By Avra Sullivan
Over the last few years the economy has hit lows many people didn’t think we would ever see. This has left families that were once able to live comfortably, having to make wrenching decisions whether to buy food, or toothpaste. While government programs have helped greatly to supply food stamps and other assistance for those whose income has been affected, they do not cover all necessities, and many who struggle, don’t qualify. Toiletries, cleaning supplies, baby products, laundry detergent, are all vital and yet for many can be what they go without at the end of a month that is longer than their paycheck. Bountiful Blessings is a non-profit program that gives away theses necessities to those in need. Based out of Pennsylvania, they cover three states including Maryland.
Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church in Stevensville had been trying to form a program for the past 7 years. Upon completion of an addition to their building, they had the space to do so and in April they began offering basic living staples to those in the area. Stacie Mcginnes heads up a group of volunteers from Safe Harbor who handle donations, stocking of shelves and distributing. “We’ve had a whole mixture of recipients,” says Stacey. “Many people on fixed incomes such as social security and disability are finding the program extremely beneficial. Very few of the individuals who come are actually on any sort of government assistance.” Stacie says all are extremely grateful.
There are no income requirements or application to receive products from Bountiful Blessings. Simply show a photo ID each time you come. Baby products such as wipes and diapers are available to children up to 24 months of age and require a birth certificate for those products. One unique condition they have is that all recipients must give 3 hours per year of volunteer time. This can be simple tasks such as helping sort donation items, be a greeter to those coming in, or helping at a church work day.
Stacie says it’s more than just handing out goods and sending them on their way. “We talk to them, get to know them, take prayer requests. It’s such a blessing for us to have the opportunity to actually befriend the recipients. It shows then that they are cared for, without judgment, which is the greatest gift we can give.”
While the main warehouse in Pennsylvania helps provide items, Stacie says they can always use donations. Anyone wishing to donate items or make a monetary contribution can contact Safe Harbor Church at 410-604-1700.
Bountiful Blessings is held the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month from 9-11am at Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church, 103 Love Point Road in Stevensville. More information about the program can be found at www.bountifulblessings.org