A faith based Towson charity, which annually hands out baskets of food at Thanksgiving to needy Baltimore County residents, faces a donation shortage as they anticipate a growing demand.
Suzanne Boellner, vice president of resources for the Assistance Center of Towson Churches, said last year the group gave out 2,200 food baskets. But this year a benefactor that previously donated 1,000 baskets has decided not to participate, and has left the nonprofit in a bind. The loss of the donor, who Boellner declined to identify, comes as ACTC expects demand to grow from last year because of the sluggish economy, and a recent decision by the federal government to slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly referred to as "food stamps."
"I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like," Boellner said.
She said the consortium of 48 churches, which regularly provides emergency services to the needy in the Towson area, are increasingly seeing people from areas such as Cockeysville and Parkville looking for help.
ACTC is actively seeking a donor or donors, nonprofit and private sector, to help make up for the donations that were lost. The baskets that are handed out consist of items such as, canned sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and a bag or box of stuffing. The Greater Baltimore Medical Center also donates turkeys, and ACTC provides gift cards for people to buy a turkey or ham once the donated turkeys run out.
Cathy Burgess, executive director of ACTC, said the group doesn’t have a set goal of baskets it hopes to collect, but will rather take as much as they can possibly collect. She said the group usually gives other organizations baskets to hand out, but has told those that have reached out that they’ll have to wait and see if there's have enough for the people who come to ACTC before telling other organizations they’ll be able to help out.
"We’re just waiting to see how many baskets get donated,” Burgess said. "What comes in goes out."