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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Worcester County G.O.L.D. making rounds at meetings

(Feb. 26, 2015) Representatives of the Snow Hill-based nonprofit organization, Worcester County G.O.L.D., have been making the rounds in the county and were in Berlin on Monday to give an operational update to the mayor and council.
Executive Director Claire Otterbein said the stop was part of a multi-town campaign that already included Snow Hill and Pocomoke, with Ocean City the next stop on the list.
“We primarily do financial assistance for people in need in Worcester County,” Otterbein said. “The biggest part of what we’re doing funding-wise and time-wise is emergency financial assistance for things like preventing evictions for people, preventing utility disconnections, food in emergency situations, helping with medication costs and sometimes clothing and transportation when it’s an emergency need. We’re really focused on trying to meet the needs of needy people in Worcester County.”
Otterbein said the organization is using the campaign to raise awareness.
“Our board members have been making a little tour of town meetings in Worcester County just trying to get the word out and make sure that people know what we’re working on for the people in need in their county,” she said.
According to its 2014 annual report, the organization provided more than $48,000 in emergency assistance funds through the Rainbow Fund, serving 1,933 individuals and 847 families in the county.
Under the fund, 428 people benefited from food assistance, 610 people benefited from utility assistance and 274 people benefited from housing assistance.
More than 100 families, including 31 foster children, received diapers, baby clothing and hygiene items from G.O.L.D.’s “Baby and Adult Care Pantry.” Forty-six people benefited from the “Senior and Other Adult Resources” fund, including help with utility bills, major appliances, home repairs and medical equipment.
Through special projects, the nonprofit also distributed 168 “spring baskets” to needy children, outfitted 529 children with backpacks and school supplies and gave out 600 “back-to-school” haircut certificates.
Holiday programs provided 235 Thanksgiving food boxes, served 905 individuals with clothing, food and gifts, gave 31 bikes to children and used a donation by the Ocean City Elks Club of $2,000 in Wal-Mart gift cards to buy winter coats.
Otterbein said Town of Berlin employees, including the police department, were major participants in several of the organization’s programs.
“We have a holiday program where people get matched up with and do Christmas presents for children, and they have been big supporters of that every year,” Otterbein said. “They adopt a bunch of people for Christmas and Easter baskets and things like that. Their employees have been very big partners with us.”
January and February are critical fundraising periods for many nonprofits, Otterbein said.
“Now that Christmas is over, there’s always a little slump, so we’re definitely in need of financial contributions,” she said. “With the high utility bills and the cold, the need is still really high this time of year. People struggle year-round, so there’s always a need.”