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Food Resources' van will deliver to those in need

July 31, 2003|by JANET HEIM

janeth@herald-mail.com

Food pantries provide food for those in need, but lack of transportation prevents many, especially some older residents and those with disabilities, from getting the help they need.

To remedy that situation, Ruth Anne Callaham, executive director of Food Resources Inc., applied for and received a grant for a mobile pantry that will deliver food to lower-income communities in Washington County and the more remote areas of Frederick County, Md.

Food will be delivered in a van purchased from Hagerstown Ford with $10,000 from the Emergency Food Assistance Program, a USDA distribution program, funds from the Richard Funkhouser Foundation and unrestricted financial contributions to Food Resources.

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Once the program gets under way, Callaham expects to use the van, which can hold up to 2,000 pounds of food, on a continual basis.

After reading about the shortage of food at the Williamsport Food Bank, Pauline McIntosh, admissions/marketing director of Julia Manor, contacted Callaham to offer help. As a result, McIntosh is coordinating a food drive to collect items for the mobile pantry.

"This is an awesome link," Callaham said.

During August, people may drop off items at any of 14 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Washington County. Barrels will be prominently displayed in the lobbies. McIntosh said all of the facilities were eager to help.

The items being collected include nutritional drinks, such as Boost and Ensure, and food items packed as single-servings. Suggested items include variety packs of cereal, boxes of instant oatmeal packets, small cans of tuna, juice boxes, individual pudding or fruit cups, small cans of vegetables or fruits and single-serving meals.

Monetary donations are welcome and can be used to purchase bulk quantities of food below wholesale price from American Second Harvest, a national organization.

Once the food is collected, Callaham will build a list of those in need, with the help of local service agencies. She then will map out a route, with plans to make monthly deliveries beginning in October. Participants will be asked to share in the cost of delivery, paying a small fee per pound of food delivered.

To find out more about the mobile pantry, contact Callaham at 301-733-4002.

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