Nonprofit shares its edible resources

November 10, 1997

Nonprofit shares its edible resources


Staff Writer

The Food Resources Inc.'s warehouse on Eldridge Drive in Hagerstown is loaded with cereal, canned goods, soft drinks and other food that will eventually go to needy families in the region.

But there is a need for more, much more, said Brad Sell, who took over the reins as the 11-year-old nonprofit organization's executive director in May.

"It's frustrating to know this country has the capacity to feed everyone, but not everyone is being fed," Sell said.

He quoted statistics that show 30 million Americans go to bed hungry and 29 percent of all children under the age of 12 in the country will not get an evening meal.


"In a country as rich as ours, that's a sin," said Sell, 47, a Waynesboro, Pa., resident and father of a 7-year-old girl.

It isn't just an urban problem, he said. Hunger in rural parts of the country like the Tri-State area is also a growing phenomenon - something he wasn't prepared for five months ago.

"To come in and find out there were that many hungry people in this area was a real eye-opener for me," Sell said.

To combat similar ignorances, and to hopefully increase food donations, Sell can be found traveling throughout the area on any given day, meeting with church groups or civic organizations to spread the word of what Food Resources does and the people it serves.

"Every organization, whether you're a profit or a nonprofit, has to market itself," he said.

He should know. A native of Frederick, Md., Sell owned his own retail business for many years in Chambersburg, Pa., before moving on to work for four years as director of development for United Cerebral Palsy of Southcentral Pennsylvania.

More recently he worked for a year helping to raise funds for Cumberland Valley On Ice, the organization that is building an ice skating rink in Zullinger, Pa.

Moving to the Food Resources job gave Sell the opportunity to further his interest in fund-raising and public relations, while also exercising a desire to help others that goes back to the days when he received his college degree in social work.

"I really believe this is the place where God wants me to be at this time," Sell said.

Food Resources is a clearinghouse for food distribution to local food banks, soup kitchens and other programs that provide food to the needy. It receives funding through a variety of charitable sources like the United Way, government grants and donations.

The group recently began its largest food donation drive of the year with the annual Bags of Plenty program, which will have people throughout the area donating bags filled with groceries.

The drive brings in about 30,000 pounds of food a year, but it used to bring in 50,000 pounds to 55,000 pounds in the early 1990s.

Compounding the problem is the demand for food is increasing, he said. Food Resources distributed 50 percent more food the first three months this year than it had for the same period in 1996.

That's where his job comes in, be it sitting for media interviews or taping public service announcements for the radio.

Or he might be visiting a grocery store, trying to convince management to donate its leftover food.

His goal within the next three years is to increase Food Resources' annual production of handling 550,000 pounds of food to more than a million pounds a year.

It can be done, he said.

"I think as the message gets out, people will care and people will respond. And people will donate," he said.

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