually with its "Thanksgiving Basket" outreach project.

The event was acclaimed a success worth repeating by other churches in the future. Thank you to Rev. Ken Saunders, rector of Trinity Episcopal, for promising to be first in line, and to Pastor Father Barr, for his inspiration.

THANKFUL FOR FRESH MARKET ...  October 23, ACTC became the grateful recipient of a large donation of food worth $4,000 given by Fresh Market of Towson. It's because the market's manager, Roz Cheatham, chose ACTC to become the beneficiary of the corporation's month-long, district-wide competition food drive "$5, $3, $1" instituted this year for the first time. Money for the food was raised by the collection of contributions for the drive made by customers at the market's checkout counters.
For the delivery, three pallets were stacked high with a variety of nonperishables, including black beans, lentils, mother oats, rice, potato chips, diced tomatoes, beef jerky and soup. Shown here making the delivery are ACTC's food manager, Charlie Utermohle, left, with Fresh Market employees Phillip Addison, Joe Escobedo and Chris Johnson.

Fresh Market also supplies ACTC with bread, salads, sandwiches and desserts every week that are picked up by faithful ACTC volunteers.

The seventh annual "High Tea" scheduled for Saturday, November 4 at the Immaculate Conception Church Parish Hall in Towson was another resounding success, replete with a variety of teas, homemade scones, sandwiches and desserts. Thanks again to its coordinator/originator Barbara Watts and her always cheerful, efficient team of volunteers for making this special event possible as a fundraiser for ACTC. It was a full house that garnered $3,600 for the center.

  Free shopping for school supplies for all school ages was offered again by the "Back-to-School Event" co-sponsored by ACTC and Valley Baptist Church on Saturday, August 19 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Valley Baptist Church, 1401 York Road.

Students of families registered with ACTC chose their needs from tables loaded with provisions donated by churches from a list compiled by Baltimore County Public Schools. Otherwise, starting the new school year on a positive note could cost a family
as much as $50 for each child.
This year 137 children were helped the day of the program, and additional supplies were given to 180 children at the center, some inner-city schools and the Parkville school area in Baltimore County.

to all of the donors who made this event possible.

When you shop on Amazon. think about using its account. Millions of its products are eligible for donations. Choose ACTC as your charity and you will smile thereafter knowing that .5% of your purchase has been deposited in ACTC's bank account to help feed hungry people.

CHANGING HANDS ... ACTC had to hire a new executive director when Cathy Burgess, shown right, its compassionate and steadfast director for 17 years, decided to pass her stewardship mantle on to someone else. Cathy's steadfast commitment to ACTC's mission since October 2000 has impacted the lives of families, individuals and the homeless by the thousands.
 Effective April 1, Linda Lotz became ACTC's new director. She has worked for the past year as Cathy's executive assistant and is an active member of Towson Presbyterian Church. Linda has already demonstrated her knack for leadership and caring by planning to extend ACTC's hours on Wednesdays until 6 p.m., beginning in June 1, to accommodate people in crisis who can't take time off from work, and by launching ACTC's Spring Matching Gift Challenge.
Cathy says, "Linda is joyful, prayerful and committed to the task of bringing ACTC to a new level of service that will offer more resources to our clients and provide more opportunities for our churches to be connected with people in our community who are in need."
We are glad to know that Cathy, loved and respected by all whose lives she has touched, has elected to remain on the staff working two days a week as ACTC's new position of Outreach Director. ACTC will remain in good hands.

THANK YOU HARRY AND JEANETTE WEINBERG FOUNDATION ... ACTC has been honored by becoming the grateful recipient of a $20,000 grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation's Employee Giving Program, founded 10 years ago to reward Maryland nonprofits that have met the foundation's mission and guidelines. David Gilmore, managing director of investments for the foundation and a member of Hunt Valley Church, nominated ACTC "to support the general operations of this organization that provides emergency assistance and basic services for residents." He presented the $20,000 check, along with a crystal award, to our executive director Cathy Burgess at a luncheon celebration on September 27. David chose to support our work with this gift after participating in his church's food drive for ACTC.
Linda Lotz, ACTC's executive assistant, attended the special occasion and felt very uplifted to hear about the inspiring, wonderful good work being done around our area by the 24 other organizations that were this year's grant recipients. Shown in the photo posing after the presentation are David, Cathy and Linda.

DID YOU KNOW?: ACTC participates in the "Food for Thought" program. Every month volunteers fill 260 backpacks with nutritious food to give students in six schools who need supplemental food over the weekends. Our number is expanded by several churches that have adopted students and are supplying bags weekly to several schools.

