Local organizations hoping to curb food insecurity during the holidays

47 ABC –  With the holiday season in full swing, many take this time to enjoy family and loved ones. It’s a season that brings joy to many, but it can also be a stressful time for family’s struggling to make ends meet, to put food on the table and presents under the tree.

“During the holiday season, it is stressful for people especially people that are working, working but still struggling,” explains Rev. Mark Thompson of Emmanuel Wesleyan Church.

42,000 people on the Eastern Shore are food insecure, 14,000 of those are children. Children that don’t know where their next meal is coming from and who rely on school meals.

So when schools out for the holidays, it can be stressful for families just trying to make ends meet.

“They’re looking how they can have a sense of normalcy this holiday season so what we’re doing is we’re working with organizations to try and make sure that this Thanksgiving, this Christmas they don’t have to worry about where that food is coming from,” says Jennifer Small, Regional Programs Director for Maryland Food Bank Eastern Shore.

Organizations like Emmanuel Wesleyan Church in Salisbury are reaching out into their communities to find local families who are in need so they don’t feel the weight of the world on their shoulders.

“We contacted some of our schools that had some of the highest free and reduced meal population schools. Beaver Run, Wicomico Early Learning Center and East Salisbury and what we did is provided 100 turkeys and turkeys and meals to those families that were designated through the social workers or guidance department at those schools,” explains Thompson.

Tracey Dodson is one of the many parents who received that call. A call to lend a little helping hand for this working mother of five during Thanksgiving break.

“It warmed my heart to have people out here that does this, exclaims Dodson, “I felt the overwhelming and the love that they cared about all of us.”

Over 200 parents like Dodson received all the Thanksgiving meal essentials, food that could last until her kids are back in school Monday morning. It’s food that’s helping to relieve pressure during this holiday break.

“So what we do through Adopt-A-Block and many other agencies we try to provide that much needed food so they don’t have to worry about that and that they’ll be sustained through the days,” adds Thompson.

The Maryland Food Bank is trying to help children beyond the times where kids have meals at school with the school pantry program.

It’s a program that ensures there is access to food for children and their parents for emergencies after school or on the weekends. Emmanuel Wesleyan Church is also hoping to start a mobile food pantry to reach more kids.

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