Salisbury Urban Ministries helps with an array of needs

Did your parents ever use the phrase, “In a pickle?”

It has an old-timey ring to it, but it means being in a really difficult situation.

Jane Anderson (not her real name) was recently in about as big a pickle as a human being can be in. She had become pregnant by a man her family disapproved of so bitterly that they threw her out of the house.

She arrived in Salisbury, heavily pregnant, with no money and only the clothes on her back. Soon thereafter, she gave received care at Peninsula Regional Medical Center and, mercifully, she and her newborn were able to get into a shelter.    

That should have meant some respite, but it didn’t turn out that way. Almost immediately, her infant contracted pneumonia, and since this disease is highly contagious and a mortal threat to the other young children there, she was asked to leave.

Social Services arranged for her to stay in a hotel, but once there, this young woman was, alone with no money, no food, and trying to care for her ill child even though she had no medical training.

Oh, and something else: Her delivery had been a difficult one and she wasn’t fully recovered herself.

Young Jane Anderson was truly in a pickle.

Fortunately, her life quickly changed for the better. Salisbury Urban Ministries was able to step in and assistance in turning things around.

The organization was immediately able to help with food and some supplies, and they were able to coordinate medical help and additional clothing.


For Debbie Donaway, Executive Director of Urban Ministries, Anderson’s story resulted in something that a few days later that made her realize all over again that, “God has put me in my current job for a reason. I received a photograph of Janie and her little child, and they’re healthy, clothed, happy, and safe.”

Donaway gets to see a continuing parade of lives that are made better because of the work of her organization. As an example, the Kids Café helps 13 at risk children with hot meals and intensive tutoring.

Salisbury Urban Ministries can intervene and help, when for example, they discover that a child has lost her glasses and there’s no money for new ones.  Or something that really tugs at Donaway’s heart strings, there are children whose parent has a drug problem and the spare money gets spent on the parent’s addiction instead of clothes for the child.

The youngster comes in wearing clothes that are way too small, possibly ones that would have fit a couple of years ago.  Salisbury Urban Ministries can, in a moment, outfit the youngster in clothes that fit.

Imagine what it does for the youngster’s self-esteem to be wearing the right clothes, as opposed to having his or her poverty signaled like a flag.

Salisbury Urban Ministries has other programs, including prescription assistance, and God’s Kitchen, which provides lunch for the impoverished, and the Men’s Welcome Center offers a place for homeless men to take a hot shower and a place to get laundry done.

Donaway hopes that you’ll attend their CARE for the Cause fundraiser on Feb. 28 at Christ United Methodist Church on Phillip Morris Drive. There’s no charge, there will be music and entertainment, and Donaway hopes you’ll bring your checkbook.

If you can’t attend the fundraiser, they’d welcome donations of non-perishable food, and they have a particular need right now for sleeping bags.

Contact Donaway at or call them at 410-749-1563.

Salisbury author Mitzi Perdue writes about local United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore funded agencies for Salisbury Independent.


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