St. Martin's Ministries closes 2017 with new leadership

St. Martin’s Ministries’ Executive Director Deborah Hudson Vornbrock pitches in to pack food boxes on a busy day in the food pantry.

RIDGELY —The board of directors has announced it is changing the name of St. Martin’s Ministries to Martin’s House & Barn to better reflect “today’s mission while honoring its revered past.” With the name change comes a new logo featuring a tagline that captures Martin’s House & Barn’s efforts to provide shelter, food and clothing for families in need.

The name change process has been underway for more than a year. While seeking a name that more accurately reflects the work currently being done by the shelter, the board felt it was important to retain the founders’ vision to honor St. Martin de Porres, the Peruvian Monk and Saint, who was noted for his values of racial harmony, humility, unremitting care and concern for the poor, children and the sick.

The Benedictine Sisters of Ridgely founded St. Martin’s Barn in 1983 and began collecting and delivering food and clothing to their neighbors in need. They used an old dairy barn on their property to begin operations. A decade later they began construction on the building that would be known as the House as a transitional residence for homeless women and children. The Sisters relocated to Newark, Del., last year and have not been involved in the day-to-day management or Board of Directors in more than five years.

“We have been a freestanding non-denominational non-profit since 2015. Martin’s House & Barn recognized that its former name was more reflective of the Benedictine Sisters, yet no longer describes our current structure and services,” said Rick Lincicome, co-chairman of the Board of Directors.

“We are committed to sustaining the Sisters’ goals while also evolving to complete structural independence from the Benedictine Ministry in Ridgely. Our shelter services have now matured from longer-stay young women and children to serving whole families struggling with homelessness on an emergency level. It was time to consider evolving our name too,” he noted.

“Ministering to basic needs of those caught in the cycle of poverty was the energizing force behind our founding St. Martin’s almost forty years ago. Providing essential services has made an enormous difference in the lives of thousands of people on the Eastern Shore. Today, a new name and logo symbolize an exciting new chapter that compels the present leadership to forge ahead with continued enthusiasm to attend to basic human needs in the twenty-first century!” said Sr. Patricia Gamgort, OSB, executive director, emerita.

Martin’s House & Barn provides shelter, food and clothing in the house and historic 100 year old barn on its four-acre complex. Clients and volunteers describe these structures as memorable physical symbols of compassion on the Eastern Shore.

Located on MD Route 312 south, outside of Ridgely, Martin’s House & Barn provides a safety net for individuals and families living in poverty. Offering an array of services through a single point of entry with a dignified case management approach to address immediate and long-term needs, Martin’s House & Barn offers four assistance programs including an Emergency Family Shelter, Emergency Food Pantry, Homelessness Prevention Services, and a Thrift Store.

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