A Hand Up...
Not a Hand Out

Since 2004 Lazarus Caucus, a 501(c)3 has united community partners dedicated to alleviating the plight of the homeless in Baltimore and surrounding areas.  Support is directed to guests of the Westside Men's Homeless Shelter on the Campus of Spring Grove in Catonsville, Maryland.
 (EIN - 20-1414476 )

June 2017

"God's definition of what matters is pretty straightforward. He measures our lives by how we love." 

Francis ChanCrazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Fish Head Cantina Fundraiser Wrap-up 

You may have been on the patio or maybe you didn't make the May fundraiser at the Fish Head Cantina but the remarks, made by Leslie Kruger are worth sharing again. Thank you Leslie!

Homelessness is closer than you think.
People who reside in homeless shelters are somebody's child, somebody's sibling, somebody's cousin, somebody's parent. 
You may think homelessness will never affect you. You might be amazed to learn how many people around you are affected by it. 
There are three women in my office who have had family members who have resided in the Westside Men's Shelter. One ex-husband.  One nephew. One stepson. I had breakfast with the stepmother just the other day. A poised, well-known, highly regarded professional, she had to fight to hold back the tears as she recalled her stepson's journey with drug addiction. Her stepson died a few months after he left the shelter. 
Homelessness is closer than you think.
At this event last year, a family friend was inspired to organize a birthday bash at the Westside Men's Shelter. (You may be aware that Lazarus Caucus organizes monthly birthday celebrations for the guests of the shelter.) Sheila Higdon and her sisters planned a birthday party that honored their father, a veteran. All of the decorations were red, white, and blue. They led the gentlemen in the shelter in the pledge of allegiance. The most important moment of the night, however, was when Sheila recognized one of the residents - a former colleague. This gentleman, who was now homeless, had once served as the chief of staff for a Maryland State Senator. 
Homelessness is closer than you think.
Jim's sisters, Sarah and Megan, are both school teachers in the Howard County Public School System. They have both taught students who were homeless. 
One girl became homeless, along with her mother, after her mother became ill and lost her job; then they lost their house. They stayed in a shelter and are now living in a motel. The school system provides a cab to take the girl to and from school each day. 
Another girl's family lost their home when her grandmother passed away a few months ago. 
Homelessness is closer than you think.
We're not talking about strangers. We're talking about people you know or family members of people you know. 

Resource Room Volunteers - True Servant-Leaders
Lazarus volunteers - we call them Resource Center Volunteers - visit the shelter three mornings a week and meet privately with any gentleman who signs up. These wonderful, caring volunteers meet face-to-face with the residents and assess what they need or what Lazarus can provide to help get them get back on their feet. These aren't typically long-term solutions but critical short-term assistance. Requests range from clothing, to transportation, to help obtaining identification documentation, such as a driver's license or a birth certificate, to getting a haircut. We recently had a young man who needed to have braces removed. Lazarus found an orthodontist who was willing to remove the braces for free. The services the men need vary as widely as the men themselves. 

These individuals are true servant-leaders. They demonstrate to me and the rest of the world what servant-leadership looks like. There is no task, no job that is beneath a servant-leader. The servant-leader is focused not on herself or himself but on the needs and the good of the other. 
Jesus demonstrates what servant-leadership looks like on Maundy Thursday - better known as the Last Supper - when he washes the feet of the disciples. After washing their feet, Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment - to love one another. He tells them "Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another." And our prayer this afternoon is that we obey Jesus' command - that we love one another. 

Thank You From Leslie Kruger!

This is the Kruger family's second year raising money for Lazarus Caucus. Last year it was largely a family effort. This year we sought help from sponsors and partners, which has made everything a lot more manageable and a bit more rewarding.
Before I thank our sponsors and partners, I'd like to introduce some family members. They have each had a role in getting this event off the ground.
My husband: Jim
Every married person knows that you can't pursue an interest or a passion without the support of your spouse. Jim does more than support me. He is by my side every step of the way. He attends board meetings and tracks all of the donations and expenses before we turn everything over to the Lazarus Caucus treasurer. As a matter of fact, Jim told me a few days before the event that we had already raised enough money to cover our expenses, so every dollar we collect here today will go directly to Lazarus Caucus and provide resources and services to the residents of the Westside Men's Shelter!
Next, I'd like to introduce...
Jim's parents: Jim and Kathy
When my husband Jim and I were thinking that we might have the wherewithal to pull a fundraiser like this together, Jim and Kathy immediately offered to match our contribution and help raise money from their friends and neighbors. They're amazing people - and I'm just scratching the surface with these few words of praise.
My mother: June ... because nothing happens without Mom!
Jim's sisters: Sarah and Megan
Megan's children: Sam and Grace

Thank You to our Sponsors!

