CAMBRIDGE – Preston Automotive sent a group of volunteers to lend a hand with packing food – 900 bags of it - at MidShore Meals til Monday on July 25.
Employees and customers of the dealership filled the bags, with multiple meals in each, on one of the hottest days of the year, working on an assembly line in Meals til Monday’s facility on U.S. 50.
Amanda Wilson of Preston Ford said in a prepared statement that the company is assisting organizations that work to alleviate childhood hunger. “Building upon that, Ford Motor Company has reached out to have us help pioneer a volunteer program they are kick starting called Ford Force where Ford works with the Ford dealers and their customers to help volunteer and support the community. The program’s first initiative is to support food scarcity and different food banks across the country. So lucky for us, Ford wants to piggyback on our already planned donation."
MidShore Meals til Monday was launched several years ago by Leslie Bishop, originally to serve children at Vienna Elementary School, some of whom did not eat regularly when they were at home over the weekends. The program has since expanded to other schools in the county, and is led by Executive Director Pam Allen, while Ms. Bishop currently serves on the group’s Board of Directors.
“MidShore Meals til Monday is working to end childhood hunger by feeding Dorchester County’s children so they may focus on creativity, learning and development. Meals til Monday closes the gap on hunger by sending home healthy, nutritious and easy-to-prepare food options during times when children may not have access to consistent meals,” a statement on the group’s website says. “The program is an example of the community coming together for a common goal that will yield immeasurable dividends for the future.”
Ms. Bishop said, “So, it's very exciting and very big news that our organization is the first to have this extraordinary partnership.”
Information on Meals til Monday’s website reveals that about one in five Maryland children don’t always know where their next meal will come from, and often go to school with nutrition inadequate to promote physical growth and academic success. The group has been working with Dorchester County Public Schools to provide proper, nutritious meals for local youth to take home over the weekends, and during vacations.
It was a busy scene as 15 volunteers bustled through the crowded assembly area, filling bags with entrees, side dishes, snacks and more, while wearing matching “Ford Force” T-shirts. Preston’s Leah Whigham said the effort could expand to many other locations, saying, “We are piloting about 10 dealerships.”
As a mother herself, she said that after learning about the challenges local children face, “It hits differently when you’re a parent.”
To learn more about volunteering or donating, visit midshoremealstilmonday.org, or call 443-225-6789.