Helen J. Serini Foundation Helps Fund Frederick Food Security Network Manager Position

FREDERICK, Maryland—The Helen J. Serini Foundation has granted Hood College $10,000 to help transition the program manager for the Frederick Food Security Network (FFSN) to a salaried, full-time position.

The FFSN aims to provide healthy produce to those who cannot afford it and who live in food deserts, or low-income areas where there is not an easily accessible grocery store. In Frederick city alone, it is estimated that more than 500 families are affected by food deserts.

During its first year, the FFSN raised funds and partnered with four local organizations to help build gardens and grow produce—the Islamic Society of Frederick, the Boys and Girls Club of Frederick County, the Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs (RCEHN) and Frederick Memorial Hospital. These gardens have yielded 1,500 pounds of produce in 2018.

The rapid growth of the project requires more staff to operate and coordinate the program. Currently, the program is run by Connie Ray, a CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA member (a federally funded anti-poverty service program). However, with the growing complexity of the program, a full-time program manager is necessary to coordinate all of the program’s daily activities and improve the long-term sustainability of the program. This grant will help fund that position.

“The amount of support the Frederick Food Security Network has gotten from the community has been tremendous,” said Ray. “Our program has grown so much in its first year and a half, and we are excited about how our ever-growing network of partnerships will keep improving our ability to fight food insecurity in Frederick.”

Some initiatives in the pipeline for the FFSN include helping to establish a Hood Hunger Task Force to address food insecurity on campus, expanding Frederick’s Community Table cooking classes for produce recipients, constructing a hoop house at Hood that will extend the growing season, and recruiting Hood College students to serve as AmeriCorps 300-hour interns in the gardens.

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