Community Action Council of Howard County's mission is to diminish poverty, enable self-sufficiency and advocate for low-income families and individuals.  CAC's programs include early childhood education, housing assistance, energy and weatherization, and food assistance.  
CAC of Howard County Newsletter, Spring 2017
Message from the President  
On May 2, I had the privilege of testifying before the Howard County Council in support of the County Executive Allan Kittleman's FY 2018 proposed operating budget.  I would like to take this opportunity to share excerpts of the testimony with you.

"CAC's mission is to diminish poverty, enable self-sufficiency and advocate for low-income families.

This evening, I'd like to spend a couple of minutes to thank you for your incredible support and leadership and for having your finger on the pulse of the needs of the Howard County families who work so hard and yet struggle to make ends meet.

Thank you.  I look across the days and I can easily recite dozens of ways you have so painstakingly assured that our community stands tall as it relates to taking care of our most vulnerable citizens.

Thank you for the many ways you have supported our efforts to end hunger in Howard County and for taking a stance by helping purchase a permanent home for the Howard County Food Bank. Last year, we supported more than 27,000 people at the Food Bank.  At our new space on Gerwig Lane, we are now providing a one stop shop opportunity whereby applicants can receive not only food assistance but file for energy, housing and Head Start services.

Additionally, we are now open Wednesday evening until 8 pm and Saturdays until noon - giving working families an opportunity to shop after work hours.

I am also happy to report that we have signed a system-wide Memorandum of Understanding with the Howard County Public School System, which makes setting up pantries at the schools much easier.  We now have pantries at the Bryant Woods and Longfellow Elementary schools and set up a monthly pop up pantry at Phelps Luck Elementary School.

Thank you for the ways you have supported affordable housing as well as programs that allow us to help families prevent eviction and homelessness.

Thank you for supporting the Head Start program and assuring that 322 children receive full-day full-year, high-quality early childhood education and that their parents are supported through a 2 Generation approach that creates pathways to education and employment, thus mitigating against multigenerational poverty.

How many of us know individuals who get paid less than $20 per hour?  In reality, more than half of the jobs in Maryland pay $10 to $15 per hour. Yet the average survival budget for a family of four in Howard County is about $76,000.  That translates to an hourly wage of $36. 

That's a pretty wide gap to fill. That's where the struggle comes in.

In Howard County, 22% of our residents face hardship as they try to meet the most basic necessities of daily life - like food, housing, energy and early childhood education.
The challenges faced by this segment of our population are widespread and have significant impact on their families and the society as a whole.  It's not just about them, it's about the entire community.

Without a doubt, and time after time, you have each so vigorously demonstrated your support and commitment to helping strengthen human services programs in Howard County.

On behalf of our board, our staff, and so many families who benefit from the services you enable us to provide. Thank you so much."

CAC's Garden Opens With BGE's Support

CAC's garden that supplies food to the Howard County Food Bank officially opened with a bit of fanfare and a lot of hard work on April 12. It is located at the Long Reach Garden Plot site in Columbia.
CAC President Bita Dayhoff delivered welcoming remarks to the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company's 10 employees and other volunteers on hand.  She praised BGE's role in providing the land for CAC's garden when it began in 2010 and for its continued support while volunteers munched on box lunches provided by BGE.
Volunteer Coordinator Sarah Schindehette also greeted the volunteers and provided information about CAC's services.
Then, with a light breeze blowing and warmth radiating from the sun and the group's camaraderie, volunteers (many clad in BGE green shirts) weeded, tilled, fertilized, and planted the first crop of produce.  It included broccoli, kale, collards, and cabbage.

CAC Salutes its Volunteers
Meet some of CAC volunteers and read how important they are to the Howard County Food Bank, Community Garden, Head Start, and CAC's main office.


The Law Offices of Kirk Halpin & Associates, P.A. in Clarksville combined pleasure and fundraising at the Brunswick Zone in Columbia on Feb. 26.
The firm's staff, family, friends and clients bowled and enjoyed a catered lunch, compliments of the law firm. There was one request - that participants make a financial  and/or food donation to the Howard County Food Bank.
The food bank was bowled over by participants' generosity - $5,300 and 922 pounds of food were collected - and by the firm's compassion for helping others in the community.  


Each CAC team member strives for excellence in our quest to enhance the  lives of those in our community. We realize it takes a tremendous team effort from each and every member of our staff.   Read here about why these 3 were selected as CAC Champions this quarter. 


Welcome and get to know CAC's   NEW EMPLOYEES.


When shopping online through Amazon, consider using our  UNIQUE AMAZON LINK  to make your purchases.  This link is to the same Amazon site you are used to, just has a unique way of tracking towards OUR organization and donates a portion of your purchase to CAC. 

Win-Win!  Please tell your friends and bookmark this unique link for future purchases. (The link can also be found on the donation page of our WEBSITE).

Playgrounds Do Wonders for Children, 
But They Come with a Price Tag

Old Cedar Lane Head Start's current playground equipment consists of a balance beam and a small freestanding unit with two ladders and not much else.  The school would like to add more equipment for the 56 preschoolers who attend.

Fruit and Vegetables are Always in Season at the 
Howard County Food Bank

There's a good reason parents tell their children to eat more fruits and vegetables - they are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and they are low in calories. In other words, fresh produce can do wonders for our health and waistlines.
That's why the Howard County Food Bank is very grateful to local farmers and individuals who donate produce, and for the volunteers who grow vegetables in the Food Bank's Long Reach Garden Plot in Columbia.


Scouts Show A Lot of Drive 

  Scouts were out in full force in early March to collect food for the Howard County Food Bank and numerous area food pantries.  This effort, called Scouting for Food (SFF), began on March 4 when scouts dropped off grocery bags at area homes with a note asking for food donations.  On March 11, scouts returned to those homes to collect filled bags and transport donated food to their assigned food pantry locations. 

CAC's dedicated staff of  100  employees provides services for 35,000 Howard County residents.  That's a lot of people relying on us every day to provide basic services.

And we've done a pretty good job so far.

But the need for our services has increased  243% over the past six years, so we are seeking help from the Howard County community to k eep up with the demand.

There are many ways to contribute- through financial or in-kind donations and by volunteering. Your generous donations help CAC:
  • Operate the Howard County Food Bank
  • Administer the Head Start program for almost 300 pre-K children
  • Provide energy/weatherization help
  • Offer housing assistance to prevent homelessness.
To secure your commitment to CAC and Howard County residents living in poverty, please contact Jen Grieb at 410-313-6171. She would be thrilled to walk you through how to get involved.

You can even visit our website and donate directly.