“We will become a formal hub of the Maryland Food Bank in Calvert County for Southern Maryland,” the Rev. Robert Hahn said, adding “This brings it home and ensures that it is here for as long as the need is here.”
June 5, 2019
Calvert County’s Department of Community Resources and End Hunger in Calvert County Inc. agreed to partner on a funding effort for the construction of a commercial-grade food storage and distribution center in Huntingtown.
The county commissioners gave their blessing during a May 21 public hearing.
The End Hunger program distributes supplies and equips partner food pantries to serve individual families, to move people from dependency to self-sufficiency.
The new facility will enable EHCC to continue its mission of distributing 1.5 million pounds of food annually to more than 73 organizations serving low-income families in Southern Maryland.
“We will become a formal hub of the Maryland Food Bank in Calvert County for Southern Maryland,” the Rev. Robert Hahn said, adding that the existing Hughesville hub makes it difficult to get food to local partner organizations and people in Northern Calvert County. “This brings it home and ensures that it is here for as long as the need is here.”
On May 21, the commissioners approved community resources’ request to submit a Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development grant application for $800,000 on behalf of the nonprofit to construct the 21,000-square-foot facility.
Chesapeake Church, where Hahn is the head pastor, donated the land for the project. EHCC has signed a long-term lease for 20 years with two automatic 10-year extensions as an in-kind donation for a 9-acre parcel on which the food storage and distribution center will be built.
The project is estimated to cost $3.6 million.
The grant funds will support the foundation and structure for the first level of the warehouse.
The second and third levels will be completed afterward with non-CDBG funds and will support a culinary jobs training program, community life skills and classroom space, EHCC staff offices, and collaborative workspace for nonprofit organizations to address poverty and its root causes in Southern Maryland.
End Hunger will manage the project, but community resources will work with the department of finance and budget to administer the grant funds and monitor the grant for compliance.
The county will provide in-kind administrative support for this project.
“This is one of those rare public/private nonprofit partnerships that when they occur they just benefit everyone,” Hahn said, thanking the county.
Hahn told The Calvert Recorder the remaining funds are coming from other grants, local businesses, the community and the Chesapeake Church congregation.
“We are often grasping for oxygen against the Big 3 counties,” Hahn said, referring to Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s. “Their metrics drive the dollars. What we have proven in the county is that we can take care of each other and ourselves when we all step up.”
Department of Community Resources Director Jennifer Moreland said the project was not eligible for some of the grants sought to finance the effort because the county did not have the population numbers, expressing the importance of the upcoming 2020 census, which determines Calvert’s share of federal funding.
No one came forward with public comment during the hearing. The motion passed 4-0-1. Commissioners’ President Thomas “Tim” Hutchins (R) was absent during the hearing.
“It’s not a handout, it’s a hand up,” Commissioner Mike Hart (R) said thanking Hahn for the efforts of End Hunger in the county. “… This is about home. This [is] not money overseas. It’s your neighbors. It’s your family and friends.”
The Calvert Recorder