Those Who Make a Difference
Those Who Make a Difference
by Jennifer LB Leese
"Starvation is a condition in which a person lacks food for a considerable length of time. In America, today, starvation is one of the major health problems in society. Starvation is targeting children, immigrants, and rural families.
Many immigrants have come to America because they wanted a better life, but they are running into problems. Their minimum-wage paying jobs are not earning them enough money to pay for high-priced foods in this country.
Did you know that 50% of Americans use food stamps? "One in ten households in the U.S. is living with hunger or is at risk of hunger." Before the problem of starvation gets worse than it already is, something needs to be done fast. There are all kinds of organizations that help with this problem, but people do not realize that those who have must help those who have not."
To make it more real as to the expansion of understanding regarding this issue, the above, "Starvation in America", was written by Christina Robinson, an eleventh grader and member of The Desktop Publishing Class at Clear Spring High School.
THOSE WHO MAKE A DIFFERENCE:
Food Resources, Inc. was born out of the Community Action Council (CAC) when it was decided in 1987 that the food pantry through CAC was just too limiting. "The food was available by the truck load and CAC just didn't have a facility. So they (a bunch of volunteers) started Food Resources and we were incorporated in 1987 and in 1991 became an actual subsidiary distribution organization (SDO), which gave us higher standing with the Maryland Food Bank," said Ruth Anne Callaham, executive director of Food Resources, Inc.
The current location of Food Resources, Inc. (FRI) has served as a regional non-profit food warehouse from which other charitable organizations can obtain food and other items for their feeding programs. FRI, a United Way Agency member of the Maryland Food Bank, currently has 171 member agencies throughout the Tri-State region. They distribute approximately 1.5 million pounds of food a year, touching the lives of over 2,000 families and over 9,500 individuals each month.
"The mission of Food Resources is to take large quantities of food, larger than any other food bank in the area can handle--that's why we're a warehouse--and break it down into smaller entities (cases, boxes, or individual items) and make sure that the agencies out there in the counties can take those and then give those out to people who actually need it," said Ruth Anne.
PANTRY ON WHEELS:
The Food Resources Pantry on Wheels began delivering food to low-income senior communities in October of 2003. Since that time over 100,000 pounds of food has been delivered to more than 230 senior and disabled individuals. "Our concept is to deliver approximately 20 pounds of nutritious food to each household once each month." Each person receives 2 bags of food ranging anywhere from toasted oats to canned chicken and from apples to beef stew.
The Food Resources Senior Pantry on Wheels is a program that provides food per household free of charge each month and is delivered to their community. The food is paid for by a grant from the Washington County Gaming Commission. The Food Resources staff and volunteers manage delivery of the food.
Food is obtained by staff "pulling" food from the Maryland Food Bank as well as "sharing" with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank in Harrisburg and the Cold Storage Food Bank in Chambersburg. "We also receive deliveries from truck drivers and individuals. We had received 8 palettes of bananas and 20 palettes of laundry detergent before."
Food Resources also receives donations from major food drives such as the Postal Carrier Food Drive delivering 9,000 pounds of food in 2005.
To the greatest extent possible each household receives the same amount and types of food. The operating cost of the program is much higher than a traditional food bank, for that reason a suggested contribution of $5.00 is accepted from those households that are financially able and willing to donate. Those households that cannot or do not choose to donate to the program but want the food are still eligible to receive the food.
Food Resources, Inc, statistics:
* 40 food bank and soup kitchen providers in Washington County participate in Food Resources' member agency program.
* 600 households participate in the brown bag PODs (Planning for Opportunity Department).
* 240 households participate in their senior/disabled Pantry on Wheels program.
* 40 day care providers obtain food from Food Resources, Inc. under the State of Maryland Planning council lunch program for under school age children.
"We do not do all of Maryland. It's a--because we're associated with Maryland Food Bank, which is associated with America's Second Harvest, they have carved out for us the possibilities of Washington County and Frederick County. But then we partner with Allegheny County and Garrett County in the west and east all the way down toward Baltimore," said Ruth Anne. "We all trade an share to make sure the food gets where it needs to be."
Seniors, who are loosely grouped together geographically, are encouraged to interact and work together in managing the program in their area. Many do. "We engage the seniors in light volunteer tasks such as folding letters and stuffing envelopes. Many of the POW members seem quite pleased to be part of the Food Resources family."
Several area students/schools help FRI. Laurel Hall students arrive every Monday to pack 30 sets of bags. "I like it. I really enjoy it," said one boy.
Food Resources, Inc. is looking for volunteers to help in the office as well as truck drivers.
EXAMPLE OF WHO THEY HELP:
Mary is an 82 year old lady who came to Food Resources, Inc. recently asking about the availability of food for her and her son, John. John is 65 years old and lives with Mary, but because he is stricken with Parkinson's disease they are not able to get out. May cannot read or write, but a social worker had read her a letter about what Food Resources, Inc. is and what they do for thousands of people in need like she and John were. After Food Resources, Inc. set up Mary for their food pantry delivery program, they proceeded to get her a supply of much needed groceries to take home for her and John. When she asked if she owed any money, she was told that many generous people had already paid for the food so that those in her situation that couldn't pay, wouldn't have to.
There are thousands upon thousands of cases like Mary's in the tri-state area that Food Resources Inc. serves every week of the year.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Food Resources, Inc. is asking for your support. Donations are tax deductible (FRI is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit charitable corporation). To donate, visit www.foodresources.org; call 301-733-4002 or visit 220 McRand Court, Hagerstown.
Whether you're looking to become a member agency, to join Food Resources' brown bag program or for information on how to obtain emergency food packages, FRI's staff is available to take your call. They are trained to work in many different areas of the organization so that they are able to meet the growing needs of our community. FRI's staff is committed to implementing new programs to help those in need throughout the tri-state area.
If you would like information about becoming a member agency or to make a donation please feel free to contact a Food Resources Inc., staff member at 301-733-4002 for assistance.
FRI operates out of a 10,000 square-foot warehouse at 220 McRand Court in Hagerstown, MD. Visit www.foodresources.org; call 301-733-4002 or visit 220 McRand Court, Hagerstown, Maryland to find out more information about how you can join in the fight against hunger.