Community service project provides holiday meals to needy

  • Thursday, November 3, 2011

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD-November 3, 2011-A University of Maryland Eastern Shore community service project, which brought 300 Thanksgiving meals to needy families a year ago, has doubled its goal for 2011.

    Two staff members of the Residence Life Department at UMES, Clifton Harcum and Philip Thomas, are working this year with the Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE) at Salisbury University and the Maryland Food Bank to provide 600 holiday meals to residents in need in Wicomico and Somerset counties.

    "Times are tough out there," Harcum said. "With the economic downturn, more people than ever need any assistance the community can offer.  We're here to help."

    Harcum said that bringing Salisbury University on board this year makes it possible to "extend the reach of generosity to Wicomico County residents."

    Students from both universities and community volunteers will pack baskets filled with a complete Thanksgiving dinner for four donated by area businesses and individuals.  Meals will not be served.  The baskets will be distributed Nov. 19 to families identified as in need of assistance through local social services offices, churches and charitable organizations.  Meals will be distributed to those holding a voucher from one of these groups.

    "Seeing the happy faces of family members when they are handed a basket-that's the payoff for our efforts," Thomas said.

    "This is a great opportunity for us to help local families who are struggling this holiday season," said Robby Sheehan, interim managing director of PACE. "We really thought that given the state of our economy, we needed to do something; partnering with UMES in this drive was a perfect opportunity," Sheehan said. "After hearing how incredible this program was, PACE was eager to jump on board."

    Businesses and organizations interest in donating food items or volunteers for assembling and distributing the baskets can call Harcum at 410-621-0497 or Thomas at 410-651-8306.

     

    Caption:  Residence Life area directos, from left, Phillip Thomas and Clifton Harcum, are organizers of "A Day of Thanksgiving," a community service event providing meals to 600 needy families in Somerset and Wicomico counties.

    ###

    Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580, gcstephens@umes.edu.  

    Bill Robinson, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355, wrobinson3@umes.edu.