United Way of Central Maryland Aims to Distribute 4,000 Thanksgiving Dinners to Central Maryland Families
Baltimore Raven Lardarius Webb and former Raven Ed Reed to participate in nonprofit’s 23rd annual Harvest of Plenty program
BALTIMORE, MD (November 2, 2015) – This holiday season, United Way of Central Maryland is aiming to distribute 4,000 Thanksgiving dinners to low-income central Maryland families as part of the organization’s 23rd annual Harvest of Plenty. Harvest of Plenty is a component of United Way’s Access to Healthy Food Initiative – a multi-year program working to improve access to healthy food for families facing poverty. Across Maryland, there are more than 345,000 residents who are food insecure, meaning that they lack consistent access to healthy, affordable food. Through the initiative, United Way of Central Maryland has surpassed its goal of increasing access to healthy food by at least 1.5 million pounds, providing 8.3 million pounds across central Maryland in just the first 33 months of the program.
“A singular American tradition is having Thanksgiving dinner with family,” said Mark Furst, president and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland. “Twenty-three years ago, we started Harvest of Plenty by making thanksgiving meals available to 600 families in need in Baltimore City. Thanks to the outpouring of support from the community, we’ve grown to distribute Thanksgiving meals in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties. During this season of giving thanks, I’d like to express my gratitude to our donors, partners and volunteers who have made the last 23 years possible, and who are working so hard to ensure 4,000 families can enjoy a holiday meal together this year.”
With help from United Way ambassador and Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb, and Baltimore Ravens legend Ed Reed, the Thanksgiving meals will be distributed to pre-registered families from November 17-24 at 22 locations throughout central Maryland including social service agencies, faith-based providers, food banks, community action agencies and partner outreach programs. Dinner packages will feed a family of six and include traditional Thanksgiving meal items like a 10-12 pound turkey, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, green beans, collard greens, cranberry sauce and biscuit mix.
United Way expanded its service area to include all of central Maryland in 2011. Fundraising has already started on the United Way of Central Maryland website. Individuals interested in providing a Thanksgiving dinner for a family can do so at www.uwcm.org/givethanks.
“Just this year, the helpline has received more than 103,000 calls,” said Saundra Bond, executive director of the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline. “Calls for food assistance have steadily increased, particularly over the holidays in the past several years. Harvest of Plenty is an important program that allows United Way of Central Maryland to directly address the immediate needs of the community during this special time of year.”
United Way of Central Maryland continues to work toward changing the odds for families and communities across central Maryland through programs like Harvest of Plenty and many others, focusing on stabilizing families with safe and affordable housing, quality education and access to healthy food and healthcare.
About United Way of Central Maryland
For 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland has been changing the odds for families and communities by investing in the building blocks of a self-sufficient life: education, financial stability and health. Family Stability is at the core of this work, which includes helping children attain the education they need to be successful; preventing homelessness and providing, safe, affordable housing; and increasing access to healthy food and health care. All of this work is underpinned by a safety net of critical service supports to meet people’s basic needs, plus the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline, which answered more than 100,000 calls for help last fiscal year. United Way of Central Maryland serves Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard Counties and Baltimore City. To help change the odds for families and communities in central Maryland or learn more, visit www.uwcm.org.