Mason-Dixon Community Services, The Harford Center, and Harford County Government partner to offer Mobile Food Pantry in Northern Harford County
Mason-Dixon Community Services, the Harford Center, and the Harford County Department of Community Services have partnered to help reduce “food deserts” in North Harford. A food desert is an area where residents lack access to fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy options, (preferably local products), and consistent public access including transportation, walking convenience, and daily hours of operation.
Ironically, an area known for its agricultural economy, North Harford represents one of the County’s largest food deserts. Many North Harford families and seniors are “homebound”. They may not possess a car or have other means of transportation, and would need to travel considerably to reach a grocery store, produce stand or other support services.
Mason-Dixon Community Services, a non-profit social services organization with offices in northern Harford and Southeastern York Counties, has been working to address obstacles to access healthy food for more than decade. Each year they help thousands of individuals and families with a variety of essential and emergency services.
Recently Mason-Dixon’s Executive Director, Tori Dietrich conceived an idea to start a “Mobile Food Pantry” which would deliver healthy food to the door steps of homebound customers. But to make the concept a reality, they needed volunteers and a van to make deliveries.
Dietrich sought help from The Harford Center, a day habilitation and supported employment program for adults with disabilities, and a co-tenant in the Highland Common’s Building. The Harford Center had a van, and a group of willing and able individuals seeking job training and employment to support the effort.
Beginning this Summer, Harford Center participants will be paid through a grant provided by Harford County Community Services to deliver nutritious and delicious meals to at- risk individuals. Deliveries will be made every two weeks. Service will be offered in Street, Whiteford, White Hall, Jarrettsville, Forest Hill, Darlington, Dublin and northern Havre de Grace.
“My administration is eager to support this innovative partnership, which provides employment for adults with disabilities and vital services to food-insecure residents in Harford County,” said County Executive Barry Glassman. “The program exemplifies what can be accomplished when organizations collaborate to overcome challenges for our citizens.”
“Harford County is unique in its ability to form partnerships to provide the highest quality of care to its residents,” said Dietrich. “We are proud to offer this new service through the Highland, Maryland office. This venture sets the stage for a beautiful partnership and creates a sense of community in the truest sense of the word……neighbors helping neighbors.”
To learn more about the Mobile Food Pantry, or to apply for services please contact Tori Dietrich at 410.452.9025 or [email protected].