Food insecurity is a big issue right now. It’s both a scary topic and a growing reality. As a mom, I can’t imagine waking up in the morning and being unsure if my growing son will have enough to eat. What must it be like to have to decide between a rent payment and medication, or food and the power bill? As this pandemic continues, more people are facing declining savings, fewer hours at work, and some really formidable questions.
Frederick County is a wonderful place to live. There are so many people here with generous hearts. It is a diverse community in which to live and work, and it is bountiful in many ways. We all know the pandemic has been hard. The Mission has been here for our community through it all. I’ve often said that since I learned about the Mission more than a decade ago, no one in Frederick County should EVER go hungry.
The Mission serves breakfast and lunch 365 days a year – there are no holidays or natural disasters that cause us to close. We started providing food from a small bread aisle in the “basement” to a beautiful building with ample storage space. We adjusted our operations a bit with the pandemic, going from shopping inside to distributing groceries outside.
One of the most important adjustments we have experienced is the creation of our new F.O.O.D. program (Frederick Organizations Optimizing Distribution). Thanks to partners such as the Ausherman Family Foundation, Community Foundation of Frederick County, Delaplaine Foundation, G. Frank Thomas Foundation, Helen J. Serini Foundation, Maryland Food Bank, Truist Foundation (formerly BB&T and SunTrust), and United Way of Frederick County, the Mission created F.O.O.D. to meet the expanding need for food throughout Frederick County.
One way we met this need is by working with our local vendors and the Maryland Food Bank to increase our food intake in order to supply new food distributors. Groups like I Believe in Me, Church of the Redeemer – Frederick Campus, Asian American Center, and over 60 others receive truckloads of food due to these expanded partnerships.
There was also a critical need for collaboration between various local food distributors. Frederick County is a very large place and while people who are in the city tend to think locally, there are large groups of low-income families all over the county (view the ALICE report, here). The goal of this collaboration was to help people in need discover where they can go to get food in their neighborhoods, as well as equipping food providers with specific information regarding which areas are most in need but not yet being reached.
I’m blessed to be managing this program for the Mission. Through collaboration with local partners and with the help of the Frederick County Government, these efforts have already brought this GIS map to life. You are able to look at the whole county or insert a zip code to see where you can find food, what (if any) requirements there are, and hours of operation.
I’m very excited to say that we are making progress. The Mission’s goal and purpose is to change lives now and for eternity. F.O.O.D. is in place to help achieve that purpose. We believe no person should go to bed hungry, no parent or guardian should ever wonder whether or not there is enough to make sure their child is not hungry. If you have any questions about where to find food, please take a look at this map. If you have any questions about how to get involved – holding your own food drive to collect food, holding a distribution to get food to those in need, donating or anything else – please reach out to Valerie Moore. Together, we can change lives now and for eternity.