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Festival benefits End Hunger

June 30, 2010

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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