Calvert County’s Department of Community Resources and End Hunger in Calvert County Inc. received an $800,000 grant for the construction of a food distribution facility in the county on Aug. 26.
The project was one of nine community development and infrastructure projects that Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced will receive a share of more than $4.2 million in Community Development Block Grant funding for fiscal year 2020.
“These awards reinforce my administration’s strong support of projects and initiatives in rural Maryland,” Hogan said in a news release. “These grants will improve infrastructure and services to help revitalize these communities.”
Community resources and End Hunger teamed up earlier in the year on the grant funding effort for the construction of a commercial-grade food storage and distribution center in Huntingtown.
On May 21, the board of county commissioners approved community resources’ request to submit the CDBG grant application for $800,000 on behalf of the nonprofit to construct the 21,000-square-foot facility, during a public hearing.
End Hunger distributes supplies and equips partner food pantries to serve individual families, to move people from dependency to self-sufficiency.
The new facility will enable End Hunger to continue its mission of distributing 1.5 million pounds of food annually to more than 73 organizations serving low-income families in Southern Maryland.
“We are incredibly grateful to the county commissioners and staff, the ultimate applicant for the grant. They put their trust in End Hunger,” the Rev. Robert Hahn, lead pastor of Chesapeake Church where the End Hunger program resides, said in an interview with The Calvert Recorder.
Chesapeake Church donated the land for the project. End Hunger signed a long-term lease for 20 years with two automatic 10-year extensions as an in-kind donation for a 9-acre parcel on which the food storage and distribution center will be built.
Hahn said the grant award is a landmark moment for the county as the warehouse is going to serve people in Calvert and the region.
“The Maryland Food Bank will use us as a hub in Southern Maryland — it’s very exciting,” Hahn said.
“The $800,000 is only part of the price,” Hahn said of the estimated $3.6 million price tag.
Hahn said through fundraising efforts led by former television meteorologist Doug Hill, the program has raised $2.2 million from local businesses, individuals and area churches.
“He’s our apostle, our missionary,” said Hahn, who added he’s grateful to Hill and all those who donated to the effort.
The national Community Development Block Grant, under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, supports community redevelopment, affordable housing, and the expansion of economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate-income. The food distribution facility is expected to serve 25,000 people annually in the region.
Hahn said groundbreaking for the facility is expected in mid-October and that the facility “is going to ensure the values that we hold dear, such as compassion and mercy and caring for others, will be passed on to future generations.”