Farm to Food Bank vol­un­teers rec­og­nized

Record Observer - - Front Page - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

CENTREVILLE — The Mary­land Farm to Food Bank pro­gram held its sec­ond an­nual vol­un­teer ap­pre­ci­a­tion din­ner Satur­day evening, Feb. 25, at Cor­ba­ley Hall at Our Mother of Sor­rows Catholic Church in Centreville. Mary­land Farm to Food Bank Co­or­di­na­tor Amy Caw­ley wel­comed the vol­un­teers, call­ing them “my

Farm to Food Bank fam­ily”, and thanked them for do­ing “God’s work” in help­ing feed the needy in Mary­land.

The vol­un­teer pro­gram of glean­ing re­main­ing pro­duce af­ter a farm has har­vested its fields for profit. The term dates to Old Tes­ta­ment scrip­ture de­scrib­ing how peo­ple were al­lowed to pick through farm fields af­ter a har­vest to sal­vage re­main­ing pro­duce that oth­er­wise would have gone to waste. Since 2011, Caw­ley has or­ga­nized pro­duce farm­ers across the state with mod­ern-day glean­ings us­ing vol­un­teers to har­vest fresh pro­duce from fields to help feed needy folks in Mary­land. The fresh pro­duce is sent to the Mary­land Food Bank through a pro­gram called Farm to Food Bank, which has been par­tic­u­larly suc­cess­ful on the Eastern Shore.

The buf­fet din­ner came mostly from foods gleaned by vol­un­teers and pre­pared by staff mem­bers who reg­u­larly cook pro­duce in kitchens for needy fam­i­lies in Mary­land. The meal in­cluded stuffed chicken breast and a wide va­ri­ety of freshly cooked veg­eta­bles. Mary­land Farm Bureau vol­un­teer Melissa Palmer, who works at PNC Bank in Den­ton, made a huge se­lec­tion of home­made desserts.

Caw­ley pre­sented Gov­er­nor’s Vol­un­teer Ser­vice Cer­tifi­cates to peo­ple who served in 2016 glean­ing pro­duce to help feed needy peo­ple across Mary­land. Among the 228 vol­un­teers who par­tic­i­pated in 36 glean­ings in 2016, the fol­low­ing were able to at­tend the ban­quet from al­most ev­ery MidShore county.

Caro­line County vol­un­teers present in­cluded Tr­ish Neal, Jane Caw­ley, Doug, Sherry and Kee­ley Good, Melissa Welch and Robin Brown; Dorch­ester County, farmer Jake Lovett, who re­cently moved from a farm in Wor­ton; Tal­bot County, Donna Saathoff, Ni­cole Barth and Sharon Pahlman; and cross­ing the bridge from Anne Arun­del County, Car­rie and Chris De­boy, Karen Gin­des, Tina Wilkins and Mike and Alice Thomp­son.

The largest con­tin­gent of vol­un­teers over­all this past year was from Queen Anne’s County, and the list of names from QA is too large to list.

Bridgitte and Paige Bai­ley of Kent Is­land were pre­sented the Vol­un­teer Loy­alty Award for 2016, hav­ing par­tic­i­pated in 18 glean­ings over the past three years. The mother and daugh­ter were com­mended for their stead­fast­ness in sup­port­ing the pro­gram.

Caw­ley fol­lowed the vol­un­teer awards by rec­og­niz­ing many of the lo­cal farms and their own­ers present who made pro­duce avail­able that oth­er­wise would have gone to waste. Those farms were Low­ery’s Pro­duce of Ch­ester, own­ers Claude and JoAnn Low­ery; Home­stead Farms of Milling­ton, own­ers Luke and All­sion Howard; Jake Lovett of Dorch­ester County; Wye Re­search & Ed­u­ca­tional Cen­ter of Queen­stown; Go­drey’s Farm of Sudlersville, own­ers Tom and Lisa God­frey; Arnold Farms of Ch­ester­town, own­ers Bob Arnold and Margaret Froth­ing­ham; and Ma­son Farms of Ruths­burg, own­ers Steve and Kate Krasewski.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing farm­ers not able to at­tend in­cluded Steve Ma­son of Kent Fort Farm in Ro­man­coke; Jen­nie Sch­midt of Sch­midt Farms Inc., of Sudlersville; Dr. Selvin Passen of Stevensville.

The Fab­u­lous Farmer Award went to Ma­son Farms in Ruths­burg, owned and op­er­ated by Steve Kraszewski and his wife Kate. It was the fifth year Ma­son Farms has been in­volved in the Farm to Food Bank pro­gram.

The fol­low­ing sta­tis­tics re­flect the suc­cess of the pounds of pro­duce pro­cured for the Mary­land Food Bank: 2011 — 28 farm­ers, 508,343 pounds; 2012 — 46 farm­ers, 814,268 pounds; 2013 — 39 farm­ers, 925,243 pounds; 2014 — 54 farm­ers, 1,534,773 pounds; 2015 — 43 farm­ers, 1,101,362 pounds; and 2016 — 35 farm­ers, 937,648 pounds. Vol­un­teers in glean­ing ef­forts: 2014, 33 glean­ings, 171 vol­un­teers; 2015, 37 glean­ings, 360 vol­un­teers; and 2016, 36 glean­ings, 228 vol­un­teers. No records of the num­ber of glean­ers were kept from 2011-2013.

Caw­ley also in­tro­duced the ad­min­is­tra­tive team that runs the Mary­land Food Bank that were in at­ten­dance: Pres­i­dent and C.E.O. of Mary­land Food Bank Car­men Del Guer­cio, Chief Fi­nan­cial and Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer Matt Whe­lan, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, MFB — Eastern Shore Jen­nifer Small, Youth Pro­gram Co­or­di­na­tor, MFB — ES Carol Mes­sick-Green, Di­rec­tor of Eastern Shore Re­la­tions Steve Sch­walb, Di­rec­tor of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Joanna Warner, and Vol­un­teer Mary­land Co­or­di­na­tor Rubab Azeem.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

The Kraszem­ski fam­ily, own­ers of Ma­son Farms in Ruths­burg, was named Fab­u­lous Farmer for 2016 as part of the Farm to Food Bank pro­gram in Mary­land. From left, Steve Kraszem­ski, hold­ing son Will, 4, Mary­land Farm to Food Bank Co­or­di­na­tor Amy Caw­ley, and Kate Kraszewski hold­ing daugh­ter Rosa, 23 months. The fam­ily was rec­og­nized Satur­day evening, Feb. 25, dur­ing the vol­un­teers ap­pre­ci­a­tion ban­quet in Centreville.

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