The Feed St Mary’s Story
Our Mission: To alleviate food insecurity throughout St. Mary’s County
Our Vision: A St. Mary’s County free from Hunger
St. Mary’s County is one of the wealthiest communities in our nation, and among the fastest growing in Maryland, but the gap experienced by those who struggle to obtain and maintain good jobs and provide basic needs for themselves and their family is also growing, year after year. Food insecurity is consistently ranked as a major problem in our community, and this is in spite of the many food pantries and feeding programs local churches and community organizations offer. In 2017, the Rotary Club of Lexington Park helped kickstart a movement to get to some deeper causes around food insecurity.
Much of it, we’ve learned, has to do with lack of access to critical resources. Community and church leaders have been organized under the inspirational leadership of Dr. Linda Lymas, and because of these collaborative networks Feed St. Mary’s Inc. was incorporated in Maryland on June 13, 2019. Now seeking IRS non-profit status with initial support from the Lexington Park Rotary Foundation, Feed St. Mary’s is St. Mary’s County’s first-ever food bank — promising a consistent and reliable source of food distribution into and throughout St. Mary’s County. Not only will this enable local food pantries to focus more on their primary mission — feeding hungry people and empowering success in their neighborhoods — Feed St. Mary’s will continue to exert significant influence around deeper causes of food insecurity as well as mobilize networks of community-minded groups and individuals to take their part in alleviating food insecurity.
In 2019, the community rallied. With help from County Commissioner Mike Hewitt, U-Haul offered a 3,000 square foot store front rent-free for 5 years. U-Haul also agreed to pay all reasonable energy costs. Dominion Energy provided a grant for pallet handling equipment. The Rotary Clubs of Charlotte Hall and Leonardtown became partners with the Rotary Club of Lexington Park in the Feed St. Mary’s Inc. initiative. The Rotary District serving Maryland offered matching grants to help equip the Feed St. Mary’s Inc. food bank, including the purchase and installation of combined a walk-in freezer and refrigerator unit.
Operationally, the St. Mary’s County Economic Development Office supported a generous grant in 2019. The AMEWAS and Precise Systems both opted to become corporate donors. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and the Patuxent Presbyterian Church offered generous donations, Of course, Rotarians throughout Southern Maryland and many citizens continue to generously donate.
Most importantly, many individuals have offered volunteer services. Leading Lexington Park food pantries and soup kitchens and food distributors in the County are prepared to partner with the Feed St. mary’s and the Maryland Food Bank (MFB). MFB will serve as the primary source of food that will pass through the Feed St. Mary’s Food Bank. Thus, Feed St. Mary’s Inc. is poised to begin food bank operations in 2020 after establishing its operating procedures through a series of initial pilot projects.