Through the Annual Fund, the Collington Foundation supports the Outreach Committee of the Collington Residents Association to serve the broader community as a leader and partner in Prince George’s County. Resident volunteers work on a myriad of projects, including partnerships with schools and like-minded non-profits to help underserved children and families, collecting donated food items to deliver at local food banks, and making sandwiches bi-weekly for the homeless.
After a successful inaugural grant submission, in 2019 the Foundation awarded the committee $14,800 to provide two PG County elementary schools, Kettering and Cora L. Rice Elementary, with needed supplies including Chromebooks, school supplies, new books, backpacks, water bottles, and large Post-It Easel pads.
Due to the effects of Covid-19, the students at Prince Georges Community College are adjusting to a new normal through remote learning. There is a heightened need to focus attention on further assisting students to prepare them for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Students need more assistance with technology, tuition, course materials, healthcare and tutoring. A number of Collington’s team members are enrolled in this college.
To support this cause, in October 2020, through the Collington resident’s Outreach Committee, the Foundation awarded $5,000 to the Prince Georges County Community College Foundation to participate in their virtual event, “Partners for Success” held on November 19th. “Partners for Success” was an opportunity for stakeholders to gather to highlight and celebrate our shared responsibility and accomplishments around higher education, with individuals and organizations participating throughout the county, state, and region.
Participating in this event fits the Collington strategic plan to “Serve Our Broader Community as an Outstanding Leader & Partner”.
Focusing on the Needs and Wellbeing of Individuals and Families living in Prince George’s County in 2020 and 2021
Because of Covid-19, there is an increased need to provide assistance to the teachers and families at Cora Rice Elementary school and Kettering Elementary school, with both schools having over 70% low income students. There challenges are particularly urgent during this time of virtual learning. While the County has provided Chromebooks and Comcast has provided high speed internet access, teachers are finding that some of their students do not have the necessary supplies to utilize these resources, for example, headphones and the needed mouse are not available in every household. And teachers are lacking some of the basic supplies for virtual learning.
The holidays are a particularly difficult time for many of these families. Over the past two years, the Collington Outreach Committee has adopted five families each from Cora Rice and Kettering, as suggested by the school social worker, providing the children with clothing, books and age appropriate toys. Each family also receives a gift card for food.
Additionally, Collington residents knit scarves and hats for the “Warm Nights” program supporting the Greenbelt Community Church, United Church of Christ. The Outreach Committee has purchased heavy duty wool and cotton socks and gloves to add to the scarves and hats.
In October 2020 the Foundation awarded $6,400 to the Outreach Committee to cover the costs of holiday gifts and food cards, supplies for the teachers and items needed for the “Warm Nights” program. These efforts by the Outreach Committee also provide:
- A better community understanding of the issues and needs facing families in Prince George’s County,
- Encouragement of residents to support, assist, and undertake projects, activities and events that foster the Collington community to be involved with the larger community,
- And cooperation with not-for-profit community organizations whose concern we share.
Providing Food Assistance in Prince George’s County
Collington residents have long supported the Bowie Interfaith Pantry by donating non-perishable items delivered by volunteers. Due to Covid-19 they are no longer accepting packages but have a significant need for monetary donations to make purchases. In May 2020, the Outreach Committee was granted $2,000 for the Interfaith Pantry.
For the past eight years the residents of Collington have made and delivered 144 sandwiches twice a month to the Community Place Café in Hyattsville to feed the homeless. Due to Covid-19 the Café is now closed to serving meals. As an alternative, the Café transitioned to the Community Place Café Food Assistance Program, providing food cards to those in need to purchase food. In May of 2020, the Outreach Committee was granted $2,000 for the Community Café.
Both the Bowie Interfaith Pantry and the Community Place Café Food Assistance Program continue to experience a growing need for assistance to help feed Prince George’s County residents. Lack of employment, health concerns, and rising food costs are continuing to create food insecurity.
In September 2020, the Foundation awarded $5,000 to the Outreach Committee to be divided between these two groups. This grant supported the long term effort of Collington residents to support the Bowie Interfaith Pantry and the Community Place Café Food Assistance Program.