Letter from Rev Robert P Hahn of End Hunger

Dear Calvert County,
I am writing to thank you for the amazing year we have had at End Hunger In Calvert County had in 2013. Together, we helped feed over 10,000 needy people in Calvert County and hit an all time record by distributing over 1 MILLION pounds of food to families right here in our county.
We are humbled. And we understand that no one achieves anything of value on their own. This year has truly shown the value of partnerships and combined focus.
It is impossible to list the names all the people, organziations and partners that are at the core of the End Hunger effort. But please know that your names are known not only by us but by our Heavenly Father who sees all.
In many ways 2013 was a year of firsts for our cause.
In June we hosted our 1st Annual Dragon Boat Festival in North Beach. If you participated in this event, you remember what a huge success it was! Twenty teams raced throughout the day and over 2,000 spectators attended. During that first year, together we raised over $25,000 … all to help feed hungry families. The festival returns on June 22, 2014.
This fall we launched our first Culinary Training Program to get unemployed and underemployed people back to work. The eighteen students who made up our first graduating class held internships in local restaurants and most have already landed full-time positions. Our goal now is to offer the program four times in 2014, graduating a total of 80 students. For more information and to learn how you can get involved, visit endhungercalvert.org/works.
Additionaly, End Hunger In Calvert County received two major recognitions in 2013. We were voted Best Charity in Calvert County’s 2013 People’s Choice Awards. This recognition is most rewarding, because it came from you, our community. There are so many great charities in our county it’s an honor to be included alongside them.
Also, the Better Business Bureau recognized End Hunger In Calvert County as an Accredited Charity, awarding us it’s Wise Giving Designation for meeting all 20 Standards of Charitable Accountability. This certification means that when you donate to End Hunger In Calvert County you can do so with confidence.
Lastly, this year, we saw sports teams, businesses, and community groups engage and get involved with End Hunger In Calvert County like no other year. You have truly taken End Hunger and made it your own, finding creative ways to do what you love and making a difference while you do it. Together, we have improved the quality of life in Calvert.
On behalf of the entire End Hunger In Calvert County team, thank you for believing and embracing in the cause. Your work brings to life the #givewhereyoulive value and constantly affirms that at least in our corner of the world, hope is real and that the ‘neighbor helping neighbor’ attitude still lives.
It is a privilege to work alongside you and we are already gearing up for another unforgettable year together!
May God bless you and those you love,
Rev. Robert P. Hahn
CEO, End Hunger In Calvert County

St. John Vianney Interfaith Food Pantry serves the community for the holidays

In an average week, the St. John Vianney Interfaith Food Pantry serves about 112 families and gives away about 3,000 pounds of food to those in need. On Wednesday, the pantry served a little extra to its clients for the holidays.

The Interfaith Food Pantry was formed two years ago to address and serve the needs of less fortunate families in the county. In that first week, the pantry served 31 families from central Calvert, including Port Republic, Prince Frederick and Huntingtown, said Gordon Norwood, the pantry’s office manager.

Larry Donnelly, the pantry’s director, said he is happy to be able to serve the community but feels bittersweet about the increase in families served per week.
“It’s really sad,” Donnelly said. “With some of these families, both parents work, and they have kids. … Once they’ve paid their bills and bought gas, they’re wiped out. … What they get from us helps them keep up with bills.”
On Wednesday, in addition to getting the usual bags and boxes filled with canned vegetables, frozen meats and breads, each family received a box filled with everything needed for a holiday dinner, plus a 13-pound turkey, dessert, poinsettias and toys for children.
Donnelly estimated the pantry gave away 5,000 pounds of food Wednesday alone, compared to the 4,400 pounds of food given away at Thanksgiving, when the pantry served 163 families, including 91 children, 101 senior citizens and 159 adults.
“We have a fantastic parish and a fantastic community that has helped us,” Donnelly said.
With food purchased from the Maryland Food Bank and donations received from the church and community, partnerships with the local business community and a cooperative relationship with the End Hunger in Calvert County program, the pantry has been able to give away about 180,000 pounds of food since it opened, Norwood said.
“It’s just a joy and a blessing to serve the community,” Norwood said. “… We hope to have the resources to do this for as long as possible.”
In addition to volunteers from the church, student volunteers from Cardinal Hickey Academy and St. Mary’s Ryken High School came to help distribute the food.
“I can’t say enough about my volunteers,” Donnelly said. “They help make this run.”
Amanda Ortiz, 18, a senior at Huntingtown High School and member of St. John Vianney Catholic Church, has been volunteering for the food pantry since its inception. Ortiz works in the computer room helping to register and validate clients when they come to pick up their food, as well as striking up a conversation with them.
“I like talking to the clients and hearing about their day,” Ortiz said. “It’s refreshing to meet someone new all the time.”
Rocky Ragano, a weekly volunteer from Prince Frederick, said he enjoys “just seeing the smiles on the faces of people when they pick up their food.”
“Most people are very thankful and very nice and appreciative of what we do,” Ragano said.
Donnelly and pantry volunteer Don Mueller said they are amazed that whenever there is a need, someone comes through with a donation for what is needed. On separate occasions, the pantry has received checks to pay for a van, a truck and a dumbwaiter to carry food from one floor to the next to help the volunteers and to keep the pantry going.
“Whenever there’s a need, somebody comes through,” Mueller said.
The pantry is open from 3 to 6 p.m. every Wednesday next to St. John Vianney. To donate, log onto to the pantry’s website, www.siv.church.us/foodpantry, and donate through PayPal.
by Sara Newman Staff writer

