SMECO employees held a fund-raising event and donated $45,637 to the Southern Maryland Food Bank. “We selected the food bank as this year’s fundraising recipient because they provide services to individuals and families who need support for everyday living, and the food bank is part of a network of organizations that serve the entire Southern Maryland community,” said Natalie Cotton, SMECO’s government affairs and community relations director.
“Our vendors and employees work together to make the annual charity golf outing a successful event. Our vendors provide very generous contributions that enable us to make a substantial donation that will help people in our community who need it most,” said Sonja M. Cox, SMECO’s president and CEO. “Helping Southern Maryland families who need assistance with putting food on the table is vital to providing adults and children with basic necessities.”
“Having enough to eat cannot be taken for granted, as many in our community—from children to families to seniors—struggle with hunger. Catholic Charities’ Southern Maryland Food Bank addresses food insecurity in the tri-county area with bulk food distributions to community organizations and food giveaways to people where they live. The breadth of our work would not be possible without supporters,” said George Mattingly, operations manager of the Southern Maryland Food Bank. “We thank SMECO for its generous donation, which will have a positive impact on hunger in Southern Maryland.”
SMECO employees raised the money through the SMECO Annual Charity Golf Outing in September. The event is supported by SMECO vendors, the cooperative’s board and executive team, and employees who volunteer. The cooperative selects different organizations each year to benefit from its fundraising events. Contributions, which may be tax deductible, can be made to the SMECO Charitable Foundation.
According to Cox, “Whenever our employees and vendors can work together to raise funds for a worthwhile cause, our enthusiasm creates community spirit and our community receives the benefit.”
Cotton added, “We are especially grateful to our business partners who generously contribute by providing donations and participating in the event. Platinum Sponsors include Altec, AUI Power, AV3 Inc., Booth and Associates, Brandywine Power Facilities, CDW, Howard Industries, ICF International, Lawrence Abell & Associates, New River Electrical Corporation, Sargent & Lundy LLC, Scheibel Construction, SMC Infrastructure Solutions, Super Salvage, The Okonite Company, TRC Solutions, and Wesco/Anixter. Gold Sponsors include Hitachi/ABB, Meridian Imaging Solutions, and McNees, Wallace & Nurick LLC. We rely on Golf Outing sponsors for their donations and appreciate their assistance.”
Information about the Southern Maryland Food Bank
The Southern Maryland Food Bank is a program of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, offering bulk food to grassroots organizations such as pantries, shelters and group homes that assist those in need no matter who they are. The food bank’s outreach program provides direct distribution of food to people in isolated and resource-poor areas. Food is given out through efforts that include Snack Saks, Senior Saks, Seeds of Hope Garden, Giving Hope Food Pantry and the Meals & Hope truck. Last year, the Southern Maryland Food Bank gave out more than 860,000 pounds of food. Additionally, 5,810 Snack Saks were distributed to students and seniors, and more than 6,300 meals were served by the Meals & Hope truck. In special COVID-19 community distributions, 23,700+ pantry packages, 74,500+ pounds of food, and 1,800 dinners-to-go were provided to people in need.
Impact of COVID
Even before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Southern Maryland was experiencing alarmingly high levels of food insecurity. The pre-pandemic food insecurity rate stood at 6.1 percent in Calvert County, 8.3 percent in St. Mary’s County and 10.7 percent in Charles County. The ongoing pandemic has increased food insecurity in the area, and the Southern Maryland Food Bank has enhanced its services to meet the greater need for assistance.