Festival benefits End Hunger

It was a relaxed event with a serious cause at Saturday’s Dunkirk Summer Festival, held at the Dunkirk Gateway Shopping Center.
The festival was hosted by Heavenly Chicken & Ribs owners Gary and Jennifer Armstrong and its proceeds went to the End Hunger in Calvert County program.
Gary said that money raised from the event, now in its fourth year, always has gone to some type of charitable cause or organization.
“We’ve raised money for cancer and once we helped the shelter for women, Safe Harbor,” he said, continuing that he actually was drawn to End Hunger for a personal reason.
Gary said that he had a cousin in Maine who moved to Calvert County with two young sons after being laid off from his job and, therefore, losing his house.
“End Hunger has helped him so he could put his money toward electricity and paying his rent,” Gary said of his cousin.
Chesapeake Church senior pastor Robert Hahn, the chairman of End Hunger in Calvert County, attended Saturday’s festival and said that about 10,000 Calvert County residents (20 percent of whom are children) use the food bank’s services.
Hahn said the program now is entering its third year. “We’re really moved by how the community has responded and adopted us,” Hahn said of End Hunger, which he said is supported by more than 30 local businesses.
While there was no cost to attend the festival, people were encouraged to make donations to see various people get drenched in the event’s dunking booth.
Attendees also were invited to bring non-perishable food items.
Many of the festival’s attendees included people running for local elections including Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans (R), sheriff candidate Brian Smith (R), District 27B delegate candidates Mark Fisher and Mike Blasey and Calvert County Democratic commissioner candidate Kelly McConkey.
Gary Anderson also said he expected Maryland State Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert, Prince George’s) and Del. Sue Kullen (D-Calvert), both of whom are currently running for re-election, to come by.
He said that Calvert County Commissioner Barbara Stinnett (D) had come to the festival in the morning but managed to avoid taking a plunge in the dunking booth.
“It’s like dunking your grandma,” Gary chuckled of Stinnett, who is currently running for re-election.
Both he and Hahn said there was no numerical goal for how much money they wanted the festival to raise.
“The main thing Gary’s raising is awareness. Anything that builds community is going to be beneficial to End Hunger in Calvert County,” Hahn said.
When asked about the irony of holding an End Hunger event in front of a Giant grocery store, Hahn said with a sigh, “What’s ironic is some of the people who work in Giant go to our pantry.”
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Northern High School clubs combine to End Hunger

Since End Hunger In Calvert County began a little more than a year ago, schools in Calvert County have been major partners by participating in food drives.
Northern High School’s Key Club and boys soccer team recently joined in, coming together to donate $1,300 to End Hunger earlier this month.
Last September, the soccer team hosted its 14th Annual North Beach 5K Run and One-Mile Fun Walk, which draws more than 150 people each year, and decided to donate a portion of the proceeds to End Hunger, according to a release.
The Key Club donated everything raised during its 1st Annual Co-ed Student-Faculty Volleyball Tournament and had several members volunteer during the 2nd Annual End Hunger In Calvert County Bike Ride.
“The Northern High School Key Club is proud to serve others,” said JoAnne Weiland, the club’s faculty advisor, in the release.
The donation will go towards assisting local families and helping them reach self-sufficiency, EHCC Program Director Robin Brungard said. EHCC clients are working people who are unable to meet their basic needs without the help of food pantries or government assistance, she added.
“The students in Northern’s Key Club and soccer team get it,” EHCC Chairman Rev. Robert P. Hahn said in the release. “They understand that many of the kids they sit in class with, walk down the hall with, and eat lunch in the cafeteria with, are the same people they have now reached out and helped. What they have done is the epitome of what End Hunger In Calvert County stands for neighbor helping neighbor.”
Brungard said that one of the biggest challenges EHCC had from its beginning was getting people to realize that poverty was a problem in Calvert, one of the nation’s wealthiest counties. More than a year later, awareness and donations are up, she said.
“And we can always use more,” Brungard added. “We have not received so many donations that we don’t know what to do with them.”