Now I have to devote some time to thanking our sponsors and partners...
The first individual we approached about sponsorship was Mike Warden, general manager of operations at Fish Head Cantina. Mike checked with the big boss, Scott Fisher, who quickly committed to helping us in any way he could.
And they have.
Fish Head Cantina has been an enthusiastic, supportive partner. Mike, in particular, has responded to numerous inquiries from me and freely offered advice. He even helped carry a grill ... several times. I couldn't be more pleased with our partnership.
Fish Head Cantina is a great community partner in general. They are active with the Greater Arbutus Business Association and supportive of Arbutus Little League, breast cancer research, Maryland Food Bank, Southwest Emergency Services (better known as SWES), the Winwood Swim Team - and that's just what I know about. They also co-hosted a fundraiser with Stan Harris and Teri Chambers raising money for Historic Ellicott City. Now they're helping us today. We couldn't be more appreciative.
The next business I approached was Candle Light Funeral Home by Craig Witzke. The Witzkes have been providing meaningful personalized funeral services to families since 1912. Today, three generations of Witzkes still manage the day-to-day operations: Russell Witzke, Craig Witzke, and Ashley Witzke. Ashley represents the fifth generation of her family to work in the funeral business. She's also a mighty impressive young lady. Then there's Bentley - Ashley's certified support dog who has positively stolen the hearts of Catonsville. Bentley provides comfort and companionship to individuals who visit the funeral home. The Witzke legacy of civic engagement is as impressive as their tenure in the funeral industry. We are grateful for their support.
We have a handful of friends who have helped us, and I want to give them some recognition and thanks also.

Did you see this poster? We have received countless compliments on the design. The design features silhouettes of the actual band members. The designer, Jeff Wilson, is an artist ... a painter. Truth be told ... Jeff isn't interested in anything that takes him away from painting. That's where his heart is, so I know his efforts for us were a labor of love. We are extremely grateful for Jeff's time and humbled by his talent. Thank you, Jeff.
The next person I want to thank is Teri Chambers. Teri took more than 300 pictures at last year's event. She is taking pictures again today. I used many of Teri's pictures on Facebook posts, and Jeff used Teri's pictures to create the silhouettes. Thank you, Teri, for these priceless treasures.
Finally, I want to thank Mark Miller and Pam Long. Pam owns Pam Long Photography in Historic Ellicott City. Pam is here with us today. Mark knew he was not going to be able to attend, but he wanted to be supportive of our efforts, so he recruited Pam to co-create a video. The video combines Rob's music, an interview with Rob, and still photographs to deliver a powerful message. 


Woodstock Music Fest
Saturday June 24

Benefits Homelessness and Disadvantaged Youth


Upcoming Calendar Dates

June 26 -
Meeting Salem Lutheran Church, 7:00PM
July 9 -
Birthday Bash at the Shelter
July 24 -
Meeting Salem Lutheran Church, 7:00PM
August 3 -
Birthday Bash, Salem Lutheran, hosting
August 7 -
Auction Meeting, Salem Lutheran Church, 7:00PM
August 14 -
Auction Meeting, Salem Lutheran Church, 7:00PM
August 21 -
Auction Meeting, Salem Lutheran Church, 7:00PM
September 7 -
Birthday Bash, St. Charles of Brazil, hosting
September 11 -
Auction Meeting, Salem Lutheran Church, 7:00PM
September 15 -
Harvest Gala and Silent Auction, Rolling Road Golf Club
September 25 -
Meeting Salem Lutheran Church, 7:00PM
October 5 -
Birthday Bash, Christian Temple, hosting
October 23 -
Meeting Salem Lutheran Church, 7:00PM
November 2 -
Birthday Bash at the Shelter
November 27 -
Meeting Salem Lutheran Church, 7:00PM 
No Meeting in December - Merry Christmas!

Please consider hosting a Birthday Bash.
(Ages 18 and up only please.)
Meetings are open and we encourage you to attend.

Community Support

MAPLE  AVENUE NEIGHBORHOOD - The Gift of Giving Project - Thank You

Cheers for the Maple Avenue Neighborhood Team led by Eileen Leaman, head cheerleader, who is known to do backflips for the mission of Lazarus Caucus and the needs of the guests of the West Side Shelter! The "Team" collects items from the list below and delivers it to Eileen's house for her to tote over to the shelter.


