Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
The goal is to give back to humanity as often and as willingly as possible. For this reason, Fit Fathers partnered with a few passionate food groups in Montgomery County, Maryland to distribute thousands of pounds of rice, lentils, and beans in the Tundra “Nomadic Mission” TRD Pro to communities in need due to COVID-19. This weekly obligation of service, volunteering, and helping those in need strengthens our inner beings. Plus, the Fit Fathers crew utilizes this time wisely for exercise as the dry beans’ weight adds up quickly!
The process begins with the operations lead on the Moco Food Security Task Force. Marla Caplon’s role is to connect essentials to people in need. In honorable fashion, she pointed us to Guru Gobind Singh Foundation in Rockville, Maryland. Led by Aman, the spiritual center’s mantra is “Finding New Paths and Partners in Giving.” Here is where hundreds of thousands of pounds of rice and legumes were packaged over the past two months. In Rockville, a plethora of groups send their trucks for specific loads that are then disbursed through tier two of the distribution network. The Tundra TRD Pro always rolled out fully loaded and packed in like football fans from Green Bay. The Gurdwara also prepares fresh vegetarian meals to residents in need and hands out food kits to 500 to 700 vehicles every Sunday. “Serving food to others is one of the main pillars of our faith,” said Rajwant Singh, the Foundation’s Secretary. How amazing!
Our Tundra load then goes to Hedy Esfa and Doreen Hines, who provide various food items to local communities. Doreen is the faith organizer at Emmanuel 7th Day Adventist Church in Ashton, MD. Her 70 boxes are broken down and bagged by student volunteers, and then disseminated to parishioners every Thursday.
During the current COVID-19 crisis, more families than ever were having difficulty purchasing food because of challenges related to health, finances, or job insecurities. Thus, Hedy and her daughter Lilly (a former BCC High School senior) founded Here2Help, a local non-profit, in response to the pandemic’s heightened food insecurities. When it was announced in March that MCPS schools would shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19, Lilly worried about fellow students and their families who depended on school meals. So she started a food drive and posted about it on the school newspaper’s website. There were just a few requests at first, but then, there was a swift uptick in requests from the community. Here2Help is an all-volunteer organization that collects donations from the district and delivers free groceries to those in need with no questions asked. Its motto is “food with dignity.” Now, Here2Help has eight collection spots at community members’ homes, dozens of volunteer delivery drivers, and a growing number of weekly requests. Here2Help has made close to 2,000 deliveries across the county since early April.
Lastly, the Ridgeview Middle School (RMS) PTSA is an organization of parents, teachers, and students who support the Ridgeview community. RMS is a large, diverse school located in Gaithersburg, MD, where one in every three students are eligible for free or reduced lunch.
Fit Fathers picks up packaged meals from Bethesda Deli and delivers to RMS, who actively connects students with MCPS meal services and community food resources. They are currently organizing other food drives and launching a “Bobcat Boxes” program. RMS is also repurposing the school store to start a small emergency food pantry to provide students with a free “Bobcat Box” when there’s a need. Moreover, the hope to establish a Little Free Pantry to be placed outside the school so families can access emergency food during the evenings and weekends. Click here to sign-up: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090544A5AF23A75-rmsptsa