As COVID-19 wreaks havoc on world communities, volunteer networks are becoming a lifeline to meet many primary needs.
School closures resulting in an end to school-provided meals have become a critical flashpoint to be addressed throughout the country. For many students, school-provided meals are a necessary part of daily nutrition.
Coalitions of state, county, and private resources are working hand in hand with networks of volunteers to make sure meals continue to be provided to those in need.
In Kent County, community partners rose to the challenge as soon as the closures were announced and meal distribution centers for kids 18 and under have opened in seven county locations to provide “Grab and Go Breakfast/ Lunch Bags.”
Spearheaded by the Social Action Committee for Racial Justice and Kent County Schools, the food program has become a large partnership of Kent County businesses and continues to add more to the rapidly developing coalition.
Kent County Local Management Board, Parks and Rec, Community Food Pantry, Rising Sons, Kent Cultural Alliance, Garfield Theatre, Kent County Department of Social Services, Frank B Rhodes Furniture, Camp Echo Hill, Town of Millington, Chester River Wine and Cheese, Summer Hall, Kent County YMCA, and Kent County Public Schools.
Individuals have helped shore up the supplies with generous donations while St. Benedict’s in Caroline County has provided large assortments of meat and other food products. Other individuals like Kenny and Ladase Coleman have supplied creates of fresh fruit and vegetables.
“We are proud to be in Kent County participating with this effort,” says Paul Tue, co-founder of Social Action Committee for Racial Justice.
Meal pickups can be made at the following locations between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm.: Galena Elementary School, Garnet Elementary School in Chestertown, Rock Hall Elementary School, the Baywood Village community room in Fairlee, Millington Town Hall, the Betterton firehouse and the Kent County Community Center in Worton.
The number of recipients has grown exponentially with last Thursday’s tally around 272. 1oo volunteers have helped with the effort.
By a recent mandate by Governor Hogan, dinners are now included in the meal program and coordinated by Kent County School System in tandem with the ongoing meal distribution network.
Additionally, a partnership has formed between The Social Action Committee for Racial Justice (SACRJ) and many local groups to forward the Feed the Children and Elderly Initiative and reach out to those unable to pick up food at the designated locations.
Sumner Hall has created a partnership with SCARJ to collect donations to purchase additional fresh food needed for this effort, including fresh produce, eggs, dairy, bread and other food from the Chestertown Farmer’s Market vendors. To donate, go here. Checks should be made payable to Sumner Hall – with SACRJ Food written on the notation line – and mailed to 206 South Queen Street, Chestertown, Maryland 21620. Payments may also be made via PayPal, as noted on our website.
“We had a great moment this morning delivering meals and a card to Ralph Thornton’s home in Chestertown. He’s celebrating his 100th birthday and we hope we added to the celebration, ” La Tue says.
Food donations may be delivered to Worton Creek Community Center between 8:00 and 10:am or 2:00 pm-4: pm, Monday – Friday. All food donations must be individually pre-packaged (except Fruit). Donations can not be accepted between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.
Consider: Dried pasta, Prepared pasta sauces, Beans, Rice, Canned meat- tuna, sardines, Spam, ham, eggs, Dried milk or canned, Granola Bars, Pop-Tarts, Fruit Cups, Cereal Bars, Mini Water Bottles, Juice Boxes, Canned vegetables, Fresh fruit and or dried (raisins, apples), Individual packets of carrots. Also, paper towels, wipes with bleach, CDC approved spray cleaner, Lysol, Travel size shampoo, soap would be appreciated.
Food donations may also be left at a designated trailer at Frank B Rhodes Furniture, 535 Morgnec Rd., Chestertown.
The partnership is also looking for volunteers willing to start immediately to help with distribution, packing, and delivering food to the designated locations.
Email: SACRacialJustice@gmail.com or find out more about The Social Action Committee for Racial Justice here.