Royal Farms donated two truckloads — about 10 tons of food — to the Anne Arundel County Food Bank on Tuesday, a move that food bank workers say couldn’t come at a better time as donations decrease amid increasing needs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Royal Farms' donations included milk, orange juice, loaves of bread, deli meats, cheese, yogurt and water. The Anne Arundel County Food Bank has distributed over 2.2 million pounds of food since the COVID-19 pandemic began in mid-March.
“While food donations have dramatically decreased, the amount of residents facing food insecurity has increased,” food bank Executive Director Susan Thomas said. “The Royal Farms food donation could not have come at a better time.”
The food bank expects the need to increase in the fall as families turn on their heaters, adding another financial burden, Thomas said.
“This is a unique year due to COVID-19, and we anticipate the need for assistance to continue to rise as the temperature decreases,” Thomas said. “It is with the support of local businesses like Royal Farms, and caring county residents, that we are able to provide much-needed help to our county residents.”
Throughout the pandemic, Royal Farms has been looking for ways to give back to communities, and food insecurity is an important issue to them, said Shelby Kemp, spokesperson for Royal Farms.
“We are here to help, and we care. We are going to continue to do things like this to help our communities,” Kemp said.
John Leopold, former county executive and board member for the county food bank, said he helped arranged this donation with Royal Farms after visiting the store in Pasadena one day and asking to talk to the main office.
Leopold said he asked them: “How about we have a system where customers can donate money for two weeks and whatever is raised, I’ll match it.”
Royal Farms instead opted to donate food directly to the food bank rather than raise the money. Leopold said there may still be another follow-up donation of food as well. When asked about his idea to match donations, Leopold said he hasn’t given anything monetarily recently but has donated more than $2,000 over the years.
“We increasingly (have) severe food insecurity problems not just in Anne Arundel, but around the country, which has been exacerbated by the COVID crisis, ” Leopold said. “The food bank has been a mainstay and a lifeline of support for the community. I am grateful to Royal Farms for making this contribution.”
For information on donating to the food bank, text “food” to 41444 or visit aafoodbank.org