22nd annual Harvest of Plenty program provides more holiday dinners in 2014
Bel Air, Md. (November 25, 2014) – United Way of Central Maryland distributed 300 Thanksgiving dinners to low-income Harford County families as part of its 22nd annual Harvest of Plenty program. A total of 4,000 dinners were distributed across central Maryland.
The Thanksgiving meals were distributed to pre-registered Harford County families at Bel Air United Methodist Church on November 22. Boxes included enough servings to feed a family of six and comprised traditional Thanksgiving meal items including a 14-pound turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, canned goods, as well as fresh apples and sweet potatoes. In celebration of its 125-year anniversary, McCormick & Co. generously donated 10,000 products for the baskets, which included enough cinnamon, poultry seasoning and turkey gravy for participating families to put the finishing touches on their meals.
“Through United Way’s Harvest of Plenty program, 300 Harford families experiencing difficult times will be able to gather around a healthy, hearty Thanksgiving meal,” said Joseph Desmond, owner of JD Consulting and chair of United Way’s Harford County Partnership Board. “We are grateful to the donors, partners and volunteers who make it possible to provide these meals to families facing hardship.”
In Harford County, there are 22,220 people who are food insecure, meaning that they lack consistent access to healthy, affordable food. Harvest of Plenty is one component of United Way’s Access to Healthy Food Initiative, which is working to improve access to healthy food for families facing poverty. In its first 33 months, United Way has distributed 6.3 million nutritious meals across central Maryland.
Eligible families registered to receive a Thanksgiving meal by calling 2-1-1 Maryland at United Way of Central Maryland starting November 3. With such an urgent need for food assistance, United Way handled nearly 7,000 calls.
United Way of Central Maryland is working to change the odds for families and communities. “Stabilizing families is at the heart of United Way’s mission to change the odds for those facing poverty. Gathering around a nutritious meal on Thanksgiving is a family tradition everyone should experience,” said Mark Furst, president and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland. “We are grateful to our donors, partners and volunteers who make it possible to provide these meals. Knowing that these families will now have the opportunity to create memories around their Thanksgiving tables is a wonderful feeling.”
2-1-1 Maryland at United Way of Central Maryland is a 24/7 health and human service hotline that provides information and referrals to individuals in need 24/7, year-round and in 150 languages. Last year, United Way’s 2-1-1 call center answered 96,409 total calls for help and experienced a four percent increase in calls for food assistance.
Funding to supply the 4,000 holiday baskets was made possible by donations to United Way of Central Maryland’s Harvest of Plenty program and in partnership with One Main Financial, Accelerant, United Way’s local partnership boards and many other supporters. The Lardarius Webb Foundation donated 500 Thanksgiving baskets distributed to local families in need. Each donation of approximately $15 purchased a holiday basket that feeds a family of six people.
United Way of Central Maryland is working to change the odds for families and communities through programs focused on education, financial stability and health. To learn more about Harvest of Plenty or for more information about United Way of Central Maryland, please visit www.uwcm.org.
For nearly 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland (UWCM) has been the region’s human service leader, encouraging all central Marylanders to give, advocate and volunteer. Its mission is to mobilize the community to improve people’s lives. UWCM is dedicated to advancing education, financial stability and health for low-income individuals and families in central Maryland. By drawing upon local knowledge, data and expertise to understand the community’s needs, UWCM is able to identify where gaps exist and concentrate on what works in addressing them – serving as a powerful advocate on critical health and human issues. UWCM supports programs and initiatives in the city of Baltimore and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties. For more information, visit www.uwcm.org.