Saint Martin’s Ministries Begins New Year with New Leadership to Serve the Poor

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Saint Martin’s volunteer Feree Ball, right, assists a Food Pantry client in the Barn Resource Center.

Beautiful farms, Chesapeake Bay vistas and one boat and two cars in every driveway are often what many people picture when they think of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. While some towns are touted as “The Hamptons of the Eastern Shore”, the reality is that surrounded by this beauty and bounty is poverty. In fact, six of the 10 poorest counties in Maryland are located on the Eastern Shore.

For 34 year’s Saint Martin’s Ministries (SMM) of Ridgley has come to the aid of individuals and families living in poverty by helping them meet their most basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. In mid-October, Saint Martin’s board of directors appointed Deborah Hudson Vornbrock as Executive Director. Stepping down as Chief Executive Officer was Jean Austin who was with SMM since 2011. Along with a newly appointed Executive Director, Saint Martin’s has completed the initial phase of renovations to its transitional housing and enhanced its case management services to better serve more people as it looks to 2018.

Saint Martin’s Executive Director Deborah Hudson Vornbrock pitches in to pack food boxes on a busy day in the Food Pantry.

Deborah Hudson Vornbrock had been Director of Development at Sant Martin’s since August 2013, and has extensive non-profit leadership and fundraising experience. She previously served in several executive leadership positions at SOAR! Support Our Aging Religious, Inc., Washington, D.C., and also was Operations Coordinator at The Nature Conservancy, Central America Division, Arlington, Va..

As this year closes and a new year begins, Deborah approaches the leadership of Saint Martin’s with energy, enthusiasm and gratitude. “I have a great deal of respect for the good work that has been done by my predecessors in partnership with donors, volunteers and staff,” she says. “Our work to help our friends and neighbors who are struggling is overwhelming at times. What we can do as an organization to meet these needs is to stay current so that we can be nimble as the needs change and to access all the resources available,” she adds.

Volunteer Jennivie Henry sorts donated clothing for Saint Martin’s Thrift Store.

Although Saint Martin’s has always had a commitment to tackling poverty and homelessness, their new tact is to apply a multi-disciplined approach instead of simply taking care of the immediate need. “Yes, if someone is hungry, we give them food, satisfying the emergency need. However, if they can’t afford food because they are disabled and can’t work, then maybe they need additional resources,” says Vornbrock. “If we can get to the root causes of their situation we can more effectively serve our clients and better support them as they become self-sufficient,” she adds.
In an effort to systematically tackle the tough issues of homelessness and poverty SMM hired a part-time Case Management Aide this year. “We used to operate more like a silo,” says Linda Pangalos, MSW, Director of Case Management Services at Saint Martin’s. “With our expanded and dedicated case management staff we are going to be more successful at meeting the needs of our clients,” she adds.

Saint Martin’s receives 10 to 12 calls a day from people needing help. When it comes to issues related to poverty and homelessness there are no easy fixes. “While we do respond to their immediate needs like avoiding eviction or getting their electricity turned back on, what we really want to do is to help our clients move away from the precipice of homelessness toward a more stable living situation,” adds Vornbrock.

Financial support in the form of donations and grants are important to the organization as well as material donations such as food for the pantry and clothes, household goods and furniture for The Barn and Thrift Shop. To learn more about Saint Martin’s or how you can support its program, contact Deborah Hudson Vornbrock at (410) 634-2537, x 102 or by email at DHVornbrock@StMartinsMinistries.org. You can also visit SMM online at StMartinsMinistries.org or connect with them on Facebook (St. Martin’s Ministries).

Saint Martin’s Ministries of Ridgely, Maryland, is a non-profit organization that has provided a safety net for individuals and families living in poverty for more than three decades. SMM’s mission is to help meet basic human needs for impoverished people on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, to respect and affirm their dignity, and to address the root problems that perpetuate the cycle of poverty. SMM provides an array of services through a single point of entry, with a dignified case management approach, to address immediate and long-term needs. Its four assistance programs are its Food Pantry, Homelessness Prevention, Transitional Shelter and Thrift Store.

