Food Giveaway, Free Clinic Helps Needy Residents

Reisterstown’s Community Crisis Center gave away 8,000 pounds of food to needy residents as Mission of Mercy helped with medical and dental care.

Marsha, a Randallstown resident, had a hard time warming up to the idea of going to a food giveaway. But she and her husband, both unemployed, need the help.

It’s been hard for her to find a job as a receptionist between the bad economy, her physical and emotional ailments and her lack of advanced computer skills. Marsha, who asked that Patch only use her first name, would like to go to Goodwill’s free computer classes, but she and her husband can’t afford the monthly bus pass for her transportation.

Tuesday, Marsha got some much needed help at the on Main Street, where the gave away 8,000 pounds of food courtesy of the Maryland Food Bank. The crowd ran the spectrum of ages and backgrounds, and even included a Main Street shop owner.

It’s the second year a governor’s grant to the food bank made the food giveaway possible in Reisterstown for the Community Crisis Center, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

Community Crisis Center Director Deborah Goff said any food left over would be split between the center’s pantry and Reisterstown United Methodist Church’s pantry.

As needy residents from Reisterstown and the surrounding areas received macaroni and cheese, eggplant, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and other food, AmeriCorps employees gave away energy-efficient light bulbs and signed people up to receive free energy-saving equipment for their homes.

In rooms next door to the food giveaway, Mission of Mercy volunteers gave free medical and dental examinations.

The organization, whose motto is "healing through love," operates seven monthly or bimonthly free clinics in the Maryland-Pennsylvania area. The clinic comes to Reisterstown once a month, and also operates in Westminster and Taneytown.

“We go into communities that have a large portion of what we call ‘the working poor,’” said Jennifer Charlton, executive director of the Maryland-Pennsylvania region. The region is one of three the organization runs.

Through two paid employees and a volunteer staff of 173, most of whom are medical professionals, Mission of Mercy provides free health care, prescription medication, lab tests, X-rays and even surgeries at Mercy Hospital.

“What we provide is restoring dignity,” Charlton said. “How we do that is through medicine.”

She estimated that the organization would see about 65 patients Tuesday.

With free food, medical and dental care and help with energy efficiency, Reisterstown United Methodist Church became a one-stop shop for local residents in need on Tuesday.

“We’re all rallying to provide information, services [and] support systems for the people who are desperately in need,” Charlton said.


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