ACTC has gratefully received a $5,000 grant from The UPS Foundation for the purchase of 550 light weight, rugged polypropylene bins. They will replace heavy, cardboard bankers boxes now used by our senior volunteers to store and carry canned goods from two storage location to the center for distribution. The new tote bins cut the carry weight in half and will last for many years.

In accepting the check during a presentation in August at The UPS Foundation Timonium office, ACTC Executive Director Cathy Burgess said that ACTC was thrilled to have received this grant. "These bins will increase our efficiency,
lower our operating costs, reduce our environmental impact and promote worker safety."

Shown here at the presentation are ACTC board member Bob Hoyt, left, The UPS Foundation board member Dawntria Hudnall, ACTC Executive Director Cathy Burgess and The UPS Foundation board member Tom Ley.


ACTC WISH LIST: In addition to food, the Assistance Center tries to offer other necessity items to its clients whenever they visit the center. Donations of the following items that are often requested at the center would be gratefully appreciated. They can be dropped off at the Assistance Center, 120 W. Pennsylvania Ave., during its hours of 10 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Cold Weather Needs
(Especially sizes for men and women)
Warm hats
Gloves or mittens
Hoodies and jackets

(Sample sizes acceptable)
Feminine hygiene products
Mouth wash
Toilet paper
Shaving cream
Hand sanitizers

Baby Items
Diapers - all stages
Baby food - all stages

Save your paper and plastic bags and drop them off too. ACTC often needs them for filling with food.

Members of the Legacy Gift Committee of the former St. Timothy's Lutheran Church, Timonium, presented ACTC with a sizable financial gift at a gathering on Thursday, April 10. ACTC was honored to be one of nine local religious and nonprofit organizations to receive a check from funds that resulted from the building's sale and merger of its congregation in November 2012 with Grace English Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lutherville. St. Timothy's goal was to enable the continuation of its long history of service and partnerships with numerous nonprofit organizations, such as ACTC.

Shown here are ACTC volunteers and members of the newly merged congregation of Grace Lutheran at the presentation. They are Marty Marvel, ACTC Board member (left front); Lewis Nash, Legacy Committee and charter member of St. Timothy's; Thelma Davis, Legacy Committee and charter member of St. Timothy's; Madeleine Bryant, Legacy Committee; Anita Grooms, Legacy Committee; Dain Davis, ACTC volunteer (left rear); Rev. Jason Burns, former pastor of St. Timothy's; Rev. Pat Payne, pastor, Grace English; Bill Phillips, Legacy Committee and president of newly merged congregation of Grace Lutheran; Cathy Burgess, executive director, ACTC; and David Grooms, Legacy Committee.

LISTING OF USEFUL LINKS AND RESOURCES:  Introducing here a categorized list with links to some useful resources pertaining to finances, food, health, jobs, legal matters, utilities and multiple connections.

DSS CODE BLUE POLICY UPDATE FOR HOMELESS: When outside temperatures register 32 degrees or below, three shelters operated by the Community Assistance Network (CAN) accept from 15 to 35 homeless people who walk into the shelters without a DSS referral on a first-come, first-served basis from November 15 to April 15. Code Blue walk-ins are welcome to enter the shelter after 6 p.m. until 10 p.m.and they exit by 9 a.m. the next day. During severe weather conditions, shelters may remain open all day. Registration and some form of ID are required (driver's license, Social Security card, birth certificate, marriage license or photo ID). The shelters are open seven days a week. If in danger, call 911.

The three shelters under CAN accepting homeless people under the Code Blue Policy are:

Eastside Family Emergency Shelter
9150 Franklin Square Drive (near Franklin Square Hospital)
Rosedale, MD  21237
For single women and families only. Code Blue people sleep on mats/cots and have access to showers, bathrooms, laundry facilities and meals. Up to 30 Code Blue residents accepted.

Eastside Men's Emergency Shelter
9150 Franklin Square Drive (near Franklin Square Hospital)
Rosedale, MD  21237
For single men only. Code Blue people sleep on mats/cots and have access to showers, bathrooms, laundry facilities and meals. Up to 35 Code Blue residents accepted.

Westside Men's Shelter
Catonsville, MD  21228
(On grounds of Spring Grove campus. For address, contact DSS, 410-853-3000 option 2, weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; 410-583-9398 after hours and weekends.)
For single men only. Code Blue people sleep on mats/cots and have access to showers, bathroom, laundry facilities and meals. Up to 15 Code Blue residents accepted.

A Department of Social Services Baltimore Shelter Hotline is accessible during working hours by calling 410-853-3000 option 2. During nonworking hours and weekends, an emergency worker can be contacted by calling 410-583-9398.



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