Image via Feed St. Mary's Facebook

“Feed St. Mary’s” set to open in a few weeks

By: David M. Higgins II

Lexington Park, MD- Feed St. Mary’s is set to open in a few weeks. A “soft opening” will proceed with ordering, delivering, and distributing food to the three plot pantries: Church of the Ascension and Good Samaritan in Lexington Park, MD, and Helping Hands in Mechanicsville, MD.

Feed St. Mary’s was initiated by the Rotary Club of Lexington Park in 2017. The Lexington Park Rotary Club convened a public-private partnership comprised of social services stakeholders, faith- and community-based organizations, and local government agencies to find a solution to the problem of hunger in St. Mary’s County.

The resulting project, Feed St. Mary’s, proposed to partner with the Maryland Food Bank to find space, staffing, volunteers, and food to make adequate nutrition available to those who need it most by creating the first-ever food bank in St. Mary’s County.

The Rotarians have already committed $50,000 to the development of a food bank to serve St. Mary’s County food pantries.

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.*

“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.

In July 2019, Feed St. Mary’s secured space at the U-Haul facility on Great Mills Road in Lexington Park with a 5-year, no-cost lease. The organization was assisted by Commissioner Mike Hewitt in obtaining this. 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.”

To volunteer, email Julie Randall at [email protected]. Anyone who wishes to donate can visit the organization online or email [email protected]. Keep up to date on Feed St. Mary’s on its Facebook Page.

* statistics via Feed St. Mary’s website

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David M. Higgins II

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in Digital Marketing, eventually leading him back to his passion. David started The Southern Maryland Chronicle in December 2017 and has grown it to become the #1 news source in Southern Maryland.

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