ABATE donates to clothing, food drive

December 12, 2010|By JULIE GREENE |
  • Santa Claus, aka Arnold Davis, and other members of ABATE of Maryland's Washington County chapter line up Sunday to unload items at ACTS 9 food and clothing bank.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Sandy Martin didn’t used to like to beg.
“I’d get so embarrassed,” Martin said Sunday. “But I’m not beneath it now.”

Martin is executive director of ACTS 9, an Adventists Caring Through Sharing food and clothing bank in downtown Hagerstown that has experienced declining donations for at least two years.

On Sunday morning, the food bank got a boost from ABATE of Maryland’s Washington County chapter.
ABATE stands for Alliance of Bikers Against Totalitarian Enactments.

This was the 18th year the ABATE chapter has brought donations to ACTS 9, said Clarence “Tuck” Koontz Jr., co-chairman of ABATE’s canned food and clothing drive.

“We know they’re going to bring us a lot of food,” Martin said. “They never let us down and they never bring us less.”

ABATE raised more than $1,100 for the effort this year, Koontz said. Because the group is able to get a discount when it shops, the donations could be valued around $1,800, he said. The group donated food, clothing, toys and household items such as laundry detergent.

Last year, ABATE raised $1,052, according to Koontz and Herald-Mail archives.

“It doesn’t matter if we take change or $1 bills,” Koontz said.

It’s about perseverance, he said.

“People think things are lost causes. (They’re) only lost if you quit doing them,” Koontz said.

Just as she said a year ago, Martin said the food bank had fewer donations and more families asking for help.
The food bank sees five to 10 new families a day, Martin said.

“I give them what I can and when we run out, we’re just out,” she said.

The food bank has been helping more larger families, she said.

“It’s nothing to find nine, 10 people in a family,” she said.

One family had three adult children return home with their spouses and children, she said.

ACTS 9 is supported by six area Seventh-day Adventist churches: Hagerstown; Williamsport; Highland View; Willow Brook near Boonsboro; Frederick, Md.; and Berkeley Springs, W.Va., Martin said.

Each year, the supporting churches hold a food drive from September through November to support the food bank, Martin said. This year the food drive didn’t raise even half of what it typically did a few years ago, she said.

ACTS 9, at 35 E. Washington St., is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and the first Sunday of each month. The food and clothing bank will be open Dec. 21 and will not reopen again until Jan. 4.

In order to use ACTS 9 services, families need to have a Washington County food card, which is issued by the Community Action Council.

“Times are harder now than they used to be,” Koontz said.

On Sunday, ABATE’s help arrived with some good cheer as Santa drove up on a Yamaha motorcycle with two motorcycle escorts, and a trailer and two trucks loaded with donations.

After stopping downtown, ABATE members were heading over to San Mar Children’s Home to hold a Christmas party for 44 girls, said Dana Shafer, ABATE’s chairwoman for the San Mar party. Shafer said ABATE raised more than $4,000 for gifts for the girls at San Mar, which offers a Boonsboro-area shelter-care program for girls.

Also helping out Sunday were members of Pride Motorcycle Club, a motorcycle club for correctional employees.

Jeff Garvin, vice president of Pride’s Hagerstown chapter, said Pride members help ABATE with the food drive and ABATE helps Pride with rides such as one held Saturday that benefited Shining Tree Children’s Home on Mount Aetna Road.

This was the 16th year for the ride, Garvin said.

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