Feed St. Mary’s is a Maryland corporation formed by local individuals committed to alleviating hunger in their community. And it is nearly ready to open for business at its new home at the U-Haul storage facility on Great Mills Road in Lexington Park, MD 20653.
Food banks are climate-controlled storage facilities that supply bulk foods to area pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. St. Mary’s County pantries have had to spend needed resources trucking food available for these pantries and kitchens into St. Mary’s County.
Feed St. Mary’s organizers plan a “soft opening” in the next few weeks to begin ordering, delivering and distributing food for three pilot pantries: Church of the Ascension and Good Samaritan in Lexington Park, MD, and Helping Hands in Mechanicsville, MD.
“Once we work the bugs out with the pilots we will open our doors to additional pantries and soup kitchens that are part of the Maryland Food Bank Network,” said Julie Randall, one of the organizers of this grassroots effort to feed our neighbors in St. Mary’s County, MD.
Lexington Park Rotary Club gave Feed St. Mary’s a $50,000 grant to help the food bank open. The club has committed to further support and volunteer for two years while Feed St. Mary’s, Inc. prepares to be independent. Leonardtown and Charlotte Hall Rotaries are partnering with the Lexington Park club with fundraising, grant writing, volunteers, and consulting expertise for Feed St. Mary’s.
St. Mary’s County Commissioner Mike Hewitt helped the organization obtain a no-cost 5-year lease with U-Haul at its Great Mills Road facility, Ms. Randall said. “We’ve made good progress and our faith community throughout the County has really stepped up. In addition to supplying food to existing pantries and soup kitchens, we’ve set a goal of working with churches and others to open new pantries in under-served areas of the County.”
Feed St. Mary’s, continues to pursue additional partnerships to provide the staffing, volunteers, and food to make adequate nutrition available to those who need it.
- In some St. Mary’s County districts, more than 35% of families are eligible for some form of federal assistance.
- Roughly 32% of St. Mary’s County school children receive Free or Reduced Meals (FARMS).
- In 2020, the food insecure population living in St. Mary’s is projected to be above 35,000, slightly less than 1/3 of the population.
- Without a food bank, St. Mary’s County pantries rely on private donations and grocery purchases to fill their shelves.