HHS Varsity Boy’s Soccer Donates to End Hunger

Team brings #givewhereyoulive spirit to life.
“We were looking for a way to get our athletes thinking about the community they live in and how they can serve it outside of sports,” says Jason Cranford, Head Coach. And with that, members of Huntingtown High School’s (HHS) Boys Varsity Soccer Team collected over $3,000 during their inaugural service project to benefit End Hunger In Calvert County.
It was important to the team’s coaches, Jason Cranford and Jonathan Reid, to encourage personal development within their players, both on the field and in their individual lives. “End Hunger In Calvert County was that opportunity”, Cranford continued.
Four of the team’s seniors, Marcus Reid, Tim Murnin, Daniel Henderson, and John Owen, led the project and created multiple ways for their teammates to get involved. Players collected pledges for each goal the team scored throughout the season and had donation jars at each home game to allow their fans to participate.
In all, the team collected $3,051.00.
“We were truly moved by what the Boys Varsity team accomplished and the creative ways they found to incorporate End Hunger into their season,” says Jacqueline Miller, Director of Awareness. “The team brought to life our #givewhereyoulive spirit. They made a huge difference for people right here in Calvert County, some of whom attend their own school. We’re looking forward to working with them again next season.”
In addition to collecting donations, the project incorporated a service component. Collectively, players harvested produce with Farming 4 Hunger, an End Hunger In Calvert County partner. “This aspect was important to us because of the tangible, real world application of helping to provide food for others. They got to see what the entire process looked like from harvesting the potatoes, to packaging it for shipment”, says Cranford.
The four seniors who headed up this years’ project are responsible for choosing and equipping next-year’s project leaders. This project is something the team plans to continue and pass down year-after-year.
To learn how your team or community group can get involved with End Hunger In Calvert County, visit their website at endhungercalvert.org or email info@old.endhungercalvert.org.
Pictured: HHS Varsity Boys Soccer Team, Head Coach Jason Cranford, Jacqueline Miller Director of Awareness, End Hunger In Calvert County and Ahna Turley Community Coordinator, End Hunger In Calvert County.

Another step for End Hunger

End Hunger in Calvert County has taken yet another step in fulfilling its mission. Last Monday, 18 adults graduated the organization’s inaugural Culinary Training Program, which helped give these adults the tools they need to not only find their way around the kitchen, but make them prime candidates to work locally in a restaurant or bakery.
This is the second program End Hunger created to help adults land a job and become self-sustaining members of the community. Last December, 24 members of End Hunger’s first electrical training program graduated, having received training necessary to land jobs at local electric companies.
All of this training in culinary and electrical skills was provided for free to qualifying students by End Hunger and partnering organizations.
While End Hunger started in 2008 as a food pantry aimed at helping those in need, it has always aimed to eradicate the roots of hunger. Unemployment obviously makes it difficult for someone to provide for themselves or their family, and by giving willing participants the opportunity to learn new, needed and marketable skills, End Hunger is taking yet another step in its mission to eradicate hunger in Calvert.
With a music festival, bike ride, 5K run/walk, and its Foodstock events, End Hunger is a force to be reckoned with. Even most recently during government furloughs, End Hunger stepped up to make sure employees suffering the effects of a dysfunctional government would not go without. We commend these selfless efforts.
The Rev. Robert Hahn and the Chesapeake Church congregation may have taken on a huge challenge, but nothing seems to be stopping this juggernaut. With each job training program, fundraising challenge or food distribution event, End Hunger in Calvert County is chiseling away at the number of those in need. Helping those in need gain skills to become self-sufficient, contributing members of the community is another smart way to achieve this goal.

