The funding was awarded Oct. 12 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture via the American Rescue Plan to support rural health care facilities. A total of $110 million in grants were given out across the United States.
Of the money that the Westminster Rescue Mission received, $910,400 will go to improving infrastructure, according to Executive Director Stephanie Halley, such as purchasing a new refrigerated truck that will help expand food distribution.
Halley added that it is often more difficult to raise funds for infrastructure than for other projects.
“Need has just grown,” Halley said, “and with our evolving place as a hub where we are getting food to and from places and people, we absolutely need that kind of infrastructure.”
The grant money also will be used to repave heavily trafficked parking lots, install ample outdoor lighting and replace the facility’s traditional lock system with a keyless entry system to improve security. Westminster Rescue Mission and Addiction Healing Center is at 658 Lucabaugh Mill Road.
“It gets pretty dark out here in rural Carroll County,” Halley said, “and we need to keep our people on campus safe. We need to provide safety and security so that when people are coming onto our campus, not only are we safe in terms of maneuvering trucks and things like that, but also that people are safe and feel safe.”
The Addiction Healing Center at Westminster Rescue Mission received $88,000 in federal funding to help offset staffing expenses that increased due to COVID-19 and an increased need for services.
“Rates of drug abuse and usage have just been climbing in the past few years,” Halley said, “and we have pretty good documentation that says since COVID those numbers really went up.”
Westminster Rescue Mission is a nonprofit and a Medicaid provider and does not turn away anyone in need of food or addiction services.
Halley said federal investment in food security and substance abuse treatment facilities is money well spent because ignoring these problems will cost taxpayers more in the long run.
“Food insecurity and drug and alcohol issues are just among the factors affecting rural communities,” she said, “but I think it’s very wise of them to invest in these areas because we’re not immune to these problems in rural areas.”
Halley said the addition of a detox center at the rescue mission to provide patients a safe way to quit addictive substances, is at the top of her wish list.
Access Carroll Integrated Health Care, at 10 Distillery Drive, Suite 200, in Westminster, does offer an ambulatory detox program in the meantime.
Read the article on the Carroll County Times here