CommunityHamil R. Harris

Maryland PTA Provides Food for Needy Amid Pandemic

The Maryland Parent Teacher Association along with affiliates of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia recently distributed cash cards and boxes of fresh food to needy families across the state.

The June 5 event — spearheaded by MPTA’s Health and Safety Committee of the MPTA, which was awarded a grant from Maryland’s Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry campaign — provided emergency food assistance during the coronavirus pandemic.

“There are 500 families that we wanted to provide food assistance to,” said Tonja Carrera, MPTA vice president for leadership development, who was in charge of the effort. “There are 24 counties in Maryland where we were not able not to provide food. However, [those] families received $100 food cards, depending on the size of the family.”

Carrera said that in April, PTA leaders across the state sent out confidential surveys via Constant Contact and Social Media Platforms to identify families in need of emergency food assistance and that families were selected based on need.

Boxes of food from the Share Food Network, along with volunteers showed up at Fletchers Field in Riverdale to unload a truck packed with fresh chicken, sacks of potatoes, onions and fresh fruit.

The food was distributed via a human conveyor belt formed by leaders of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge, the Georgiana Thomas Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star and others.

“Worldwide, masons are doing a lot but as far the District of Columbia is concerned, it is a pleasure to partner with Carrera,” said Quincy Gant, the Prince Hall lodge’s Most Worshipful Grand Master. “That is what we do. We are about sharing with our 25 lodges, 15 chapters and organizations in the District of Columbia that are doing various things and it was our pleasure to step up with this endeavor.”

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Hamil R. Harris

Hamil Harris is an award-winning journalist who worked at the Washington Post from 1992 to 2016. During his tenure he wrote hundreds of stories about the people, government and faith communities in the Greater Washington Area. Hamil has chronicled the Million Man March, the Clinton White House, the September 11 attack, the sniper attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the campaign of President Barack Obama and many other people and events. Hamil is currently a multi-platform reporter on the Local Desk of the Washington Post where he writes a range of stories, shoots photos and produces videos for the print and online editions of the Post. In addition, he is often called upon to report on crime, natural disasters and other breaking issues. In 2006 Harris was part of a team of reporters that published the series “Being a Black Man.” He was also the reporter on the video project that accompanied the series that won two Emmy Awards, the Casey Medal and the Peabody Award. Hamil has lectured at Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University, the American University, the University of Maryland and the University of the District of Columbia. He also lectures several times a year to interns during their semester in the District as part of their matriculation at the Consortium of Christian Colleges and Universities.

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