“Project Protein” Completes First Year with St. Martin’s Food Pantry

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Sara McGill and Hunter Hague, employees at Harborview Farms, make a Project Protein delivery at Saint Martin’s. Since its inception last year, the program has provided more than18,000 pounds of bulk chicken from Mountaire Farms, thanks to the generosity of 12 business sponsors.

RIDGELY, MD –When you live in a rural community surrounded by farms that grow food, the idea that there are families right in your community who need food seems illogical. So when Trey Hill of Harborview Farms of Rock Hall learned that Saint Martin’s Ministries (SMM) of Ridgley was having a hard time keeping up with the demand for food in its pantry he brought together his team and people he knew in the agricultural community to create Project Protein, which is completing its first year.

Now Saint Martin’s Ministries says “thanks” to local volunteers and donors as the local agricultural community unites to complete the first year of Project Protein!

Project Protein is a monthly sponsorship program that has provided more than 250 Caroline County families with over 18,000 pounds of bulk chicken from Mountaire Farms. The way it works is that a business commits to a donation to SMM to cover the cost of purchasing the chicken. Hill and his team pick up the chicken from Mountaire Farms and deliver it to SMM food pantry for distribution to their clients.

For Hill, it is very much a united effort with the local agricultural community. “I am in a very fortunate position that I work with and do business with great people who were all alarmed by the fact that we live in an area that grows an abundance of food and yet we have people who are going hungry,” he says.

“When I mentioned this dilemma to my immediate Harborview team, I received a positive response and their support to use our agricultural connections to help these families in need. I then called twelve of the business partners that I work with and had each of them “sponsor” a month of chicken. Currently, the demand is just over 2,000 pounds per month and has been quite manageable given the great teamwork that exists within the community,” he adds.

In addition to Project Protein, the program has branched out to provide Thanksgiving dinner to 250 families with vegetables, fruit, bread and whole 6-pound roasters. Mountaire has agreed to provide Christmas dinner for 250 families as well.

For SMM the project is a great example of generous community response to a need. “Saint Martin’s is the place where the families who are struggling can go when they need help and hope,” says Deborah Hudson Vornbrock, executive director at SMM. “While we celebrate this season of giving, we want to say thank you to those who support Saint Martin’s 365 days of the year. Our volunteers, donors, and people like Trey Hill, his team at Harborview Farms, and the 12 businesses that committed to Project Protein are helping us make a difference in the community,” she adds.

Harborview Farms employee Gene Leonzio loads boxes of chicken into the Saint Martin’s freezer during a Project Protein delivery.

Project Protein has already received commitments for sponsors for 2018.  Hill is encouraged by the positive response. “The support from everyone has been overwhelming. I am very proud to be surrounded by such a compassionate and generous group of people,” he adds.

            The 2017 sponsors include Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit of Chestertown, Willard’s Argi-Service of Worton, Air-Ag, LLC of Laurel, DE, AET of North East, Binkley & Hurst of Seaford, DE, Joe Hickman Farm Management of Chestertown, FAM & M Insurance of Chestertown, Crop Production Services, Inc. of Centreville, William Loller Farm of Rock Hall, Atlantic Tractor with a combined effort for their stores in Cecilton, Queen Anne, Chestertown, and Clayton, DE, Pioneer Seed of Rock Hall and Hoober of Middletown, DE.

Saint Martin’s Ministries (SMM) of Ridgely, MD, is a non-profit organization that has provided a safety net for individuals and families living in poverty for more than three decades. SMM’s mission is to help meet basic human needs for impoverished people on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, to respect and affirm their dignity, and to address the root problems that perpetuate the cycle of poverty. SMM provides an array of services through a single point of entry, with a dignified case management approach, to address immediate and long-term needs. Its four assistance programs are its Food Pantry, Homelessness Prevention, Transitional Shelter and Thrift Store.

To learn more about Project Protein, please contact Deborah Hudson Vornbrock at (410) 634-2537 x 102 or by email at DHVornbrock@StMartinsMinistries.org. You can also visit StMartinsMinistries online or connect with them on Facebook (St. Martin’s Ministries).

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Saint Martin’s Ministries Prepares for this Year’s “Art Oberfest“ Arts Dinner and Auction

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October 7, 2016 marks the 11th annual Saint Martin’s Ministries’ Arts Dinner and Auction. This year’s theme, Art Oberfest, will let you have a taste of Oktoberfest right here in Rock Hall. It will be a fun-filled night of cocktails, dinner, and live and silent auctions that showcase the talented works of many local artists, as well as donations from local businesses.

