Partnership Feeds Thousands Holiday Meal

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Milford Church of the Nazarene Pastor Art Roxby; Walmart Milford Store Manager Stephanie Edwards; State Rep. Jack Peterman; and Mountaire Farms Corporate Director of Communications & Community Relations, Roger Marino.
Milford Church of the Nazarene Pastor Art Roxby; Walmart Milford Store Manager Stephanie Edwards; State Rep. Jack Peterman; and Mountaire Farms Corporate Director of Communications & Community Relations, Roger Marino.

Staff Report

A partnership between the corporate and faith-based communities is responsible for providing an Easter dinner to needy families throughout the downstate. Mountaire Farms, Walmart and 43 churches of various denominations joined together to help gather, package and deliver Easter dinners for more than 2,000 Delmarva families.

In his role as chairman of the Food Drive Committee for the Murderkill Lions Club, State Rep. Jack Peterman, took part in the campaign.  “This is a story of people helping people,” he said.

According to Roger Marino, Mountaire Farms’ Corporate Director of Communications & Community Relations, the poultry producer has a 20-year history of working with the faith-based community and sponsoring anti-hunger campaigns.  The company runs food drives in conjunction with the Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter holidays.

Two thousand and eight boxes of food, each capable of feeding a family of five, were packaged by volunteers at Mountaire’s Selbyville warehouse earlier this week.  The company supplied a seven pound roaster chicken for each box and supplemented the collected food with $10,000 of purchased items to ensure each box was fully supplied.

Mr. Marino said the Easter effort started with letters sent to area churches asking their clergy to identify people in the community in need of help.  After they ascertained the extent of that need, food collection sites were established at multiple Delmarva food stores. One of those venues was the Milford Walmart, which initially took part in the “Thanksgiving at Easter” food campaign last year.

Rep. Peterman, who is also a member of the Milford Church of the Nazarene, helped facilitate the partnership between the corporate participants and Milford-area volunteers.  “What I found is that most people I spoke with already had a strong desire to help their neighbors. When you have a caring community, and engaged businesses like Mountaire and Walmart, everything falls into place.”

The need for such partnerships is not likely to disappear anytime soon. According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture analysis released last September, an estimated 14.5 percent of American households lacked “access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members” during 2012. Those figures were virtually unchanged from a similar study released in 2011.