Assistance Center of Towson Churches



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.

Hailed a success, the annual"Back-to-School" event presented by ACTC and Valley Baptist Church in August
almost doubled the number of families and students it helped before by giving
them free access to supplies needed to be prepared for the new school year. This included 118 young people and 62 families, plus distribution of the excess to Baltimore County Public Schools and one city school. ACTC thanks all of the churches and community members for their generous donations and all of you volunteers who made this event possible.

to the Towson Area Citizens on Patrol (COP) that collected canned goods destined for ACTC's shelves during its annual National Night rally and motorcade with police and fire fighting vehicles through 26 neighborhoods on Tuesday, August 2. Members and police from Parkville Police Precinct 08 brought their donations to the rally that celebrated community crime fighting initiatives.

A big THANKS ... to members of Hunt Valley Church Vacation Bible School who raised $10,000 for ACTC by doing all kinds of things from manning lemonade stands, selling toys online, having yard sales and making a family breakfast, to doing chores, holding talent shows, and washing/detailing cars.

ACTC General Board meetings are usually held the third Tuesday of the month in the afternoon. In a third departure from this tradition, the ACTC General Board will hold an evening meeting on Tuesday, October 11 at 6:30 p.m. for church representatives and volunteers at Towson Presbyterian Church, 400 W. Chesapeake Ave. It will include a speaker and light refreshments.

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.

TAXING MATTERS: Again this year ACTC offered its free "Client Income Tax Preparation Program" courtesy of trained tax expert volunteers and the Bykota Senior Center. They were available during five Wednesdays in March to prepare both state and federal income tax forms in private 1 1/2 hour sessions.

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.


The Dulaney Valley Woman’s Club ended its 59 year history of
service to the community, cultural achievements,    
charitable contributions and fellowship this May with a luncheon celebration. The club’s final act of generosity was the donation of a check for $2500 to ACTC shown in this presentation, including its treasurer Virginia Hook, treasurer (left), Cathy Burgess, ACTC executive director, and Carolyn Hottman, luncheon chairman.

THANK YOU AMERICAN LEGION - ACTC's volunteer representative executive board member Julie Collier accepts the generous donation of a $500 check from Towson's Sons of the American Legion Squadron 22 given by its Commander Ben Renwick. The presentation in June preceded the American Legion's longstanding tradition of retiring unserviceable American flags during a flag burning ceremony.

COMING AROUND AGAIN - the second "Circle of Support Day" on Wednesday, June 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Parish, 105 Church Lane, Cockeysville. ACTC will participate at the event, sponsored by UCAN, featuring dozens of agencies with resources and services available for giving help to those in need. It will include refreshments, food bags and children's activities. ACTC will be closed that day and provide some services from its table at the event.

Food hardship is a problem in every corner in America - including Maryland and Baltimore County. According to its new report How Hungry Is America? by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), 14 percent of households in Maryland struggled to afford enough food for their households - that's one in seven people. Towson ranked 74 out of 100 with a food hardship rate of 16.5 percent for 2013-2014. These are households with children, seniors, veterans, working adults and people with disabilities.

Local resident Dr. Laurie Taylor-Mitchell, a member of the League of Women Voters of Baltimore County, has investigated the serious issue of hunger among Baltimore County's schoolchildren. With the help of Laura Mullen, a member of the Area Education Advisory Council, Laurie collected and compiled data for a presentation she gave at the league's April board meeting. In the alarming article she prepared for the meeting "Poverty and Food Insecurity Affect Thousands of Schoolchildren in Baltimore County," she writes: "The dramatic increase in suburban poverty within counties around Baltimore City includes tens of thousands of children attending Baltimore County Public Schools. According to data submitted by the school system to the Maryland State Department of Education, over 53,000 children attending county schools live in poverty." Read more ...

THANK YOU TO THE KNOTT FOUNDATION: ACTC has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Marion I. & Henry J. Knott Foundation to increase the amount of emergency financial aid the center can provide. Recently, because of increasing needs, the center has only been able to provide its clients with $75 once a year in financial assistance for emergencies, including eviction prevention, gas and electric turnoff prevention, prescriptions, bus passes and gasoline. The grant enables ACTC to raise it assistance to $100 for at least 400 families.

'FOOD FOR THOUGHT' PROJECT: ACTC has taken an active role as a participant in the "Food for Thought" program (also known as PAC) whereby churches pack and deliver backpacks of nutritious food for eligible schoolchildren to take home so they have food on weekends when schools are closed. If you would like to help, call Cathy Burgess at ACTC, 410-296-4855.

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.

HATS OFF: ACTC thanks West Towson Elementary School for help in
stocking the center's food pantry
with its December canned food drive. 
The whole school participated in the
drive that was organized and
advertised by the student
government representatives and math
teacher shown here. They counted
cans and packed all 1,000 of them
into boxes that were delivered to
the center.

A big thanks also to the Church of the Redeemer's long time tradition of donating warm winter boots for men and women. This year's donation of 150 pair were gratefully received by ACTC's clients during these cold, wet, icy and snowy days.

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.

ACTC HISTORY: Watch a video of ACTC from its beginnings to 2013.
ACTC RETROSPECTIVE FOR 2015: A video report

When outside temperatures register 32 degrees or below, two shelters operated by the Community Assistance Network (CAN) accept up to 15 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. and they exit by 9 a.m. the next day. No more than 15 walk-ins are accepted in the shelters on a daily basis and registration is required. The shelters are open seven days a week.

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

Eastside Family Emergency Shelter
9100 Franklin Square Drive (next to Franklin Square Hospital)
Rosedale, MD  21237
For single women, women with children, and intact families only. Code Blue people sleep on mats/cots and have access to showers, bathrooms, laundry facilities and meals. They need to register and go through a preliminary modified Intake Process. To register, Code Blue guests need some type of identification card (driver's license, Social Security card, birth certificate, marriage license or photo ID).

Westside Men's Shelter
55 Wade Avenue (off of Frederick Road)
Catonsville, MD  21228
For men only, Code Blue people sleep on mats/cots and have access to showers, bathroom, laundry facilities and meals. They need to register and go through a preliminary modified Intake Process. To register, Code Blue guests need some type of identification card (driver's license, Social Security card, birth certificate, marriage license or photo ID).

When outside temperatures register 32 degrees or below, a Code Blue center is available in Dundalk's Government Building, 1747 Merritt Boulevard. Walk-ins are welcome to enter by 7 p.m. and they exit by 7 a.m.

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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