Parkville seniors provide groceries to the hungry

One hundred hungry people walked out of the Parkville Senior Center on Monday, July 14, with bags of groceries, thanks to county funds and the efforts of about 30 volunteers.

Volunteers spent two hours in the morning packing nonperishable food along with fresh produce such as bananas, corn and potatoes. At noon, the food was handed out.

It was a first-time event at the senior center — one of five in the county participating in the project — and James Slone, center director, said it may well happen again.

"It's certainly plausible that in the future we'll be tasked to do this again," he said.

The 126,000 pounds food was purchased with help from a $75,000 supplemental budget appropriation approved in June by the administration of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz for the Maryland Food Bank. That was in addition to $325,000 budgeted for fiscal 2014 to support the food bank.

Kamenetz said the supplemental money went directly to the food bank's Pantry on the Go program, which he said "quickly and cost-effectively delivers food to community-based host sites to provide immediate relief to struggling families ..."

The hunger outreach project Pantry on the Go has grown significantly. Meals distributed were 2.6 million in 2011, 3.5 million in 2012 and 5.3 million in 2013.

County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins lauded the project, saying, "No one should have to go hungry and this additional funding is helping ensure that this critical safety net is available."

Also part of the distribution network is the Seven Oaks Senior Center in Perry Hall at 10 a.m. on Monday, July 21.

In Parkville, Slone said the senior center had people ready to go at the packing tables.

"We relied heavily on our volunteer base," he said.

In the end, he noted, fewer than expected turned out to receive the relief groceries in Parkville. What remained was given to three local churches — Christus Victor Lutheran, St. Isaac Jogues Catholic and Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic — for distribution.

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