Milk -6 - 8 / 1 gallon                                                 
Cereal/nutrition bars/oatmeal/grits - serve 120     
Orange Juice -  5/ 1 gal                                               
Bread Products -  enough for 120 -                        
Butter -  4 lb needed ,                                               
Fruit enough for 120 - ex10 doz oranges                  
Coffee -  4/ 11 oz cans                                              
Splenda - 1000 packs                                               
Creamer - 60 oz. (powder)                                      
Sugar - 10 lb                                                            
Jelly -  64 oz                                                                
PAM   2 cans                                                               
Heavy Duty Foil                                                          
 Disposable  Tableware:  120 of ea/meal                  
**JUICE BOXES/POUCHES :  120                       

Lunch Assembly

Bags of Encouragement!

In a world of texting, emails, digital messaging, Snapchat, Instagram,  FaceTime, Facebook, Twitter and so on how do we reach out to the unconnected?  We crave connection, we need love.

Remember a time when someone sent you a random note.  If you can't remember, can you imagine how wonderful it would feel if you received a word of thanks or just a message checking-up on you.

Hundreds of lunches are delivered to the shelter each month and many of them are works of love.  Many caring hands both large and small have taken a moment to offer encouraging words and beautiful artwork.

Thank you to all the lunch-bag builders who feed hearts!

Eileen Leaman, Food Coordinator
If your group is interested in a fantastic fun lunch-making session contact: evleaman@gmail.com
I buy in bulk and go to several stores for least expensive purchases.  The bottom line, to make 120 lunches it costs about $85 (buying some items in bulk) to buy the following...
120 of each item: lunch bags, sandwich bags, napkins, snacks, (bottled water -optional); and, enough bread: 12 loaves, peanut butter SMOOTH (about 250 oz or 6 - 32 oz jars), and jam/jelly (jam is easier to spread - 120 oz or 4 - 30 oz. jars.)
* Some provide water/juice: SAMS brand 40 bottle $2.98 x 3 =$8. 96; Kool-Aid Jammers Variety Pack (40) $5.98x3=$17.94
*Some groups also provide fruit - 120 pieces but this gets expensive
We also need crayons or markers if bags to be decorated , plastic spoons/knives, paper plates, table covering, plastic gloves, and tape/stapler to seal the bags. 
Examples of items needed and costs...
Loaf of store brand White Bread -                                                       $.85                 need 12                        $10.20
Safeway  Kitchens Peanut Butter -SMOOTH 64 OZ                    $7.99               need 4 64 oz jars        $32/20
Jif Creamy Peanut Butter (2 jars, 48 oz. each)                            $8.98               need 3                          $27
Welch's Concord Grape Jelly (30 oz., 2 pk.)                              $3.48               need 2                          $7.00
  #4 Natural Paper Bags (500 ct.)                                                 $12.76             need 1                          $12.76
                                                                                                                                    (cost $3.20 for ~120  lunch)
Ziploc Easy Open Tabs Sandwich Bags (500ct.)                      $7.08               need 1                          $7.08
                                                                                                                                    (cost $1.80 for ~120 lunches)
Paper Napkins - need 120 - purchase anyhwhere        .           $2.00               need 1                          $2.00
Lance Toast Chee Peanut Butter Crackers (40 ct.)                              $6.78               need 3                          $18.34
Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats, Variety (40 ct.)                                  $6.23               need 3                          $18.69
Member's Mark Fruity Snacks (80 ct.)                                               $7.98               need 2                          $16.00
Mott's Medley Assorted Fruit Flavored Snacks (90 ct.)                     $9.98               need 2                          $19.96

Lazarus Caucus Recognized with 
Official Citation from The Maryland General Assembly
Lazarus Caucus has been awarded a Citation of Recognition from the Maryland General Assembly.  


Ways You Can Help!
Join the network of dedicated volunteers whose goal and purpose is to make a difference in the lives of the homeless and underserved. Your support counts!

Lazarus Caucus Officers:
Pat Krenzke, President - E-mail Ms. Krenzke
Jim Troy, Vice President, Resource Room Volunteer
Sue Medicus, Treasurer
Chuck Newton, Secretary
Board of Directors:
Luke Browning, Resource Room Volunteer
Sheri Comisac, Prayer Chain
Clara Croll, Clothing Closet
Clark Gaughan
Jay Ziegler
Leslie Kruger, Fahey Fundraiser Coordinator
Pam Isabel, Birthday Bash Coordinator
John Roth
Glenn Whitman, Resource Room Volunteer

Eileen Leaman, Food Coordinator, in consultation with Westside Kitchen Manager.
Executive Director


A Hand Up - Not A Hand Out