“There’s no denying this pandemic has placed new demands and challenges on how we live, work and play. The challenges are very different for all of us and at Hahn’s their team of employees jumped right in to help the community.
Almost every week from April 23rd to June 27th Hahn’s safely donated products to the food pantry. A donation of over 1,000 lbs. of bacon and ham helped the pantry provide needed protein to the community. Together, Hahn’s helped serve as many as 200 families a week and a total of 1,665 household food distributions were made. According to the Baltimore Metropolitan Council that equates to 37,851 meals distributed in those 10 weeks.
While we couldn’t shake hands or give a “high five,” the chance to smile and wave to the friendly caring staff, along with knowing that together we were providing our community with a much-needed necessity; was amazing. I want to send a sincere thank-you to Hahn’s of Westminster and their supportive staff for all their help. You truly are a business that cares about the local community. You are hogs down the BEST!”
Ann Gilbert, Organizer of the Pop-Up Pantry and Westminster City Council Member
More than a month since closing its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Carroll County Food Sunday is back in the business of distributing food to people who need it, thanks to a partnership with the membership of Grace Lutheran Church, in Westminster, and their Pop Up Food Drive.
Anyone in need of food can receive items collected as part of Grace Lutheran’s own food drive, combined with items supplied by Food Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays and Saturdays, including Saturday April 25. Food will be loaded by volunteers into the trunks of those who need it in the church’s parking lot at 21 Carroll St.
“It is open to anybody. I am not asking for social security cards, I am not asking for a food stamp card right now given what is going on in the world and the community,” said Ann Gilbert, a member of Grace Lutheran Church and the organizer of the food drive “The only thing I am asking for is people’s names, the number of people in their house and their telephone number.”
Grace Lutheran began taking food donations from those that are able on April 17, and will continue to do so from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday going forward, according to Gilbert. The same process will apply, with volunteers unloading food items from the trunks of vehicles in the church parking lot.
“We’re taking canned fruit. Your pastas and sauces. Shelf sustainable food is what is desired more than anything,” Gilbert said, though fresh produce is also acceptable. “Everything has to get wiped down and sit for three days before it gets redistributed.”
The idea began with Gilbert recognizing there were people struggling in the community to get enough food weeks into social distancing.
“There was a need and there wasn’t the traditional Carroll County Food Sunday and larger pantries That were serving the community,” she said. Some people maybe have loaded up on food or stretched their supply initially, but, “that two-week supply is starting to dwindle and if they’re not working, that $1,200 stimulus is probably going to go to their mortgage or their rent. They still need money for food.”
Gilbert pitched the idea of a food drive to the church leadership, who loved it, she said, but they also reached out to Ed Leister, another church member and executive director of Food Sunday, which had stopped distributing food since so many of its volunteers were at high risk for COVID-19.
“Our problem at Food Sunday is we don’t want to deal with the public because of the age of our people,” Leister said. “I said, ‘Ann, I could provide you food if you all would be the distributor.’”
And so the partnership began, with Food Sunday delivering 12-pound bags of prepackaged food that was handed out Thursday, an amount of food Food Sunday typically hands out for a family of three, Leister said, minus spoilables such as eggs and milk.
“We are hoping we will be able to provide her enough food to do 100 distributions weekly,” he said.
Some community organizations and businesses, meanwhile, are also stepping up, according to Gilbert.
“Hahn’s of Westminster has called me and will be making a weekly donation,” she said. “They will be donating bacon, large hams, whatever they have for the week is what we will be picking up.”
Anyone interested in donating or volunteering can reach Gilbert by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At this point, there is no end date in site for the arrangement.
“We will be the distribution site for Carroll County Food Sunday until they can either pick it up again as business as usual,” Gilbert said. “I don’t know if that no need will come around anytime soon.”