Charity in need of new quarters

Group that helps during holidays hopes for accessible spot

April 02, 2001|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

Neighbors in Need, a Westminster charity that provides holiday food and presents for more than 1,000 local families each year, needs a new home.

The nonprofit organization had to move Friday from a donated storefront at Westminster Shopping Center at Englar Road and Route 140. The owner of the center, Washington Real Estate Investment Trust in Kensington, is preparing the 14,670-square-foot storefront for a new tenant.

Although the real estate company does not have a signed agreement, "there are several large national retailers that have expressed interest in the space," said Steve Krupinski, leasing agent for the property. "We need to get it move-in ready for the new tenant, whoever that tenant might be."

Neighbors in Need was asked Tuesday to vacate the store by the close of business Friday. Charity officials scrambled to hire movers, pack boxes and call local business leaders in an unsuccessful attempt to find a new home.

"The owner has been giving Neighbors in Need free space for four years and never took a tax donation for it," said Barbara S. Brown, program coordinator. "We find no fault with the fact that they're going to get paid for the space - they've been wonderful to us - but we have called everyone in the world that we know, and have been unable to find a permanent space."

For now, the tables and chairs that were in the store, and the many items that have been donated to the charity, will be stored in two tractor-trailers.

"We filled hundreds of boxes with clothes and toys - everything we need for our holiday shop," Brown said. "I would love to find a businessperson from the community who has a store in Westminster and is willing to donate it to us. The location is critical because transportation is a problem for many of our clients."

Each year, Neighbors in Need helps families during the holiday season. Throughout the year, the charity collects new toys, clothing, paper products and toiletries. In December, volunteers sort and size items and create a minidepartment store, where shoppers pick up items they need at no cost.

The charity began operating in Westminster more than 20 years ago and grows each year, Brown said.

Anyone who is able to help Neighbors in Need is asked to call Human Services Programs of Carroll County at 410-857-2999.

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