Thursday, June 16, 2016

Popping Up in a Village Near You

Free Food Giveaway TODAY

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at the Oakland Mills Interfaith Center Parking Lot (closest to Santiago Road)

Food distribution for those who are in temporary need of food.

Food distributed to those who are 18 and older and bring any type of photo ID.

The event will be held in the parking lot of the Oakland Mills Interfaith Center close to Santiago Road. If possible please bring grocery bags and a cart to carry items home (if you are walking).

The Pop Up Pantry will provide free food for those in need in the community and is sponsored by the Howard County Food Bank (Community Action Council), The Oakland Mills Community Association, and the Oakland Mills Interfaith Center and with the support of Oakland Mills area schools.

This food giveaway can provide temporary assistance food for up to 400 families!

Sandy Cederbaum, Oakland Mills Village Manager

You may have seen this posted on social media yesterday. A pop-up food pantry means taking the food to where the people are. Sometimes people don't have a car to make it to the Howard County Food Bank location. Public transportation can be complicated and inconvenient, and difficult to navigate with young children. Cabs are expensive.

I was there for the set-up portion of the event. A truck arrived from the food bank. Tables were set up, food unloaded off the truck. Volunteers unpacked the boxes and sorted out the food donations on the tables. There were cases of food which must have been purchased with money from donations to the food bank. And there were boxes that must have come from area food drives, packed with a wide variety of items that individual donors had picked out.

I was working with the food drive donation boxes, sorting soup from spaghetti sauce, rice from pasta, green beans from spinach, peaches from mandarin oranges. Oh, and pumpkin. Lots and lots of canned pumpkin. And can after can of black beans. If someone comes up with a truly tasty recipe combining pumpkin and black beans, there's a real opportunity to use up a backlog of donations.

Our little area had two tables, then expanded to three. I worked with two other women around my age, and two great kids who had come with their dad. We unpacked, sorted, stacked. We chatted about where the gravy should go, or if baby food should have its own table. It was a lot like playing grocery store when I was little, and the mood was light-hearted as we worked our way through the boxes.

Yet, as we worked our way through the boxes, we could see the line forming at the other end of the parking lot. People waiting, quietly, holding bags. Our people. Our Oakland Mills people. The weight of knowing that we have neighbors who struggle with food insecurity transformed my childlike feeling of playing store into something else: gratitude.

Gratitude that my family has enough. Gratitude that our Village has enough to share, that our County Food Bank has enough to share. Gratitude that we could host this pop-up food pantry because we were able to get enough volunteers to staff it--about forty volunteers were there over the three hours of the event. They were unloading the truck, unpacking boxes, helping clients.

It's true that our Villages and Village Centers are aging and the realities of modern life provide different challenges to which we must respond wisely, if we are to continue to thrive. We must act with both wisdom and compassion. In my opinion we don't need reinventing. We just need to lift each other up.


You can support the mission of Blessings in a Backpack to feed hungry children at Cradlerock Elementary by eating at Grotto Pizza tonight! Print the notice included in the link and bring it with you.


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