Towne Salute: Bridgitte Bailey
Dec 10, 2018 12:00AM
● By Brian Saucedo
By Caley Breese
Photo by Steve Buchanan Photography
As part of a graduation requirement at DeMatha Catholic High School, Bridgitte Bailey’s son, Cameron, needed to volunteer with an organization throughout his time there. Because he was under 18 when he began, Bailey joined him as a volunteer at Haven Ministries’ food pantry. She had no idea then that eight years later, Haven Ministries would continue to play such as a significant role in her life.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” she says. “After a couple of months, I started seeing some of the same faces. Then, I was seeing people from my neighborhood and people I recognized from around the community, whether they were from the grocery store or shops. It kind of hit home that there are a lot of people who were one paycheck away from needing food.”
Haven Ministries is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those in need by providing shelter, food, clothing, and support. In addition to two food pantries and a homeless shelter, the nonprofit also has a thrift store, a resource center, and the Hope Warehouse, which offers donated products such as appliances, furniture, and other household items at a discounted price.
“Whether it’s somebody that has had years of struggles or somebody whose house caught on fire, Haven Ministries is there for anybody that needs help,” Bailey explains. “It doesn’t matter what their socioeconomic status is; Haven Ministries is there to help.”
Originally from Annapolis, Bailey lives on Kent Island. After a 25-year career in childcare, 50-year-old Bailey now works as the director of electronic communication at her church, St. Christopher’s in Chester.
Bailey recalls that she once saw someone she knew from her community at the food pantry, and it really stuck with her and motivated her to help out even more. Volunteering with Haven Ministries clearly runs in her family, too. Although it was part of a graduation requirement, Bailey says her son fulfilled his hours during his junior year of high school, and continues to volunteer during college. Her daughter, Paige, is involved as well.
“Bridgitte is a longtime volunteer with Haven Ministries that is willing to do anything from bagging produce at the food pantry, preparing food at the homeless shelter, organizing groups of volunteers at fundraisers, or attending board meetings,” Haven Ministries Executive Director Krista Pettit says. “She is always cheerful and approaches each task knowing the end result is helping her neighbor.”
Since starting with Haven Ministries and volunteering at their food pantry, Bailey’s role has vastly evolved. While she still assists with the food pantry, she is also a member of the board of directors, representing St. Christopher’s. Bailey also assists with Haven Ministries’ shelter at Kent Island United Methodist Church, which is open October through April. There, she spends time with guests, and cooks and serves dinner. She also is involved with Haven Ministries’ Friends Fundraising Group. They organize events and fundraisers that help inform the public about the organization and its work. Bailey also spends time volunteering with Farm To Food Bank, picking food from farms, which ends up in food pantries around the state; the American Belgian Malinois Rescue, where she helps transport and foster dogs; and the Tim Tebow Foundation’s “Night to Shine,” which is a prom that celebrates special needs members of the community.
“I like just knowing that people are helped at the end of the day and that you’re making a difference,” she says with a smile. “Knowing that a child is going to have food for the week or for the month makes you feel good.”
“We are so grateful to Bridgitte for her dedication and heart!” Pettit says. “She is truly an example for all of us to follow.”
For more information on Haven Ministries, visit haven-ministries.org