HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — It’s not every day an organization receives a donation of $5,000 worth of hygiene products and non-perishable goods, but this year, Dot Foods chose five food pantries in Washington County to help families in the community.
Dot Foods is a food redistribution organization that has donated a total of $25,000 worth of goods and products across five organizations across the county. The donation was split evenly among the Salvation Army, Emmanuel Baptist Temple, Washington County Community Action Council and MT Hope, which are all based in Hagerstown, and Battlefield Bible in Boonsboro.
David Hess, the Director of Transportation for Dot Foods, explained the organization tries to rotate the recipients of the Neighbor to Neighbor program each year so their products can be spread out to different places. The organizations or food pantries are given a list of items in the Dot Foods warehouse to pick and choose which items will benefit their patrons.
“Primarily it’s staple goods, peanut butters, mac and cheese, soups, sauces, but we do have health care items like soaps and cleansers and things like that,” Hess explained. “We have 124,000 line items. So the sky’s the limit on what a food bank or donation center may need.”
Cliff Mowen is the manager of the Emmanuel Baptist Temple Food Bank. He was more than grateful for the large donation as it will help sustain the church’s bagged good distribution program. He also explained the church packs bags of food and other items and distributes them to members of the community through their bus ministry program which provides transportation to and from the church for worship services. The church also distributes the bags to shut-ins or people who are homebound.
“It is a blessing to the community because we fix up food bank bags,” Mowen said. “[The donation] should last us by the end of the year. We continue to do about an average of 20 to 30 [bags] a week.”
With the end of the school year growing closer, one organization wanted kids to be the focus of their item donation list. Kathy Breeden, the director of client services on housing, energy and the food pantry at the Washington County Community Action Council, explained the organization does not normally get the opportunity to order items specifically tailored to the children they serve. She wanted the donation items to be enjoyed by kids at home when they are finished with school next month.
“Most of our food comes from the food bank, so it’s very specific and you have to meet so many proteins, so many carbs,” Breeden said. “So we don’t typically get a chance to order, cookies, or sweet cereals, or crackers. So when this came about, it was like, let’s just do this with nothing but kids in mind.”
Breeden also explained the donation will be able to serve 100 to 150 families who will each receive a bag filled with one of each of the donated treats from Dot Foods.
Dot Foods has donated to food pantries with the Neighbor to Neighbor program since 2014. Last year, the organization donated 7.9 million pounds of products and non-perishable food items to organizations and food pantries across the county.