Since organizing in early June of 2019, the Community Alliance of South County (CASC) has worked to offer and support programs that address community needs and achieve sustainable results in four primary areas: Community Outreach, Education and Youth, Food Access and Nutrition, and Transportation.
Outreach to the community is the tool which enables us to both listen to and inform.
We listen in order to learn what issues are of most importance to our neighbors. We inform in order to provide our neighbors with ideas and resources that enable them to address issues and solve problems. Our community outreach is an on-going effort.
We have sponsored public information sessions in which members of the community were invited to discuss issues, raise concerns and propose solutions on topics such as
food insufficiency in South County, disengaged youth, and opportunities in the trades.
We will resume in-person information sessions when health-related restrictions are relaxed.
We have listened to our neighbors and shared information during various events hosted by community organizations, including:
Ralph Bunche Center Community Day (Summer 2019)
National Night Out, Shady Side (Summer 2019)
Multi-Cultural Picnic at Wayson Woods community (Summer 2019)
South County Fiesta at the Deale Library (Fall 2019) and
Edgewater Library Resource Fair (Spring 2020).
When health-related restrictions are relaxed, we will participate in similar events as they are scheduled.
Community Resource Hub
We have served as a resource to the community for sharing information and making connections. We have an extensive network of contacts to which we communicate
information about events, opportunities and general news. We have also connected those looking to serve with opportunities to do so. We have paired groups interested
in providing financial support with programs needing funding. We have connected individuals interested in volunteering with programs needing volunteers. And we have referred organizations interested in utilizing their resources to assist in COVID relief with County programs providing such services.
In July of 2020 we began publishing a monthly calendar of Food Pantries in the South County area, as well as a comprehensive list of emergency food resources available to South County residents during the pandemic. We will continue to publish these resources as long as there is a need to do so.
Education and Youth
Our focus on issues facing youth in our community and schools has led to our participation in several programs aimed at delivering services to students in our county. We work together with members of Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Anne Arundel County Public Library and community organizations to support existing programs and to develop new initiatives to meet specific needs. Our work in the areas of education and youth is on-going.
STAIR Program Support
During the 2019-2020 school year, we recruited four volunteers to the STAIR program. This program (Start The Adventure In Reading - Annapolis) is designed to help second grade students who strugle with reading to improve their skills and develop confidence in their ability to read. We will work with this program in the future should it again be
offered in elementary schools in South County.
During the 2019-2020 school year, we provided volunteers and financial resources for the Bountiful Backpacks Weekend Food Program for Tracey's Elementary School.
Our contributions made it possible for the program to meet an increased need to serve forty students each week by donating food, securing funding, volunteering, and recruiting additional volunteers to assist with packing and delivery. In addition, we provided, packed and delivered bags of food for the forty students during periods not covered by the established program. We rejoined this effort when it resumed in January of 2021 in support of students during the extended school closure.
On-Line Arts Institute for South
During the summer of 2020, we were able to obtain scholarships for four South County students to attend an on-line art institute hosted by Creating Communities . This institute was offered in lieu of the summer camp that was planned for South County youth but was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Plans are underway to offer
this camp during the summer of 2021.
Art and Eduction Supplies for South County Students
During the summer of 2020, we obtained, through the generous support of Creating Communities, sixty bags filled with children's art supplies, games, and books which we then distributed to children living in several of the mobile home communities in South County.
Food Access and Nutrition
Our focus on enhancing the ability of our neighbors to secure healthy food has taken on heightened significance in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have expanded our work in assisting our neighbors to obtain food. We continue to encourage healthy eating and the development of self-sustaining food access solutions. Our work in the area of food access and nutrition will continue to evolve while remaining an on-going project.
Little Free Pantry
CASC members constructed a Little Free Pantry, placed it with a sponsoring organization, and provide items to initially stock the pantry. South County Community Church in Shady Side now maintains the pantry.
Working with SCAN Board members, we conducted outreach to mobile home communities to inform about - and expand access to - the SCAN food pantry. SCAN provided information and assistance in signing-up qualified residents, and we provided information about transportation options, in particular the new Call 'N Ride service.
We have continued this effort through development and distribution of material, printed in English and in Spanish, which is included in food bags distributed through the
Bountiful Backpacks Weekend Food program. On-site sign-up events will resume when health safety regulations permit.
We have embarked on a multi-faceted project whose aim is to promote "Food that is Equitable, Accessible and Sustainable for Tomorrow" in South County, Anne Arundel County. With the generous support of the Anne Arundel County Partnership for
Children, and assistance from Greenstreet Gardens in Lothian, we were able to deliver container gardening kits to more than sixty-five residents for South County. These kits included grow bags, potting mix, seedling plants and/or seeds, and tools, as well as instructions on growing the edible plants. A new phase of this project will begin in
Spring of 2021.
Our understanding that lack of access to transportation is critical to addressing most other issues of the residents of South County, transportation was our highest priority in 2019. We helped define the community's transportation needs and inform decisions regarding alternatives to the South County Circulator. We consider options for those with limited or no access to transportation in each of our
Call N' R'ide Service
In support of the new Call N' Ride system for South County, we conducted public information sessions and provided information for publication in the Bay Weekly. We
designed, prepared and distribute a "Call N' Ride Hints" flyer, in both English and Spanish, aimed at simplifying information about the service and to describe how to access it. We distributed "Call N' Ride Hints" flyers to more than one-hundred fifty businesses, medical and dental offices, and churches in South County. We continue
to promote use of the service in all our programs and events.