Carroll County Food Sunday will be collecting food items for people in need on Election Day, the nonprofit's fourth Election Day Food Drive.
"In the 2012 presidential election, we collected 6,000 pounds of food," said Carroll County Food Sunday President Frank Baylor. "In 2014, it was 3,640 pounds."
Lower voter turnout in the mid-term elections may have accounted for the lower amount of food donated in 2014, Baylor said, and he is hopeful that in a presidential election year that has seen a large early voter turnout, there will be a comparable willingness to help those in need.
"Our slogan is 'Hunger is non-partisan,'" Baylor said.
The Election Day Food drive really started as a bipartisan political affair. The first drive was organized by Martin Radinsky, former chairman of the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee, in 2008, and the Democrats were joined by Republicans in 2010.
In each election since, Carroll County Food Sunday has operated the drive on its own without either party's apparatus involved, according to Baylor.
Carroll County Food Sunday itself is now in its 34th year as a nonprofit, and functions almost entirely as a volunteer organization on an annual budget of $450,000, according to Baylor. That funding is used to support between 300 and 400 families, and any additional food donations — such as another 6,000 pounds on election day — will help toward the 8,000 pounds total the nonprofit distributes each week.
"Half of our clients are over retirement age or under 18-years-old," Baylor said. "There is definitely hunger in Carroll County. We are not immune."
In 2015, Baylor said, a large number of families came to get food only once, which he said further highlights how hunger can affect anyone and everyone.
"Maybe the breadwinner was sick and couldn't work for a week, or an unexpected bill came in," he said. "There is no telling when hunger may affect people."
To participate in the Election Day Food Drive, simply bring any non-perishable food items and look for the two brown boxes with a food drive sign that will be stationed at every polling place in the county.
"The boxes will be there Tuesday morning before 7 a.m., and they will be picked up around 7:30 p.m. or 8 p.m. Tuesday night," Baylor said. "We will take anything. Anything that is not out of date, we will use."
That being said, a list of the most needed items can be found on the Carroll County Food Sunday website at ccfoodsunday.org, and Baylor said that proteins such as canned tuna or peanut butter, breakfast cereals, canned vegetables and tomato sauce are always needed.
Not only is Baylor hopeful that many new people will come out to vote in the electoral process, he hopes some who have never heard of Carroll County Food Sunday will reach out and learn more, perhaps even volunteer.
"I felt this is a great time for citizens to have an opportunity to participate and I would invite them to learn more about us," he said. "We love to give tours — it takes about 15 minutes — and we're happy to meet folks and show them what goes on at Carroll County Food Sunday."
To learn more, call 410-857-7926 or send email to email@example.com.