Since May 2020, when Prince George’s County established its food distribution program, the county has delivered and distributed 4.5 million pounds of food.
The Stand Up & Deliver initiative was established during the coronavirus pandemic when many businesses closed and thousands of workers laid off.
“It was just so devastating,” County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said Monday in Hillcrest Heights. “I will never forget … the line of cars going around the block. I remember going home and I was just distraught. We needed to do something about that.”
Food remains a priority for county residents as Alsobrooks, the Rev. Tony Lee with Community of Hope AME Church and other volunteers placed boxes of produce and meals into dozens of vehicles lined up in a parking lot outside of Forman Hills.
Monday marked roughly a year since the start of the food distribution program.
Janel Brown of Clinton received several boxes of produce for herself and two children ages 2 and 5. She also got three meals comprised of teriyaki chicken, Thai pasta salad, angel hair noodles with broccoli, cilantro, green onions and soy sauce and bread and butter.
“This is just overwhelming. I’m just so grateful for it,” she said.
The Capital Area Food Bank’s “Hunger Report 2020” report says Prince George’s County has 104,780 people who are “food insecure,” or lack resources to provide affordable and healthy food options.
The majority-Black jurisdiction ranked number one in that category among Montgomery County in Maryland, the District of Columbia and the city of Alexandria and Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William counties in Virginia.
Although businesses are reopening and more than 400,000 residents are now fully vaccinated to combat the coronavirus, the county will continue providing food until January.
Free groceries will be offered to residents at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Glassmanor Elementary School in Oxon Hill.
What helps to maintain the food initiative is partnerships, Alsobrooks said.
Topolino Restaurant of Camp Springs, MK Catering of Hyattsville and Delta Produce of Lanham provided 800 boxes of produce and 600 meals Monday.
The United Way of the National Capital Area organized and helped distribute food throughout the pandemic and in the D.C. region.
“This need is so great — the pandemic simply exacerbated that need and brought it to the forefront,” said Rosie Allen-Herring, president and CEO of the region’s United Way. “Although we are starting to emerge from the crisis, the residual effects for food, for jobs and all of those wages that are not going to be recoverable are going to be around with us for the next 24 to 36 months.”