STEVENSVILLE — The food pantry at Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church received a much-needed donation Dec. 30 from national, state, and local firefighter associations, thanks to a surplus of food donations in Prince George’s County.
The United Communities Volunteer Fire Department, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Maryland State Firemen’s Association delivered 2,000 pounds of frozen poultry, 40 cases of canned goods and 20 cases of apples and other perishables.
“Anyone who has seen the lines at a food bank can see that donations like these are needed,” said Bill Faust, chairman of the Queen Anne’s County Fire and EMS Commission. “A fully stocked food bank is good all year, but during the holidays, it can be between buying groceries or a gift for their child.”
With the help of the Queen Anne’s County Fire and EMS Commission, the Department of Emergency Services, and Haven Ministries, deliveries were made to the church and the food pantry in Sudlersville.
“After a public safety food drive this year, there was an over abundance of perishable goods,” said Ron Siarnicki, president of the United Communities Volunteer Fire Department. “They called me since I previously worked in that county, and I reached out to Bill (Faust) and DES, and this is just a way for people in public safety to give back.”
Siarnicki said many families still are struggling despite an uptick in the economy, and the generosity of the community is vital to taking care of those in need.
Another trip to the Landover food pantry was planned for Tuesday, Dec. 31, to continue stocking county food pantries that have seen a spike in requests over Thanksgiving and the holiday season.
Kate Tomanelli, executive director of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association and an emergency medical technician with the United Communities Volunteer Fire Department, said the amount of food donated could potentially serve thousands of families.
“It’s amazing how much food was donated, and we just found out there were two more shipments waiting to be delivered,” Tomanelli said. “It’s eye opening that people from all walks of life may need a food pantry. Everyone feels the pinch once in a while whether it’s on a consistent basis or if it’s just a tough year. This is really heartwarming knowing that this facility is here for the county.”
Safe Harbor distributes food once a month, every third Friday, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at 931 Love Point Road in Stevensville. Identification or a bill is required to prove residency in the county, and a partner food bank is located at Centreville United Methodist Church.