2016-backpacks-1Of course, attendees can expect the unexpected as has come to be the expected at the Arts Dinner evening! So, guests can have fun by breaking out their lederhosen and dirndls to support a great cause that helps local families.

Through the generosity of donations and fundraising events such as the Arts Dinner and Auction, this year Saint Martin’s Ministries staff was able to purchase and fill backpacks to be passed out to needy families with school aged children. The backpacks were supplied with everyday school items. In just nine days, all one hundred backpacks were distributed. Saint Martin’s also purchased school clothes and shoes for children in two families who are struggling with unexpected needs. This is just one of the many ways Saint Martin’s Ministries helps our community.

For over 30 years Saint Martin’s Ministries (SMM) in Ridgely Maryland has supported families who are struggling to meet their most basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. SMM works with families to break the cycle of poverty on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where 6 of the 10 poorest counties in Maryland are located. Saint Martin’s outreach includes- a two year transitional housing program that helps women and their children gain the life skills needed for stability and independence, emergency food distribution, eviction prevention assistance, and a comprehensive thrift store.

With compassion and respect, SMM cares for the poor and helps families and future generations thrive and participate in their communities. The services provided by SMM help families, individuals, the working poor, veterans, and the elderly in all of the Mid-Shore counties. Saint Martin’s receives support from the United Way, United Fund, CFC and MD Charity Campaign. Additional support comes from the generous contributions of individuals at our annual fundraising events. These fundraisers allow SMM to continue doing the important work that they are doing.

It is not too late to reserve your ticket…Visit www.smmartsevent.wordpress.com if you are interested in attending this year’s Art Oberfest or visit SMM’s Facebook or webpage to learn more ways your support helps our neighbors who are struggling and give them a hope for better tomorrow. You may also contact SMM directly at 410.634.2537 x 102.

Saint Martin’s Ministries Prepares for this Year’s “Art Oberfest“ Arts Dinner and Auction

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art oberfestOctober 7, 2016 marks the 11th annual Saint Martin’s Ministries’ Arts Dinner and Auction.  This year’s theme, Art Oberfest, will let you have a taste of Oktoberfest right here in Rock Hall.  It will be a fun-filled night of cocktails, dinner, and live and silent auctions that showcase the talented works of many local artists, as well as donations from local businesses.

Of course, attendees can expect the unexpected as has come to be the expected at the Arts Dinner evening! So, guests can have fun by breaking out their lederhosen and dirndls to support a great cause that helps local families.

For over 30 years Saint Martin’s Ministries (SMM) in Ridgely Maryland has supported families who are struggling to meet their most basic needs of food, clothing and shelter.  SMM works with families to break the cycle of poverty on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where 6 of the 10 poorest counties in Maryland are located. Saint Martin’s outreach includes- a two year transitional housing program that helps women and their children gain the life skills needed for stability and independence, emergency food distribution, eviction prevention assistance, and a comprehensive thrift store.

With compassion and respect, SMM cares for the poor and helps families and future generations thrive and participate in their communities. The services provided by SMM help families, individuals, the working poor, veterans, and the elderly in all of the Mid-Shore counties.  Saint Martin’s receives support from the United Way, United Fund, CFC and MD Charity Campaign.  Additional support comes from the generous contributions of individuals at our annual fundraising events.  These fundraisers allow SMM to continue doing the important work that they are doing.

Visit www.smmartsevent.wordpress.com if you are interested in attending this year’s Art Oberfest or visit SMM’s Facebook or webpage to learn more ways your support helps our neighbors who are struggling and give them a hope for better tomorrow. You may also contact SMM directly at 410.634.2537 x 102.

Evie Baskin To Be Featured Artist At Saint Martin Ministries’ Arts Auction

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Slip on your boots and get ready to kick up your heels! The Wild West is coming to Rock Hall on Friday, October 9, 2015 in the Chesapeake Room to support Saint Martin’s Ministries. Saint Martin’s Ministries will be holding their 10th annual Arts Dinner and Auction…”Wild, Wild, West…Rounding up the Arts;” the attendees are sure to have a stomping good time and all for a good cause. Every year many talented local artists generously contribute a piece of their highly skilled artwork to be auctioned off during the live or silent auction with proceeds going to Saint Martin’s Ministries.

