Just last week, Fence & Deck Connection stopped by the Anne Arundel County Food Bank (AACFB) to present a check that will help local families who are struggling during this especially troubling time. The money was collected from a percentage of our November and December residential sales profits as a way of giving thanks and supporting those in need during the holidays. As a result, that means all of our wonderful end-of-the-year clients played a part in this wonderful donation to a phenomenal organization!
Fence & Deck’s VP Sales & Marketing and Managing Partner Jeffrey Wall, along with Marketing Strategist Nicole Bailey met with AACFB Executive Director Susan Thomas and Operations Director Marta Jones to present the check and learn more about the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has affected donations, distribution, and volunteerism. When COVID first hit the United States last March, donations to the Food Bank dropped a staggering 73%. With so many residents out of work and without dependable income, the need for basic necessities became dire. In fact, pantries nationwide saw a 242% increase in the number of people seeking assistance, and 53% of those had never had to go to a pantry before. Many of the amazing volunteers at food banks and pantries are retired seniors, and with this demographic most at risk for COVID, the Anne Arundel County Food Bank was left with a skeleton crew during a very hectic 2020. Monetary donations provided the AACFB a way to purchase the items that families needed most, such as food, paper products, feminine products and cleaning supplies.
During our tour, Marta and Susan walked us through all the different rooms, freezers, and storage areas dedicated to various programs in which the Anne Arundel County Food Bank is involved. In addition to providing food to pantries and soup kitchens throughout Anne Arundel County, they also provide items of necessity to Baby Pantries, Senior Pantries, Pet Pantries, Medical Programs, and Clothing Banks. Local partnerships with Anne Arundel County organizations, such as with Backpack Buddies provides children a backpack containing 4 meals and snacks to go home with the most impoverished and at risk children on the FARMS system (Free and Reduced Meal System). This not only takes the stress off of the parent that is working but also provides the child with a sense of security and proper nourishment.
As AACFB Executive Director Susan Thomas mentioned during our tour, “if I see a need, we try to fill it.” The Anne Arundel County Food Bank also support seasonal programs such as winter relief, free community events and dinners for those in need, free summer camps and summer programs to underprivileged children as well as during COVID-19, assisted with County and community groups to provide food at pop-up pantries throughout the county.
The Anne Arundel County Food bank has donated 4.6 million pounds of food since COVID-19 made its way stateside last year. As spring approaches, you may find yourself doing a little extra kitchen cleaning. While you may be quick to donate some canned goods that found themselves lost and forgotten in the back of your cupboards, there are certain items that become coveted staples for our friends at local pantries:
- Canned proteins (tuna, chicken, ham)
- Peanut butter & jelly (especially jelly!)
- Pasta & pasta sauce
- Macaroni & cheese
- Stews, chilis, & soups
- Oatmeal or grits
- Dried beans
- Instant mashed potatoes
- Cooking oils
As always, monetary donations are much appreciated. Donations will allow AACFB to purchase food directly from distributors that will be shared to those in need in our county. To make a donation, please visit the Anne Arundel County Food Bank website. You can also follow the AACFB on Facebook to stay up to today with current needs and events, as well as any future volunteer opportunities.
We look forward to helping our Anne Arundel County community members in need for years to come, and encourage our neighbors, customers, and partners to join us in making a difference!