Monterrey House residents helped by Food Resources

March 11, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

HANCOCK - When the Food Resources Inc. truck pulled into the parking lot at Monterrey House for the first time Feb. 26, there were more than a half dozen residents waiting expectantly in the rear lobby.

"This is great," said Delma Carnell, who has lived at the downtown apartment building for three years. "A lot of us don't have any transportation to go to a store."

Many seniors and other residents with fixed or low incomes depend on the food banks in Hancock and the kindness of others who can go to the store for them. The new service from Food Resources Inc. is a big plus.


Volunteer driver Sandi Reed Jenkins and her husband, Dean, brought 28 bags of groceries on their first run to Monterrey House.

"Each resident on my list got three bags of groceries for $5," Jenkins said. Residents who wanted the once-a-month delivery service filled out an application so they could be approved as eligible for the reduced-cost food.

Carrie Weller said she found out about the new delivery service from the newsletter that circulates at Monterrey House.

"I filled out the application right away," Weller said. "The food is nice and you get to make lots of friends."

Phyllis Miller, who has lived at Monterrey House for three years, said a lot of people have expressed interest especially during the cold weather months when it is hard for many to get out to go to the regular food banks.

Also waiting in the lobby for the first delivery with Carnell, Miller and Weller were Verna Lee Bishop and Armeta Gaither, who does have a car and sometimes is able to get groceries for her fellow residents.

"She's our taxi," Carnell said.

Food pantries such as Food Resources Inc. 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 last year for a mobile pantry. The agency is centrally located near Hagerstown at 220 McRand Court.

Starting last fall, food was delivered in a van purchased from Hagerstown Ford with money from the Emergency Food Assistance Program, a USDA distribution program, funds from the Richard Funkhouser Foundation and unrestricted financial contributions to Food Resources.

There are 24 apartments at Monterrey House. Most are occupied by single, older people but there are a few couples.

"We deliver in what we call pods," Jenkins said. "The run to Monterrey House is Pod 6. We also take some food to individual homes."

Jenkins customarily goes to the Food Resources warehouse, gets food and takes it to her home where she and her three daughters separate it, bag it and deliver it.

"This morning, I ran to Boonsboro and then to Hancock," she said.

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

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