Foundation loan to help Habitat for Humanity

Savage/North Laurel

November 12, 2006

The Columbia Foundation has made a below-market-value loan of $50,000 to Habitat for Humanity -- Howard County to help purchase property in Jessup.

The organization will build two affordable homes on the property and make them available to purchase for low- to moderate-income families living or working in Howard County who would otherwise be unable to afford a home in the county.

The goal of Habitat for Humanity is to integrate affordable housing into existing neighborhoods.

Money for grant and loan programs comes primarily from income generated by the foundation's endowment, which is supported by more than 200 funds established by Howard County businesses, families and individuals. Part of the loan was made possible by the Ruth Keeton Affordable Housing Fund, managed by the foundation.

The foundation has awarded nearly $9 million in grants to Howard County nonprofit organizations providing human service, arts, cultural, educational and civic programs.

Around Town

Help needed -- Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services Inc. is seeking donors to help provide food and gifts to about 150 families during the holiday season. Donors can participate in an "Adopt-a-Family" program, providing food and gifts for an entire family, or purchase grocery gift cards, gift certificates and toys for LARS to distribute to individuals and families that have not been adopted. Turkeys, hams and trimmings also are needed for holiday food baskets. Moonyeen Prosser, 301-776-0442.

History of Savage -- The Savage Historical Society's 2007 calendar, "Sketches of the Savage I Remember," which features the art of Laurence H. Whitehead Sr., can be ordered. 301-725-1241.

Holiday crafts -- The South Laurel Recreation Council will hold its 31st anniversary Holiday Craft Fair from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at Deerfield Run Community Center, Laurel. Admission is free, and door prizes and refreshments are planned. Continuous free shuttle service will be offered from Towne Centre Shopping Center on Route 197 and Contee Road. Gifts and decorations for the home will be available. Door prizes, refreshments, bake sales and lunch will be available. Those who attend will have an opportunity to register for the council's holiday workshops for children, teens, adults and families. Deerfield Run Elementary School and Community Center is at 13000 Laurel-Bowie Road (Route 197, near Contee Road). 301-776-2805.

At the library -- The Savage branch library, 9525 Durness Lane, will hold a meeting of its Writer's Circle at 7 p.m. tomorrow. The group offers an opportunity to share original writing with other aspiring authors for support and feedback. Registration is not required. 410-880-5980.

Bluegrass -- Savage Bluegrass will appear at Oliver's Old Towne Tavern, 531 Main St., Laurel, at 7 p.m. Tuesday. 301-490-9200.

Open house -- Laurel Museum Shop, 817 Main St., Laurel, will hold an open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 9. Green wreaths decorated by the Snow Hill Garden Club and Laurel memorabilia, including the museum's brass ornament collectible series, will be for sale. The sale will feature the 2006 ornament depicting the historical church building of St. Mary of the Mill. Other holiday ornaments, afghans depicting Laurel scenes and stocking stuffers will also be available. Free refreshments will be served, and museum tours will be offered. 301-725-7975.

For families -- Family and Children's Services is expanding its offerings at Whiskey Bottom Shopping Center in North Laurel with the goal of creating a one-stop shop of services for those in need of counseling or other assistance. Among the nonprofit groups participating are Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, the Domestic Violence Center, FIRN and the Community Action Council. Family and Children's Services offers counseling, employee assistance, in-home services for elderly and disabled people and a Healthy Families program for first-time parents.

The Community Action Council, available from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, offers help with eviction prevention, energy assistance and crisis intervention. 301-498- 7509 or 410-313-6440.

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