This year’s featured artist is Portrait Artist Evie Baskin. Evie has generously donated her artistic talents by offering a commissioned 22 by 28 inch pastel portrait of two images of your choosing – human, beast, or fowl− that will be created and designed specifically for you and be auctioned off at this year’s event. Evie’s rich palette and uncanny ability to capture the spark that lies beneath the surface are common threads in all her portraits. Evie’s portraits have continued to evolve and win awards over the years, often evoking tears of joy in her clients. Over the past six years, Evie has presented three solo pastel portrait shows, each featuring people in Kent and Queen Anne’s counties.

Her most recent work has garnered recognition and awards in Chestertown, Kent Island, and Chesapeake College. Currently her landscapes and portraits are being shown at Chestertown RiverArts and with Working Artists Forum based in Easton, Maryland. Evie is a recent partner in The Artists Gallery on High Street in Chestertown. Her generous contribution, along with those other accomplished artists and donors will play a pivotal role this year in raising money to support Saint Martin’s Ministries.

For over thirty years Saint Martin’s Ministries has been helping low income mid-shore families meet basic needs of food, clothing and housing. Located in Ridgely, MD the Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit organization. Saint Martin’s House, a 2 year residential program, helps women and their children transition from homelessness to stability. Saint Martin’s receives support from United Way and United Fund. Numerous women and children in Kent County have benefited from the work of Saint Martin’s Ministries.

Check out the event website, www.smmartsevent.wordpress.com to learn about participating artists and see photos of auction items. For additional information and tickets, please contact Glostyer60@gmail.com. Reserve a table with friends . . . Cowboy hats and boots encouraged, but park your spurs and side pistols at the door!

St. Martin’s Ministries to Host 9th Annual Arts Dinner & Auction

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“Spring has Sprung,” a one-of- a-kind, hand appliquéd, hand sewn art quilt by Joyce Murrin will be the featured live auction item.

“Spring has Sprung,” a one-of- a-kind, hand appliquéd, hand sewn art quilt by Joyce Murrin will be the featured live auction item.

In the past the Saint Martin’s Ministries’ Arts Dinner and Auction has been successful, as well as full of surprises and this year will be no exception…Although they are not telling what is in store this year, attendees are sure to be amazed and all for a good cause. Every year many talented local artists generously contribute a piece of their skillful artwork to be auctioned off during the live or silent auction with proceeds going to Saint Martin’s Ministries.

“A Swanky Night at the Speakeasy… Arts Undercover” is the theme of this year’s Arts Dinner and Auction that is to take place on Friday, October 10, 2014 at The Chesapeake Room in Rock Hall. “Spring has Sprung,” a one-of- a-kind, hand appliquéd, hand sewn art quilt by Joyce Murrin will be the featured live auction item. Joyce is a self-taught quiltmaker born with God-given talent, creative genes and artistic vision. She is nationally and internationally recognized with quilts in numerous private and museum collections.

Her designs are original, drawn full scale on paper, then sewn in cloth.  Whether the design is a pieced abstract, subject inspired by nature or one with free flowing lines done in appliqué, the design is used only once, making each quilt truly one-of-a-kind.

For 30 years, Joyce’s colorful quilts have been exhibited in over 100 venues and received over 90 awards.  She has been curator and organizer of many quilt exhibits and taught and lectured nationally for 10 years. Her generous contribution, along with those other accomplished artists and donors will play a pivotal role this year in raising money to support Saint Martin’s Ministries.

For over 30 years SMM has helped low income families on the Eastern Shore meet their basic needs of food, clothing and housing. Services offered by Saint Martin’s Ministries include an emergency food program, eviction assistance, a thrift store and a 2 year transitional housing program for women and their children. Saint Martin’s receives support from United Way and United Fund. Numerous women and children in Kent County have benefited from the work of Saint Martin’s Ministries. For more information about Saint Martin’s Ministries and this year’s Arts Auction visit www.stmartinsministries.org or contact Deborah Hudson Vornbrock at 410.634.2537 ext. 102.