End Hunger in Calvert County- Stories of the Spirit
Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. Isaiah 58:10 (NLT)
There is a hunger problem in the United States. More specifically, there is a hunger problem in Calvert County and the surrounding areas in Virginia and Maryland. End Hunger in Calvert County (EHCC) is looking to change that.
Looking at the numbers alone, you may not see the issue at hand. If you are part of the Metro D.C. Synod, then you know firsthand that Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland are high-cost of living areas with relatively high median household incomes. But the discrepancy between the highest earning households and the lowest is astronomical. People who are food insecure in Calvert County are people you see every day—they own homes, work, and send their children to school, yet they struggle every day to provide enough food for their families. Nearly half of all food-insecure families make too much money to qualify for government assistance programs such as SNAP (source: Feeding America).
Julya Doyle writes grants for End Hunger, and soon after, her husband started volunteering at one of the partner food pantries in the area. He built a bond with a grandmother that he served almost every week. One day the granddaughter was in the car with her grandmother, and she said, “Granny, that’s Payton’s daddy!” It was his daughter’s best friend’s family that he had been serving every week. Julya feels God brought them there to serve this family. This story also goes to show that those who need food pantries are not always who you would expect and could be your best friend, neighbor, or coworker.
End Hunger in Calvert County may not be a religious organization, but God is at work through their efforts. Working to end hunger in the community since 2008 and a former ELCA Domestic Hunger Grant recipient, EHCC has been expanding its support for the food insecure. Despite their name, they now work with five counties. Their biggest project to date has been a new warehouse, providing adequate food storage and a space to distribute, a kitchen for their Culinary Program classes, and a collaborative workspace for other local non-profit organizations to host events, work together, and learn from each other.
They saw the spirit at work at the beginning of this move to a new warehouse. Although plans had been in the works for some time, when the pandemic started, God gave them a push. They were asked to leave their previous space so that the drive-through could be used to give COVID-19 vaccinations. While needing to vacate provided new challenges for EHCC, they recognized that their previous space was filling a community need and felt the push forward to a newer, bigger space to serve Calvert County. After construction costs tripled over the course of pandemic-related delays, “God continued to provide so that the warehouse could open.”
Photo from EHCC website
In this Story of the Spirit, we see how an organization that is dedicated to its community, is forward-thinking, and works together with other non-profits to effectively serve those in need, is truly God’s hands at work. If you’re looking to support EHCC, you can “Donate, first and foremost…Pray. Prayer is huge…And we need volunteers.” Their Culinary Program for youth with intellectual disabilities is expanding quickly, so Julya specifically asked for prayers that God continues to help them meet the needs of the many kids who need those services. She also asks for prayers that they continue to be good stewards of the money and donations they currently have. With only 3% administrative overhead, 97 cents of every dollar goes directly to their programming. If you want to learn more about End Hunger Calvert County or support their mission, you can visit their website at https://endhungercalvert.org.
Thank you to Julya Doyle, grant writer for EHCC, for taking the time to speak with the Metro D.C. Synod communications team for this story.
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