During 24thannual Harvest of Plenty initiative local organizations and community members came together to provide Thanksgiving meals to those in need across the region
As part of this global day of giving, United Way of Central Maryland is celebrating the recent success of its Harvest of Plenty program. Through the initiative, the nonprofit distributed 4,500 Thanksgiving dinners to low-income central Maryland families in advance of Thanksgiving – more than ever before – and raised more than $150,000 to cover the total cost of the program. Local volunteers, along with Baltimore Ravens safety Lardarius Webb, linebacker Zach Orr, defensive back Anthony Levine, and former safety Ed Reed, packed and distributed meals to local families at two of the 23 Harvest of Plenty distribution centers.
Twenty-four years ago, United Way of Central Maryland started Harvest of Plenty by making Thanksgiving meals available to 600 Baltimore City families in need. The outpouring of community support spurred the expansion of the program to reach families across central Maryland, including Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties.
This year, Thanksgiving meals were distributed to pre-registered families from November 14–22 at 23 locations including social service agencies, faith-based providers, food banks, community action agencies and partner outreach programs. The dinner packages included enough food to feed a family of six with traditional Thanksgiving meal items including a 10 – 12 pound turkey, stuffing, mashed potato mix, macaroni and cheese, and other holiday meal staples, including gravy mix and cinnamon donated by McCormick.
“Across central Maryland, there are more than 345,000 residents who are food insecure, meaning that they lack consistent access to healthy, affordable food,” said Sandy Monck, chief impact officer for United Way of Central Maryland. “Twenty-four years ago, we started Harvest of Plenty as a way to spread hope to struggling families. What started as a Baltimore City initiative has grown to serve all the counties throughout central Maryland, which is only possible because of the support of our volunteers and donors. Thanks to these dedicated individuals and organizations, including McCormick and Wegmans, our 24th-annual Harvest of Plenty exceeded our greatest expectations. We couldn’t have had this success without them.”
To register for Harvest of Plenty, families called the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline, a 24-hour, seven day a week confidential informational and referral service that assists callers with issues related to food, housing, healthcare, utility bills and financial assistance, among other issues. The helpline, which has served central Maryland for 10 years, referred eligible callers to participating sites to pick up their meals.
United Way of Central Maryland continues to work toward empowering families to become self-sufficient by focusing on the building blocks of a better life: education, employment, housing and health. For more information about United Way of Central Maryland, please visit http://www.uwcm.org.
About United Way of Central Maryland
For more than 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland has been empowering families to become self-sufficient by focusing on the building blocks of a better life: education, employment, housing and health. Family Stability is at the heart of this work, which includes helping children be successful in school so they graduate with a bright future; ensuring individuals, children and families have a safe, affordable place to call home; helping people find stable employment that brings in enough income to cover the basics and ensuring our neighbors in need have access to healthy, nutritious food and healthcare. All of this work is supported by the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline, a 24-hour, 7-day a week service that provides information and referrals on a variety of health and human service issues to individuals. Program volunteers answered more than 100,000 calls for help in the last fiscal year. United Way is improving lives in central Maryland communities, but no one can create change alone. That’s why United Way of Central Maryland is encouraging individuals to get their friends, colleagues and others involved, to do more in the community and help more families in central Maryland. Together, United Way of Central Maryland, its supporters and its volunteers can empower more families in the communities it serves: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard Counties and Baltimore City. To learn more about the United Way of Central Maryland, visit www.uwcm.org.