Family Crisis Center looking for holiday donations
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 11:50

In need of toys, toiletries, cash, clothes, etc

by Ben Boehl

    It is that time of year when the people of Dundalk like to show their generosity by donating to a local charity. There are many different ways and places to donate and the Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County is hoping that people will think of them again this holiday season.
    The center, which — for safety reasons — is located at an undisclosed location in Dundalk, is accepting donations from the community. The shelter is open to victims of domestic violence.
    With the poor economy and tough times, the shelter has seen an increase of visitors to its center.     
   

Rebecca Foster of the center said it’s hard saying “no” to a person who is seeking shelter to be safe from domestic violence, but the shelter has to come up with more food and supplies in order to assist them.
    “Right now, we are at 40 people,” Foster said. “We try to stop our shelter at 31, but it has been crazy the last six months. It has stretched our resources for 10 extra people.”    
    The center is looking for everyday items that the average person and child takes for granted, including toiletries such as shampoo, deodorant, over-the-counter pain relievers; and food items such as ground beef and hot dogs, milk, cooking oil, sugar, eggs, juice, bread, spaghetti sauce, lunch meat and fresh fruits and vegetables.    
    The center also needs paper plates, cups and bowls, plastic forks, spoons and knives.
    Those items are needed all year long, but Foster said there is a current need for cleaning supplies and rubber gloves, diapers and  pull-ups (large sizes) baby wipes, bath towels and wash cloths, pillows and twin-sized sheets, toilet paper and paper towels, garbage bags (55 and 33 gallons), clothing items such as coats, hats, pajamas, t-shirts, jeans, sweatshirts, new socks and underwear (all sizes needed for children, teens and women)  and dish towels.
    “We are looking for a little bit of everything for those who are here and for the ones who have recently moved out,” Foster added.
    If a business, corporation or individual wants to make a “high-end” donation, the crisis center is looking for new twin-size mattresses, hospital-quality and zippered waterproof mattress covers, four 19-inch flat screen TV’s and a play kitchen set for the playroom to help accommodate the increase in visitors.
    “The community has always been responsive. It’s amazing how they have helped us before, “ Foster explained. “We appreciate the community so much. It helps us change lives.”    
    Monetary donations can be made as well. Foster said $45 goes towards the cost of a night at the shelter for one person.
    This includes services such as a warm and safe place to sleep, food, clothing, case management, advocacy, referrals, support groups, children’s groups  and life-skills and parenting groups.   
    Toys are always a popular item, especially when it comes to supplying gifts on Christmas Day. Since the age groups range from infants to teenagers, all types of toys will be accepted. Center policy is that all toys must be non-violent. Beyond that, there is no such thing as having too many toys.
    “Any toys left over will be placed on the birthday shelf,” Foster said. “We like to make sure every child receives something when they arrive in the shelter and when they have a birthday here. It makes life a little kinder and less scary.”     
    Those who want to donate for Christmas are asked to do so by Dec. 17. Gift cards to places such as Walmart, Giant food, Mars Supermarkets, Old Navy, McDonalds, movie theaters and Target are popular too.
    Foster emphasized no matter how big or small, almost any item is welcome.
    “We know that times are tough, and it is a blessing to receive items from people that might be struggling,”  she said.
    For more information or to schedule a drop-off time, call 410-285-7496.