Teaming up to help those in need

Employees of three local contractors Larry Dong, left, Doug Isleib, Charles O’Brien, Jen Davidson, Morgan McKay, Ray Breeden and Shari Arnds show the food they collected for two food banks in St. Mary’s County.

What began as a friendly competition between three local defense contracting companies turned into a great success for two local food banks in St. Mary’s County.

Tekla Research, Island Creek Associates and Rollout Systems banded together to see which company could accumulate the most donations over a two-week period, with employees providing both monetary donations and nonperishable food items, according to a release from the businesses.

Food pantries and parishes see a significant drop in donations through the warmer summer months, when many children are home from school and there is a greater strain on limited income families to provide food for everyone. While most food banks receive many of their donations from October through January, summer is an especially crucial time as local food pantries struggle to assist all the local families, children and veterans who rely on donations year-round.

The need for awareness around food insecurity was one of the reasons Morgan McKay, a technical editor with Tekla, chose to involve the three defense contracting companies to increase summer donations to the local food banks. “The idea came from wanting to do more for children and low-income residents,” McKay said in the release. “I began thinking that if I just donated something small, it wouldn’t make a huge impact. I asked Tekla Research to hold a food drive and they wanted to make a big difference, too!”

Island Creek Associates, Rollout Systems and Tekla Research competed to raise donations for the Mt. Zion Hungry Team at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church and Lexington Park Baptist Church.

Local food banks don’t see the same volume in donations as some of their larger counterparts. The efforts by three businesses resulted in monetary donations totaling $1,950, with 3,251 canned and nonperishable food items donated to help feed the local children, families and veterans in need this summer.

The friendly competition to gather the most donations culminated with a celebratory cookout for the donors and volunteers from the three companies. Tekla, ICA and Rollout intend to continue the friendly food drive competition and surpass their donation numbers again next summer.