By: Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Executive Director of the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County
In March 2020 the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County received an emergency request from our partners at the Community Action Council (CAC) for $5,000 to help Head Start families in need due to the COVID-19 crisis. Thanks to the generosity of so many women in our community, we raised significantly more than the $5,000 originally requested through our Emergency Response Network and provided CAC with $20,000 in emergency COVID-19 funding.
Women understand the value in collective giving, and having more of an impact together than we might otherwise have alone through our Emergency Response Network.
“Once again, the women of our community have risen together to lead and offer real and in the moment solutions to a challenge faced by many of Howard County residents” said Bita Dayhoff, president of the Community Action Council, which runs the Howard County Food Bank. “The significant financial support from the Women’s Giving Circle laid the ground for us to establish Pop-Up pantries which have become a sustained source of food to thousands Howard County residents.”
The Community Action Council has seen a significant increase in demand for their services, with over 50% of those seeking assistance from the Food Bank being new clients. Over the last six weeks the CAC has served more than 12,000 individuals through regular Food Bank services and Pop-ups pantries in a number of communities, and they have delivered food to many families in need.
The WGC’s Emergency Response Network was created over 15 years ago and is typically utilized for donations up to $1,000 to help an individual in need through our nonprofit partners. However, to address the escalating coronavirus public health crisis, we recently extended the scope of the ERN for a period of time to assist broader needs and more people in our community. And, we’ve partnered with the Community Foundation of Howard County, Horizon Foundation, and United Way of Central Maryland to create HoCoRespond.com, which has given over $400,000 to Howard County nonprofits in emergency COVID-19 funding to date, including the Community Action Council.
“We are proud to be part of a community that is stepping up to support our friends and neighbors during this global pandemic” said Barb Van Winkle, chair of the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County. “We are utilizing our unique strengths as a giving circle to make a bigger difference together through the Emergency Response Network than we might otherwise make alone.”
Those wanting to learn more about the WGC’s Emergency Response Network, or support the Community Action Council can find more information at: www.womensgivingcircle.org