Local food bank’s truck hits the road
Many businesses are taking their brand on the road to reach more consumers, and food trucks have become a viable method to accomplish that. The Southern Maryland Food Bank has decided to use the same tactic in order to deliver hot meals to those in need.
On Oct. 5, the food bank held a ribbon-cutting event for the Meals of Hope food truck during Community Resource Day at the Greater Waldorf Jaycees Community Center. Sponsors included Waldorf Toyota; Greg Basiliko, general manager of Waldorf Ford and Dodge; Fancy Vans and Mobility; Arba Graphics & Southern Maryland Wraps team; United Way of Charles County and Griffin’s Flooring America.
Brenda DiCarlo, director of the Southern Maryland Food Bank, said the truck was made possible because local sponsors took her dream and made it come true.
The food bank has been serving Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties since 1983. The food bank’s mobile meal pilot program — now Meals of Hope — began in September, with a donated truck from Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. The Meals of Hope’s new food truck, themed “4 Wheels & A Meal,” strives to feed people where they are.
“It’s a four year dream come true,” DiCarlo said. “I thought about this concept four years ago, so this is a surreal moment for me.”
Basiliko donated the truck and Waldorf Toyota donated the money to have the vehicle retrofitted. DiCarlo said the truck is clean, has lots of storage and plenty of space to grow the program.
“Our customers are a big part of the community and we thought it would be great to give back to the less fortunate within the community,” Basiliko said. “The committee members and myself are excited to see it finally on the road. It’s a long time coming. With all the negative [things] you hear in the world today, it’s good to see various community members come together for a good cause. With this food truck we should be able to feed 400 to 500 people a month. Brenda’s relentless vision and drive to see this get done is what got it finished. She wasn’t going to let up until it was done.”
“United Way of Charles County was also a contributor and has contributed a grant of $8,820 for three months of meals,” DiCarlo said. “Waldorf Toyota contributed an additional donation of $5,000 during the morning of the ribbon cutting, so we have about six months of funding to provide meals twice a week.”
Michael Murphy, Meals of Hope committee member and volunteer, said the members have been working on this mobile meal program for three and a half years.
“Brenda saw a need to get food out to various parts of the county,” Murphy said. “It all came together. This is definitely going to bring a lot of relief to the community.”
Murphy said the food will be prepared in kitchens owned by other groups and church organizations. After the food is prepared, it will be put on the truck and taken to various sites.
DiCarlo and Murphy said Steve Clontz of Fancy Vans and Mobility was a big help in the truck’s retrofitting process.
“We appreciate the honor of being involved in this project and the trust Brenda put in me to accomplish this,” Clontz said. “I saw her vision and it all worked out in the end.”
Clontz said it took his team three to four weeks to finish retrofitting the truck. They added an entrance door on the back of the truck, built the generator box, built the steps, installed cabinets, built walls and added a window. They also installed a refrigerator, warmers and a few other stainless steel supplies. He said if there wasn’t such a tight deadline, he would have done all of the electrical work himself.
The Southern Maryland Food Bank is currently seeking local businesses interested in hosting themed nights with Meals of Hope. DiCarlo said Pizza Hut in La Plata is the first company doing a themed night, dubbed “Taking a Slice Out of Hunger.” It costs $300 for a business to sponsor one meal night. For more information, call DiCarlo at 301-274-0695.
The Southern Maryland Food Bank held a ribbon cutting Oct. 5 at the Waldorf Jaycees Community Center for its new Meals of Hope food truck that will deliver prepared meals to those in need.