Miracle of the Loaves and the Side Dishes at MD Food Bank (How to Help without Leaving the House)

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With Thanksgiving a week away, amid contemplating how to cram sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole and cheesy scalloped potatoes in the same tiny oven at the same time, we found ourselves remembering that many Marylanders have far more serious problems concerning food, like not enough of it. That got us thinking about the amazing Maryland Food Bank, which procures food and distributes meals to 600 small and large partners, like emergency shelters, soup kitchens, and food pantries — including the CARES Food Pantry in Govans and the Helping Up Mission in Baltimore.

The Food Bank feeds thousands upon thousands of people, not just on Turkey Day, but every single day of the year!

“More than 460,000 Maryland residents are ‘hungry,’ in our service area, which is the entire state except Prince Georges and Montgomery County,” explains Amanda Knittle, interim communications manager at the MD Food Bank. “Unique to Maryland: 45 percent deemed hungry are not eligible for federal food assistance programs; their incomes are considered too high.”

While your first generous thought might be to bag up canned goods for the organization, that’s actually not the most efficient approach. The Food Bank receives regular donations in bulk, from the M&T Bank Stadium and Oriole Park, Oakcrest and Charlestown retirement communities — the latter donate 400 pounds of food weekly. Capital Grille shares 100 pounds of food twice a week. The organization also receives good grub from McCormick and Schmick’s.

“Our drivers go out and pick up these donated items,” Knittle explains. “To make it worth the investment of drivers and gas, it’s more efficient to have a larger donation.”

Ongoing support is essential! You can enhance the Food Banks phenomenal efforts this Thanksgiving season and beyond by merely going online to give.

“Our business is to procure food — we have people who are food sourcers. They find the best food at the best prices. Somebody’s dollar can go much further through us,” Knittle says.

So, check out the virtual food drive.

Give money. Every dollar means serious nourishment.

Are you a Ravens’ fan? For every $10 worth of food that you donate through the Ravens Online Food Drive, you’ll be entered to win two tickets to a Ravens vs. Colts home game in December.  $10 = one entry, $20 = two entries, $100 = 10 entries! Deadline for entry is November 20.

You can even help on Thanksgiving weekend, when Mr. Rain’s Funhouse the restaurant at the AVAM will collect funds to benefit the MD Food Bank.

Heartwarming end note: More than 9600 Thanksgiving “End Hunger” holiday boxes have already been assembled, through the MD Food Bank, containing kale, green beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing, mac and cheese, and pumpkin pie fixings. Each feeds 10. They will be distributed with a turkey, too. (Orioles’ wives sponsored a fundraiser this summer. Other donors include: C&S, Shoprite, Giant, WYPR/Eddie’s.)

Go online and help the Maryland Food Bank multiply modest money into miraculously nourishing meals. You’ll have a happier holiday for it!



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