Meals til Monday honors volunteers

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
MidShore Meals til Monday volunteers are helping to feed nearly 400 Dorchester County students who otherwise might not have enough to eat over the weekends. These volunteers, seen in 2018, are among those who have reached out to assist local youth. From the left are Nathan Bratko, Mabel Dennar, Dorothy Jackson, Peggy Waller, Julie Crain, Vatice Walker, Michelle Smith, Leslie Bishop, Susan Klise, Roxanne Sampson and Dail Sampson.

VIENNA — There are hundreds of children in Dorchester County who can’t be sure where their next meal is coming from over the weekends, when they don’t eat in school. Or maybe we should put that in the past tense, because while they might not have known in the past, now they can count on MidShore Meals til Monday (MTM) to feed them.

The group began in April of 2017 and became a 501(c)3 charity under the sponsorship of the MidShore Community Foundation in August of that year. Beginning with 25 children at Vienna Elementary School, the program now serves hundreds children at Vienna, Maple, Choptank and Sandy Hill elementary school, and Mace’s Lane Middle School.

Unloading, sorting, packing and distributing all those items takes lots of work and many volunteer hours. The people who give their time were honored on Friday. A statement from MTM said, “Today is Extra Mile Day, when we celebrate volunteers making a difference in our community. You, the Meals til Monday volunteers, make a difference in the lives of so many children in Dorchester County. Because of your ‘going the extra mile,’ nearly 400 Dorchester County students know they’ll have food to eat every weekend and during the week. Your dedication to Meals til Monday to feeding hungry kids is deeply appreciated. Thank you for all you do.”

“MidShore Meals til Monday, a ‘backpack’ program, sends home healthy, nutritious weekend food for breakfast, lunch, snacks and fruit to supplement, or in some cases is the only, food given at home until Monday when the children return to school and the meals provided there. Each child receives a minimum of 12-14 items for each two-day weekend and more for any extended time off from school,” a statement on the group’s website says. “The food we provide includes cereal, oatmeal, granola and cereal bars, peanut butter and jelly, whole grain crackers, macaroni and cheese, fresh fruit and fruit cup, powdered milk, non-perishable whole and chocolate milk, soups and pudding. Also included in each bag of food is a special treat such as stickers, a marker or pencil or small toy.”

Much of the food comes from the Maryland Food Bank. “We try to send home things that are a healthy as we can,” MTM founder Leslie Bishop said during a conversation with the Banner last year. “We don’t send home junk.”

There are volunteer opportunities available. “Please visit www.midshoremealstilmonday.org to learn more about us and how you can help,” the statement said. “You are vital to our goal: Working to End Childhood Hunger on the Mid Shore and Beyond.”

For information, call 443 225-6789.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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