Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County Provides $20,000 in Emergency Funding to the Community Action Council’s Food Bank
May 7, 2020
The Scope of the WGC’s Emergency Response Network Has Been Extended to Address COVID-19 Needs
In March 2020 the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County received a request from our partners at the Community Action Council (CAC) for $5,000 to help Head Start families in need through the Food Bank. Thanks to the generosity of many donors, we raised significantly more than the $5,000 we originally requested, and have provided $20,000 in emergency COVID-19 funding to date to CAC.
“Once again, the women of our community have risen together to lead and offer real and in the moment solutions to a challenge faced by many of Howard County residents” said Bita Dayhoff, president of the Community Action Council, which runs the Howard County Food Bank. “The significant financial support from the WGC laid the ground for CAC to establish Pop-Up pantries which have become a sustained source of food to thousands Howard County residents.”
The Community Action Council has seen a significant increase in demand for their services, with over 50% of those seeking assistance from the Food Bank being new clients. Over the last six weeks the CAC has served more than 12,000 individuals through regular Food Bank services and Pop-ups pantries in a number of communities, and they have delivered food to many families in need.
“We have seen the sheer vulnerability of our community in the face of a major crisis … the need is wide and deep, and it touches at least one out of four of our Howard County who are in need of support in one way or another to be able to meet their most basic needs of food, shelter, energy and access to quality Early Childhood Education programming such as Head Start” said Dayhoff. “Over the past six weeks, CAC, in partnership with many other organizations, has served more than 12,000 individuals with food assistance.”
The partnership between CAC and the community is important, as evidenced by one of many comments they have received: “You all are wonderful … going to a Food Bank can be a difficult trip for some families, but all of you make it an easy and kind experience. It’s a giving and generous atmosphere and that’s the best.”
There are thousands of others who are served by the school system, the faith community, the newly formed advocacy groups, and many others who do not measure or report on their good deeds.
“We are proud to be part of a community that is stepping up to support our friends and neighbors during this global pandemic” said Barb Van Winkle, chair of the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County. “We are utilizing our unique strengths as a giving circle to make a bigger difference together than we might otherwise make alone.”
The WGC's Emergency Response Network was created over 15 years ago and is typically utilized for donations up to $1,000 to help an individual in need through our nonprofit partners. However, to address the escalating coronavirus public health crisis, we recently extended the scope of the ERN for a period of time to assist broader needs and more people in our community.
Additionally, the WGC's Young Women's Giving Circle has sent a $750 check and dropped off products for women and girls as part of their recent Feminine Product Drive.
“In order to do the most good during this unprecedented coronavirus public health crisis, we are leaving our Emergency Response Network request for the Community Action Council open” said Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, WGC Executive Director. “We appreciate the strong support from our community and will continue to send all donations directly to our partners at the CAC to address continuing food security issues in our community.”