United Way’s Harvest of Plenty program helped 300 needy local families enjoy Thanksgiving


Three hundred low income Harford County families received Thanksgiving dinners Nov. 17 courtesy of United Way’s Harvest of Plenty program. Here are the details:




Bel Air, Md. – December 4, 2012 – Thanks to the generosity of its donors, United Way of Central Maryland’s Harvest of Plenty program provided 300 low-income families in Harford County with a healthy Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.


The meal boxes were distributed to the families on November 17 at Bel Air United Methodist Church. Twenty volunteers assisted in distributing the meal boxes, which included a turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, applesauce, cranberry sauce, corn, green beans, kale, macaroni and cheese, instant potatoes and corn muffin and brownie mixes.


Families came from across the county–from Whiteford and Street to Havre de Grace, Aberdeen and Edgewood–to receive the Thanksgiving meal boxes. They applied for the program by contacting United Way of Central Maryland’s 2-1-1 Maryland call center, one of four in Maryland that provide information and referrals on a variety health and human services issues 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Throughout central Maryland, United Way provided 3,000 low-income families with Thanksgiving dinners through its Harvest of Plenty program, now in its 20th year.


“Volunteering at the Harvest of Plenty distribution was an eye-opening experience for me,” said Fred Branscome, vice president and business banking team leader at M & T Bank in Bel Air who also serves on United Way’s Harford Community Partnership Board. “I have been involved with United Way for six years, and this experience really showed me that people in need come from every walk of life. The loss of a job or a significant health issue can happen to anyone, and it can affect a family quickly and in many different ways.”


Season Voelker, senior relationship manager at United Way of Central Maryland who manages the Harford County office, said “The generosity of Harford Countians helped us to provide a Thanksgiving meal to 300 families in need in our community. I met a woman who said she and her husband would not have had a Thanksgiving dinner if it weren’t for Harvest of Plenty.”


“This woman’s story was heartbreaking,” Ms. Voelker explained. “She and her husband used to own a business. Her husband became disabled and medical bills skyrocketed. They lost their business and their home and often don’t have enough to eat. They live week to week and are food insecure.”


More than 300,000 central Marylanders don’t know where their next meal will come from or if it will come at all. Short-term solutions to chronic hunger are as crucial as systemic ones.


United Way of Central Maryland, the region’s human service leader for nearly 90 years, works to bring financial stability, good health and self-sufficiency to Harford Countians and other central Marylanders facing poverty through results-driven programs. Working with volunteer experts in Harford County helps United Way to better understand the needs and area resources, both private and public. These experts assist the Harford County Partnership Board to help “fill the gaps” to ensure every donor dollar does the most good. For more information, visit www.uwcm.org.            


About UWCM


For nearly 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland (UWCM) has been the region’s human service leader, encouraging all central Marylanders to give, advocate and volunteer. Its mission is to mobilize the community to improve people’s lives. UWCM is dedicated to helping individuals and families facing poverty meet their basic needs, stabilize and achieve self-sufficient lives. By drawing upon local knowledge, data and expertise to understand the community’s needs, UWCM is able to identify where gaps exist and concentrate on what works in addressing them – serving as a powerful advocate on critical health and human issues. UWCM supports programs and initiatives in the city of Baltimore and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties. For more information, visit www.uwcm.org.