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Hagerstown area food banks hungry for donations

December 27, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The need for donations at area food banks increases during the holidays, when parents seem to struggle to feed their families, said Rebecca Shank, director of development for the Hagerstown Rescue Mission on North Prospect Street.

"As the food comes in, we serve it," she said. "We really need help keeping our shelves full ... This is a sad time of year for a lot of people. We're just thankful God opened these doors 52 years ago."

Shank said the mission serves a minimum of 40 families every month. Boxed dinners, such as Hamburger Helper and macaroni and cheese, always are in demand, she said.

Even with 90,000 pounds of food in stock at Food Resources, a food-distribution warehouse at 220 McRand Court in Hagerstown, the shelves still look bare, said Ruth Anne Callaham, Food Resources executive director.

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"It doesn't come close to meeting the need," she said.

Established in 1987, Food Resources provides food to low-income households in Western Maryland and Southern Pennsylvania, Callaham said. Food Resources receives its food from a variety of sources, including donations from residents and grocery stores.

Peanut butter, cereal and canned foods always are needed, she said. Fruits and vegetables also are accepted as long as the items are fresh.

"If (the food) looks the least bit bad, we'll throw it away," Callaham said.

In addition, Food Resources accepts deer meat from an organization called Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry, she said.

In fiscal 2006-07, Food Resources accrued about $350,000 in expenses, which included paying the electric bills to freeze the deer meat and paying the salaries of three full-time employees, Callaham said.

David G. Jordan, executive director of the Washington County Community Action Council, said his organization accepts food donations from the public to supplement state and federal grants that WCCAC uses to buy food.

"Our pantry stays pretty bare most of the time," he said.

In some cases, people who need assistance first have to be issued a food card, which often is accepted at other food banks, he said. To qualify, people have to meet an income requirement. A family of four, for example, cannot earn more than $3,011.46 per month or $36,137.50 per year, Jordan said.

Besides food, the Washington County Community Action Council needs volunteers - especially those with clerical skills - to help run the organization, he said. To learn more, call Jordan at 301-797-4161, ext. 124.




Income eligibility for food assistance



The following are the income eligibility standards for those seeking assistance in acquiring food from the Washington County Community Action Council:

Household size Maximum monthly income standard Maximum annual income standard

1 $1,488.96 $17,867.50

2 $1,996.46 $23,957.50

3 $2,503.96 $30,047.50

4 $3,011.46 $36,137.50

5 $3,518.96 $42,227.50

6 $4,026.46 $48,317.50

For each additional person, add $507.50 to the maximum monthly income standard, and $6,090 to the maximum annual yearly standard.

To learn more about local food banks, call the Washington County Community Action Council at 301-797-4161, or visit the office at 101 Summit Ave. in Hagerstown.

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