Opinion: Editorial: Give Locally in Potomac

Opinion: Editorial: Give Locally in Potomac

Nonprofits with local mission seek help now and through the year.

The holidays are about giving, and giving thanks. The holidays are about children and family. The holidays are about sharing, about joy. The holidays are about being thankful and about faith and appreciation. The holidays are about helping those in need.

Potomac is one of the wealthiest communities in the nation. The average annual family income in Potomac is $275,715, with 55 percent of married couple families in Potomac earning more than $200,000.

But close to 68,000 people (6.7 percent) in Montgomery County live below the poverty level. That’s $20,420 for a family of three.

These families may be on the brink of homelessness, families who must choose between medical bills, car repair, heat and food. Some of these are children who may not be sure that they will have a meal between the meals they get in school.

School holidays can bring uncertainty and hunger, a far cry from the celebrations, gifts and plenty that we associate with the holidays.

Hundreds of homeless students attend the public schools, and their needs are greater.

But we also list other kinds of nonprofits; find what appeals to you, and pitch in.

— Mary Kimm, mkimm@connectionnewspapers.com

Potomac: Where to Give Locally

  • Manna Food Center, 9311 Gaither Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20877, 301-424-1130, www.mannafood.org. Food Center, the main food bank in Montgomery County, strives to eliminate hunger through food distribution, education, and advocacy. Manna provides food to 32,000 individuals each year and helps distribute rescued food to soup kitchens, food pantries and emergency shelters county-wide. Nearly every social service organization in Montgomery County relies on Manna to provide food to their clients.

  • Mercy Health Clinic, www.mercyhealthclinic.org, 7 Metropolitan Court, Suite 1, Gaithersburg, MD 20878, 240-773-0300. Mercy Health Clinic in Montgomery County is a totally free clinic serving the uninsured of the community. It serves around 2,000 patients annually through the efforts of more than 50 volunteer physicians and over 100 medical and administrative volunteers. “At Mercy, we believe that we all benefit when everyone in our community has access to health care.”

  • Interfaith Works, www.iworksmc.org, 114 West Montgomery Ave., Rockville, MD 20850. Interfaith Works provides shelter, food, and clothing to low-income and homeless neighbors.

  • Potomac Community Resources, http://pcr-inc.org/ 9200 Kentsdale Drive, Potomac, MD 20854, 301-365-0561. Potomac Community Resources, Inc. promotes the full inclusion into community life of teens and adults with developmental differences by providing over 35 therapeutic, recreational, social, educational, and respite care programs. Donations to PCR make a difference in the lives of individuals with developmental differences and their families. Eighty-six percent of every dollar that is donated goes directly to its programs.

  • Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, www.mcch.net, 600-B East Gude Drive, Rockville, MD 20850, 301-217-0314. Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH), a community-based nonprofit organization, is a leading provider of permanent housing, intermediate housing, emergency shelter, and supportive services for people experiencing homelessness. MCCH programs serve 1,600 men, women and children each year, providing 60 percent of the emergency shelter beds in the county.

  • Prekindergarten and Head Start Programs are seeking donations of new winter coats for boys and girls in sizes 5, 6, and 7, along with other winter wear, such as hats and gloves. Monetary donations are welcome. Donations can be sent to Rocking Horse Road Center, 4910 Macon Road, Room 141, Rockville, MD 20852. For more information, contact Lisa Conlon at 240-740-4530.

  • ArtStream, www.art-stream.org, 8401 Connecticut Ave. Ste 1230, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, 301-565-4567. ArtStream performances feature adult actors with intellectual and developmental disabilities including autism and other social and behavioral needs. Actors, volunteer mentors and theatre professionals work as a team to create original performances for live audiences. Drama and life-skills classes, programs in military hospitals. ArtStream is based in Chevy Chase and holds programming throughout the region.

  • Shepherd’s Table, www.shepherdstable.org, 8210 Dixon Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910, 301-585-6463. Shepherd's Table is a nonprofit organization in downtown Silver Spring, supported by volunteers, religious organizations, government, businesses, foundations, and individual donors. Shepherd’s Table provides help to people who are homeless or in need by providing basic services, including meals, social services, medical support, clothing, and other assistance.

  • Fisher House, www.fisherhouse.org, Fisher House Foundation, Inc., 12300 Twinbrook Pkwy, Suite 410, Rockville, MD 20852, 301-294-8560, info@fisherhouse.org The Fisher House program supports members of the military and their families when they travel great distances for specialized medical care. Fisher House Foundation donates “comfort homes,” built on the grounds of major military and Veterans medical centers, including Walter Reed in Bethesda. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times.

  • Friends in Action, www.iworksmc.org/friends-in-action, 114 West Montgomery Ave., Rockville, MD 20850, 301-762-8682. Founded by Interfaith Works (formerly Community Ministry of Montgomery County) in 1986, Friends In Action recruits and trains a network of people from all faiths and ethnic backgrounds. Volunteer mentoring teams are linked for one year in a supportive relationship to a needy family in their community. The goal of the program is to help the family identify their strengths and develop attainable and manageable goals that guide them toward financial independence and personal well being.

  • Montgomery Countryside Alliance, P.O Box 24, Poolesville, MD 20837, 301-461-9831, www.mocoalliance.org, info@mocoalliance.org Montgomery Countryside Alliance promotes sound economic, land-use and transportation policies that preserve the natural environment, open spaces and rural lands in Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve for the benefit of all Washington Metropolitan area residents.

  • Spirit Club, 10417-B Metropolitan Ave. Kensington, MD 20895, 03-883-4364, spirit-club.com Spirit Club Foundation Inc. is a non-profit organization organized to ensure that people with disabilities and other health-related challenges have the opportunity to exercise and learn about fitness and nutrition in an integrated setting.

  • MCPAW (Montgomery County Partners for Animal Well-Being) is the non-profit partner of the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC) working through MCASAC to keep homeless pets healthy and happy while awaiting adoption. Goals are: Reduce the number of animals that come to MCASAC; Pamper, protect and provide for animals inside MCASAC; Educate and engage the community in causes for animal welfare. http://www.mcpaw.org/

  • C&O Canal Trust. www.canaltrust.org By giving to the C&O Canal Trust, you will be joining a growing movement of citizens across the country who are taking personal responsibility for the future of “America’s best idea” — our national parks. Give thanks for the C&O Canal you enjoy today, and invest in its future.

  • Potomac Riverkeeper Network works to protect the public’s right to clean water in our rivers and streams; to stop pollution to promote safe drinking water; to protect healthy river habitats; and to enhance public use and enjoyment. 3070 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007. 202-888-2037. www.potomacriverkeepernetwork.org

  • Potomac River Conservancy, 8403 Colesville Road, Suite 805, Silver Spring, MD 20910, 301-608-1188 potomac.org, seeks to improve the Potomac River’s water quality by building an impassioned base of river advocates to impart change at the local level.