FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — On their off days, you can find the Banks family still at work. Chuck Banks owns Wander Hemp Co. in downtown Frederick. His family has lived in the area for years, and its a community they’ve come to love.
“Right after [the coronavirus pandemic] hit, we noticed that there were a lot of lives changing and not for the better,” Banks explained.
The doors to the storefront were closed at the beginning of March as Maryland entered a state of emergency, but during that time Banks found a way to stay active in a different way.
“We had an opportunity to bring food down to Frederick to help those in need. We took it to the church, we took it to elderly homes. After that word spread,” Banks said.
During the onset of the pandemic, Banks and his family began distributing food packages filled with about twenty pounds of fresh produce to families across the county. In the early weeks, they distributed about fifty boxes. Now they’ve grown upwards to 700 boxes.
“There’s a farm-to-families program that we tap into and fortunate for them and fortunate for us that it exists because we are able to help families in need,” said Banks.
Every other week, families are welcome to pull up outside the storefront along S. Market Street. Banks’ wife Lynn and sons Tahree and Jamar helped load the boxes into waiting cars. Banks says many families see it as an alternative to food banks.
“If they come down here, it’s more of a quiet gift and they can move on with their lives, and we provide that,” said Banks.
But to reach even more people, the operation includes volunteers like Cristi Hamburg.
“A lot of people don’t have transportation and can’t come down here. So it’s within a couple of my own home that I deliver to,” Homburg explained, “The people I deliver to have told me about somebody else that needs it, so it’s kind of grown that way. Now I’m up to like 29 boxes [for delivery.]”
And the operation is still expanding. Ahead of the holiday season, Banks hopes to find refrigerator storage or a refrigerated box truck to begin distributing meats and dairy alongside the vegetables.
“Something as simple as food, it just warms the heart. It’s just so fulfilling for us to see people that so happy and appreciate the boxes that we give,” Lynn said.
For more information on the food distribution operation, you can reach Chuck Banks through Facebook or by phone at 301-563-9571.
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