Anne Arundel Community College’s staff and faculty recently donated $4,765 and 137 meals for Food Link’s Thanksgiving food drive. “We can meet the need and it’s because of you,” said Cathy Bird, executive director of Food Link. “You are hands down our most consistent donor on this level.”
Bird said having traditional holiday food can be important. “Every family wants to feel like every other family— they want to gather together and honor tradition on that day,” she said. “It’s debilitating when parents cannot afford to put Thanksgiving on the table; we know on many levels how much this means.”
A yearly program for the AACC Professional and Support Staff Organization’s Community Service Committee since 2010, the college community responded to an email from Susie Orner, chair of the committee, who organized the college-wide drive. And last week when donations fell short, Orner emailed and employees responded. In a 24-hour period, a greatly needed $2,735 was donated. “We were the only contributor of meals this year,” Orner said.
Each complete box contained cream of mushroom soup, crispy onions, corn, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, cranberry sauce, cornbread or roll mix, stuffing and a dessert, along with a $25 gift card for perishables.
Statistics from the 2016 Maryland Poverty Profile of Anne Arundel County by the Maryland Alliance for the Poor show 31,573 people in the county live below the poverty line and 33.4 percent of county children were eligible for the free or reduced-price meals program during the 2014-2015 school year.
“The college touches so many lives every year,” Bird said. “We like to stress to people— on Thanksgiving when you sit down and pick the fork up, stop, and remember there are many more people in the county that can do the same thing because you cared to get involved.”
The nonprofit is still accepting donations as they look forward to a busy holiday season and beyond. “Some people just need food, they’re not worried about a turkey,” Bird said, pointing out the nonprofit has a “needs” list on their website, “We’re always looking to fill the shelves with our day to day food.”
Visit foodlinkmaryland.org for more information.