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Volunteers, from left, Brian Alles, Steve Hollands, Sue Bridges and Sue Schaefer fill an order for a client at Carroll County Food Sunday in Westminster Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019.
Volunteers, from left, Brian Alles, Steve Hollands, Sue Bridges and Sue Schaefer fill an order for a client at Carroll County Food Sunday in Westminster Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Since the early 1980s, Carroll County Food Sunday has been serving families all over Carroll County from all walks of life.

Whether you just got laid off your job or just need a little help with cutting food expenses so they can pay a bill, CCFS is here to service the community.

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“When you need something as basic as food, all your paradigms just go out the window because, depending on what’s going on in the world, recession, or in their private lives, divorce or death, we see just about every level of a person in here,” said Dennis Fahey, food bank administrator at CCFS.

Carroll County Food Sunday is one of five beneficiaries of Holiday Hope, the Carroll County Times’ annual campaign aimed at driving donations to organizations that help those in need in the Carroll County community. In addition to CCFS, the Times also raises funds for Access Carroll, Carroll Hospice, Neighbors in Need Year Round and The Shepherd’s Staff.

Carroll Hospice is one of five beneficiaries of Holiday Hope, the Carroll County Times’ annual campaign aimed at driving donations to organizations that help those in need in the Carroll County community. In addition to Carroll Hospice, the Times also raises funds for Access Carroll, Carroll County Food Sunday, The Shepherd’s Staff and Neighbors in Need Year Round.

This year, the Holiday Hope campaign goal is to raise $125,000 for the five organizations. The Times is again partnering with Carroll Community Bank and donations should be mailed to or dropped off at their 1010 Baltimore Blvd. location in Westminster.

According to Fahey and CCFS Executive Director Ed Leister, the food bank still serves more than 450 families a nutritionally balanced supplemental grocery package based on household size. The package includes meat, eggs, peanut butter, beans, fruit, pasta, rice. vegetables, cereal, bread and milk, although they are not able to adhere to specialty diets such as diabetic, vegan, vegetarian or Kosher.

A week before Thanksgiving Day, the food bank gave out 560 turkeys to families.

“The reason when do the turkeys, and at Christmas we’ll do ham, because we like to think that these people will have a nice Christmas dinner, a nice Thanksgivings dinner the same as I’m going to enjoy at my house,” said Leister. “These are not second-class citizens. These are people that just need some help. Maybe they can provide some food but just not enough.”

Fahey runs Food Sunday and orders all the food and Leister fundraises for the nonprofit. Both joined the CCFS after retiring; Fahey has been with the organiation for 17 years and Leister for nine.

“I put them to work, Ed grabs their wallet,” Fahey said jokingly about their working dynamic.

Leister brings in money multiple ways, such as the five fundraising events that are held each year, reaching out to other organizations and mail-ins. According to Leister, it takes about $500,000 a year to keep the food bank running.

The Shepherd's Staff, a Westminster-based private nonprofit, addresses needs that others can't for their clients.

They both started with Food Sunday by looking for something to do, but that grew over time as they helped to build the organization to what it is today. Both agree working with CCFS has changed them.

“I really just saw everything I thought about food banks change,” said Fahey. “The need is real.”

Added Leister: “It grows on you.”

According to Leister and Fahey, even when volunteers leave a side door open or if food is left in front of a door, they don’t experience thefts. They even had one citizen who was helped by CCFS that, when he got back on his feet, donated $1,000 to help them help others.

Contrary to what a lot of people might think, Food Sunday’s busiest time isn’t the holiday season, it’s around August as the kids get ready for school, Fahey said.

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Any county resident who needs food assistance is eligible to receive food from Carroll County Food Sunday. To apply for food from CCFS, an applicant needs only to present a photo ID, proof of residence and a social security card for each member in the household.

Food Sunday has three locations. The one at 10 Distillery Dr., Westminster, is open Tuesday through Thursday each week from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. The one at 915 Liberty Road, Eldersburg, is open Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon. The one at 44 Frederick St., Taneytown, is open Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

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