Catonsville community comes together for second annual Blessing Baskets giveaway – Baltimore Sun

On the evening of November 16, Catonsville residents and other supporters from across Baltimore County gathered at the State Fair Restaurant on Frederick Road to help local families in need of gifts for the 2nd Annual Blessing Basket. bottom.

Ellie McIntire, owner of EPIK Home Group and founder of the event, said 119 baskets and several courts were donated.

The food drive first took place last year when McIntyre, the local realtor who runs the Catonsville Facebook page and group, reached out to customers, colleagues and friends and asked them to help the community. The question was easy. Fill your laundry basket with non-perishable foods for your Thanksgiving meal.

“I knew people in our area were suffering from food shortages, so I called the community and asked, ‘Can you put together a basket for Thanksgiving dinner? We received 98 baskets,” McIntyre said.

This year, people have filled large wicker baskets, plastic storage troughs, boxes and crates with food. Other items for Thanksgiving meals, such as aluminum cooking pans, paper plates, and holiday napkins. Household items such as detergents, toiletries, socks and blankets. And even pet food.

Some baskets are creatively decorated, while others are filled with personal notes of wishes and artwork made by children. Most of them are filled with items. He had one donor from Phoenix in northern Baltimore County.

“It’s amazing,” McIntyre said.

Baskets were distributed to families at five Catonsville schools on November 17th. Kate Jordon, a teacher at Hillcrest Elementary School, said the families were selected from counselor and principal recommendations and those who brought extra food from the school’s Friday ration.

“There are ways we can help them at school,” Jordon said, referring to counseling and similar resources for students and families. This is a great support for us, as we cannot help with

Catonsville resident Jordon also donated a basket. “As a teacher, I feel that need every day,” she said. “We know these baskets will reach people who really need them.”

The McQuirk family – husband Matthew, wife Jenna and their sons, Luke, 6 and Brody, 3 – unload the basket, then look at the other baskets and the sons talk to Santa and Mrs. Claus. I was hanging out to do

Jenna McQuirk said their baskets were a “neighborhood co-op” and came from donations from neighbors, and McIntire said some baskets were. Both Jenna and Matthew McCullough said it was important for the boys to get involved in the donation, and they had the boys help pack their baskets.

“We try to teach them the point of giving,” said Matthew McCullough. “This is our neighborhood and we want to be involved.”

Those who donated two or more baskets received one of 50 Ravens footballs signed by Ravens tight end Mark Andrews. McIntyre contacted Andrews’ mother and asked him to donate.

For last year’s giveaway, she reached out to the mother of Ravens linebacker Tyus Bowser for an autographed soccer ball and is already thinking about the 2023 giveaway.

“I hope to visit Justin Tucker’s mom next year,” McIntyre said.

State fares also offered discounts on meals that night to those who brought in donations.

Several decorated Jeeps were parked outside the restaurant to draw attention to the event. supported Acord purchased his Catonsville home with the help of his McIntire, who supported the present from the beginning.

“The Jeep community loves getting involved in things like this,” says Acord.

On the night of the collection, Accord mapped out the route for the 3rd Annual Jeep Christmas Parade and giveaways on December 17th and stuck pins into the streets where the donors who brought the baskets lived. The districts with the most donations will be specially visited as Jeep owners stop by Children’s Homes to hand out gift cards from local businesses, he said.

Arbutus’ Asha Smith brought a yellow 2021 Jeep Wrangler nicknamed “Big Bird” to the event. Ms. Smith said it was important for her to show up and bring her attention to the food drive.

“Many people are struggling, but it’s still important to spend time with your family on Thanksgiving.”

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