18 graduate End Hunger’s inaugural culinary program

Experience ‘offers permanent solutions to poverty,’ nonprofit director says
After eight weeks of learning their way around the kitchen, 18 county residents are now on their way to a new culinary career.
On Monday night, the 18 students graduated from End Hunger in Calvert County’s inaugural Culinary Training Program, in which they learned new cooking techniques and different types of cooking to prepare them for a culinary career.
“This is a big change. This is a career change for me,” said graduate Lisa Garrett, who has had difficulty finding a job as a park ranger. “It’s still hard to wrap my mind around.”
The culinary training program consisted of six weeks of learning and classroom training, followed by a two-week internship at a local restaurant or bakery.
“It offers permanent solutions to poverty, and when we work with our community partners, it gives us an opportunity to offer a life-changing opportunity to a student, to a family, probably someone that lives next door to you,” Robin Brungard, director of programs with End Hunger in Calvert County, said of End Hunger’s work training program.
Her favorite part of the program, Garrett of North Beach said, was being introduced to new techniques and new foods she wasn’t familiar with, such as Thai cooking. Garrett’s husband and guinea pig at home, Chris Garrett, said her new cooking techniques have “made things she likes to do better.”
Even at Thanksgiving, Lisa Garrett was trying new ways to cook the turkey and new stuffing ideas, Chris Garrett said.
For graduate Van Trammell of Solomons, cooking has always been a part of his life. Trammell said he has held various cooking jobs since he was in high school, and after serving in the U.S. Army, he decided culinary arts was the path for him.
The Rev. Robert Hahn, senior pastor of Chesapeake Church and CEO of End Hunger in Calvert County, said the culinary program was a perfect fit for End Hunger.
“Hospitality is one of the fastest growing industries in the state,” Hahn said, and cooks are a growth position regardless of the economy. Once he started asking around at restaurants, he discovered there’s a need for cooks. “It all just started to make sense. We’re about food. We’re about feeding people,” he said during the ceremony.
By creating an opportunity for residents to earn “living-wage careers” and become self-sufficient, Hahn said this is an investment that will come back to the state.
Hahn told the graduates, “We are so proud of you. You are our hope. What you have done — I don’t think that you realize that years and years from now, students from future classes … will look back … they will stand in your shadow, and they will stand on your shoulders, and they will always remember the groundbreaking work because you’ll understand one day that more than putting our trust in you, you have put your trust in us and you have revitalized our hope in what people can do for each other.”
Graduate Austin Ritchie said his journey before the program was not easy, and he made several bad decisions, but End Hunger and the culinary program were part of his process of renewal.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the culinary training program. In six weeks of class and kitchen time, I learned more than I expected to, from making pasta and different sauces from scratch to baking cakes, which I had a blast with,” Ritchie said during the ceremony.
Fellow graduate Nicole White, who is graduating with a baking job, said her dream was to work in early child care development, but when she became a mother at a young age, “my dreams were put on hold to fulfill my obligations as a mother.”
Upon learning her son was allergic to many foods, White began cooking different things and enrolled at a culinary institute in Baltimore. “Then my life turned completely upside down,” when her son began to have health problems, “which delayed my hopes and dreams once again,” she said.
In the following years, White said, she married and had a second son. Once they were older, she said, she started to think about what she wanted to do and decided to try the culinary training program.
“I was nervous walking into class the first day but was ready to start the new chapter in my crazy life,” White said. “… I really liked the reading material but fell in love with the kitchen.”
Culinary instructor Caroline Allie told the graduates, “I’m so super proud. I mean, I can’t really say enough how proud I am. … I love all of you for so many different reasons. … As much as you all are grateful to have been a part of it, I’m more grateful to have been there for you.”
Staff writer