Motorcyclists help food, clothing bank stock up

December 11, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE |
  • ABATE of Maryland member Steve Cripps carries a box of food to be stacked Sunday at ACTS 9 food and clothing bank in Hagerstown.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Canned food, boxes of grits, and cases of ramen noodles and dish detergent were among the many items ABATE of Maryland motorcyclists dropped off Sunday morning at a downtown Hagerstown food and clothing bank.

The motorcyclists’ group has been making the donations to ACTS 9 for the holiday season for 19 years.

This has been a busy time of year for ACTS 9, an Adventists Caring Through Sharing food and clothing bank, Executive Director Sandy Martin said.

Just as Martin has said the past two years, the food and clothing bank continues to receive fewer donations, while more families are asking for help.

Martin estimated ACTS 9 has helped about 7,000 people this year.

Some people who used to make donations are no longer able to because they’re also experiencing tough times, Martin said.

The families that seek assistance from ACTS 9 are no longer predominantly ones who were supported by blue-collar jobs, but many are families whose paychecks came from office jobs, Martin said. With some families trying to find ways to pay for fuel, it can be difficult to have money for food, she said.

ACTS 9, at 35 E. Washington St., is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. The food and clothing bank will be open Dec. 22 and will not reopen again until Jan. 3.

Local Adventist churches have helped keep ACTS 9’s shelves stocked, Martin said.

The Washington County chapter of ABATE on Sunday provided truckloads of clothing, food and household items.

On a Kawasaki Voyager motorcycle, Santa led a parade of motorcycles to the front of the food and clothing bank, while trucks started backing into the rear warehouse to unload donations.

ABATE raised more than $1,100 for this year’s effort, said Clarence “Tuck” Koontz Jr. with the local ABATE chapter. Koontz said that money went further because the group got a discount shopping for donations for the food and clothing bank.

In addition to holding fundraisers, the group passes around donation containers at its events and meetings, as well as at events and meetings of other groups who grant permission, said Koontz and Johnny Strouth, who co-chair ABATE’s canned food and clothing drive.

Pride Motorcycle Club helped ABATE again this year, and joining them Sunday were members of the Tri-State Riding Club.

Afterward, the motorcyclists were heading to San Mar Children’s Home to hold a Christmas party for 32 girls, Koontz said. ABATE raised more than $3,000 to buy gifts for the girls at San Mar, which offers a shelter-care program for girls in the Boonsboro area.

Raymond Sine, of Hagerstown, said ABATE started bringing donations 19 years ago to ACTS 9 after members tried taking donations to a local church, but church officials didn’t want the motorcyclists coming through the front door.

So Sine and his brother, Fritz, arranged through Martin’s father, the late Carl Shafer, to bring the donations to ACTS 9, they said.

The success of the annual campaign to help the clothing and food bank is due to everyone involved, including those who buy the food and who donate clothing, said Fritz Sine, of Chewsville.

“Just trying to make everybody’s holiday a little brighter and less stress,” Fritz Sine said. “It’s such a joy in your heart to help somebody.”

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