Saturday, June 22, 2013

How a Dragon Feeds a Family

Not my usual clean eating-related blog, but it is about food, so that counts, right?

Once upon a time there was a man, a pastor of a local church, that believed that together we could end hunger in our county.  Listed as the 13th  richest county in the nation in 2012, Calvert County, MD has over 10,000 families who rely on food pantries to provide their next meal.  That pastor, Robert Hahn, envisioned a community where churches, schools, non-profits, businesses, and neighbors joined together to ensure not only that people were fed, but that the root causes of that hunger could be uncovered and our neighbors could be equipped to become self-sufficient.  Pastor Hahn reached out to his colleagues and his community, and End Hunger in Calvert County was born.

End Hunger is so much more than a food pantry where families can get a box of macaroni and cheese.  They have partnered with local farmers so that live foods can be harvested, and clients can eat fresh, local produce.  Locally raised meat has been donated.  Classes are held regularly to help clients with shopping on a budget, and cooking healthy meals for their families.  Recently, End Hunger started End Hunger Works, a workforce development initiative that collaborates with business and organization to provide career opportunities to local residents. As of this writing, they are offering their second free 15-week electrician training program.  Participants who complete the program will be eligible to work in the local Union Residential Program.  They will also be able to apply to the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee electrical apprenticeship program.  How's that for equipping to self-sufficiency!?

End Hunger is innovative and forward thinking with their food pantry and their End Hunger Works program.  But they also are creative when it come to their fundraising.  Today, they will host the first ever Dragon Boat Races on the Chesapeake Bay in North Beach, MD.  All I can say is... this is going to be EPIC!  I have been going to the Bay every evening this past week to watch the practices, because you sure don't want to do this as a team of 16 paddlers without practicing!  I have been telling everyone about it all week!  It's so exciting, and it's coming to my town!  There are 20 teams signed up, so it's definitely going to be a fun-filled day.

It's so amazing to be a supporter of such an inspiring community-wide group.  I have always supported the local food bank wherever I have lived (and that's been many places!), but never before have I seen one that goes so far to ensure that healthy options are part of the program.  And certainly not to knock any of the food banks in other areas, because they are an essential part of any community, but I think only End Hunger would use dragons to raise money to feed families.  End Hunger in Calvert County.... it's not just another food bank.

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