CHARLES TOWN – After a long winter that taxed Jefferson County Community Ministries’ ability to provide help for record numbers seeking food, shelter, heating and for other needs, leaders of the nonprofit say they’re grateful for the public’s help all through the year.
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Melissa Knott, who works at City National Bank at 1034 S. George St. in Charles Town, recently made a $1,500 donation to the nonprofit located at 238 W. Washington St. after winning her company’s “City Cares” contest.
A committee of City National workers selected four winners from across the state, giving each $1,500 to donate to the charity he or she chose.
Smaller donations make a big impact, too, says Bob Shefner, Community Ministries’ executive director. He points to Alex Krapf, a 5-year-old who toured Community Ministries with her Daisy Scout troop in January.
Within weeks, Alex had returned to Community Ministries with a $100 donation generated from sales of potholders she’d woven on a loom.
Her good work got her mentioned in a recent Community Ministries newsletter. “Alex acted on what she heard about the need and, perhaps even more, about the importance of generosity,” Shefner wrote. “She heard about a need, she had a way to meet that need, and took advantage of that particular moment in time to be generous.”
Donations to Community Ministries and many other charities typically spike in the final two months of the year, from around Thanksgiving through Dec. 31 – the cutoff to get tax credits for donations made that calendar year.
In his newsletter essay, Shefner praised Alex for being “a reminder that the heart of giving lives in us all, and that acts of generosity are always needed, and can occur, year around.”
This spring, citizens can help Community Ministries in a number of ways, from contributing money to dropping off staples for the food pantry or the nonprofit’s clothing closet.
Food pantry needs include peanut butter, jelly, tuna, pancake mix, syrup, laundry detergent, dish soap, toilet paper, shampoo, dry pet food and kitty litter.
For the clothing closet, Community Ministries accepts gently used garments for men, women, infants and children. The most-needed list includes women’s undergarments, namely bras and underpants, as well as towels, washcloths and sheets.
After getting donated clothing items in such poor condition they couldn’t be used, Community Ministries recently put in place new rules. Donors now can donate just three bags per visit and don’t get a tax receipt for the donations until after the clothing has been examined.
Donations are accepted at the nonprofit’s rear entrance on Lawrence Street only between 1 and 3 p.m. weekdays or by appointment.
For the next six weeks, there’s another way people hungry to help out Community Ministries can lend a hand. Thanks to the donation of a black angus steer from Cattle Ridge Farm, Community Ministries will award four prizes on May 13.
Three winners each will get some 185 pounds of top-quality, pasture-fed, 21-day-aged beef, packaged and delivered, while another winner will get a $50 gift certificate to Final Cut, the high-end steak house at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
Tickets cost $10 each or $25 for three. For details on ticket sales, call 304-725-3186 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.