On June 2, the Anne Arundel County Food Bank realized they needed help with an expected rush of vehicles coming to pick up diapers. Their first call, AAACERT.
Without hesitation, AAACERT president Bruce Morgenstern made a few calls and arrived on scene with two other AAACERT volunteers.
Traffic vests on and radios charged, they handled the rush with smiles abound. Bruce even got in some practice with the pallet jacks. Please follow AACFB on Facebook, subscribe to their newsletter and consider a donation. They do wonderful work year-round. The volume of food and supplies that come in and out of their warehouse is truly mind boggling.
Congratulations to AAACERT’s President, Bruce Morgenstern, for receiving the Hunger Hero Award Commitment to Service. During the pandemic, AAACERT’s all-volunteer members donated almost 8,000 hours of service. One of the organizations where members donated their hours was at the Anne Arundel County Food Bank. The following commnets are from the Facebook page of the AACFB. Please check out their website and consider making a donation.
Feeding Hope Event
Our Feeding Hope event was extremely successful, uplifting, and full of hope! The positive energy and excitement for our mission exuded from all event attendees. In total, the event raised over $65,000 with donations still coming in! Thanks to the generosity of our local business partners, the funds raised from this event allows us to purchase food for families experiencing food insecurity throughout our county.
Thank you to our presenting event sponsors Homestead Gardens and Sysco and to every Feeding Hope event supporter who helped us raise money to support our work to ensure everyone has enough to eat in Anne Arundel County!
Thank you to all the wonderful restaurants who are donating food:
Behind the Scenes Charcuterie, Byzantium Catering, the 2016 Chesapeake Chili Cook-Off Champion, Fishpaws Marketplace, Honey’s Farmhouse Retreat, Honey’s Harvest Farm, Luk Fu, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Bread & Butter Kitchen, The Prime Rib, and The Smoke Show – Craft BBQ
Hunger Hero Awardee Bruce Morgenstern | Commitment to Service
At the beginning of the pandemic when AACFB lost its entire volunteer workforce, Bruce made it his mission to ensure that AACFB had the manpower in place to continue to get food to County residents in need. As president of Anne Arundel Annapolis Community Emergency Response Team (AAA CERT), Bruce brought much-needed help to our warehouse, ensuring that our mission would not falter. We also recognize Bruce for other AACFB volunteer projects he initiated from creating databases and providing IT support to management consulting.
Volunteer members of AAACERT continues supporting food distributions around the county. Here, AAACERT helps to organize vehicles at Quarterfield Elementary a few days prior to Thanksgiving.
Traffic Control is just one of the many skills you can learn when you are a member of AAACERT. Click HERE to learn more and sign up for our next CERT Basic class.
Anne Arundel-Annapolis CERT is an all-volunteer non-profit. As volunteers, we rely on donations to continue our efforts. Please consider a donation so we can continue supporting communities around Anne Arundel County. It’s easy to provide support through PayPaland/or by signing up for Amazon Smile.
The City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management (OEM) tasked nine trained, certified volunteers from the Anne Arundel-Annapolis Community Emergency Response Team (AAACERT) to support the city’s fire department, police, and police cadets during a food distribution to help families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic on April 27. AAACERT’s roles at the event, which took place at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center located at 237 Hilltop Lane in Annapolis, included traffic management and maintaining social distancing. Volunteers at the event all wore face masks and gloves as Personal Protective Equipment.
After pausing for a photo with Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, AAACERT President Bruce Morgenstern, and AAACERT Coordinator Joe Dorffner, Pastor Menendez continued:
“To organize this food distribution in Annapolis, which we call Pantry on the Go, we partnered with Diana Taylor — the Senior Manager from the county’s Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families — as well as the Maryland Food Bank. We generally give out from 8,000 to 10,000 pounds of food. On a day like this, it was 8,000 pounds. We did a similar food distribution on April 16 at Whitmore Park in Annapolis.”
Ten AAACERT volunteers helped with traffic management and social distancing at the April 16 food distribution. To date, AAACERT has contributed more than 650 hours of community service in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
‘They can see the smiles in our eyes and in our body language. They hear the smiles in our voices. And that does a lot.’
Pastor Sheryl D. Menendez
“We also run a Maryland Food Bank pantry at our Brooklyn Park location, where we give out food every Monday,” said Pastor Menendez. “We’ve got another food distribution coming up in Bay Ridge Gardens off Forest Drive in Annapolis around noon on May 6. We have four events scheduled over the next four or five weeks.”
Unfortunately, the demand was so high that volunteers ran out of boxes of food and had to turn away a long line of families in need at least an hour before the event had been scheduled to close.
“I’m crying because we are not going to have enough food,” said Pastor Menendez. “We give out quality food, including fruits and vegetables, from the Maryland Food Bank; they get chicken, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onions, melons. And more than 25 restaurants provide pre-cooked meals through Feed Anne Arundel. This crowd-funded effort pays restaurants across Anne Arundel County to prepare nutritious meals for those in our community in need. Today, we received 600 prepared meals; two weeks ago, we got 1,000.”
How does food distribution make a difference?
“A lot of people for the first time find themselves without jobs, and there are some folks whose unemployment or stimulus checks have not come through yet,” said Pastor Menendez. “Even that’s not enough, because people have to pay rent. On top of that, our school systems are closed, so the kids are not receiving meals there. We are seeing how food insecurity is compounding mental health issues. People worried about feeding their families are experiencing an increase in stress, depression, and anxiety. So what we’re doing helps people on several levels.
“When people come out to receive food, they can’t see us smiling behind our face masks. But they can see the smiles in our eyes and in our body language. They hear the smiles in our voices. And that does a lot.”
The Anne Arundel – Annapolis Community Emergency Response Team (AAACERT), during the current COVID-19 situation, has been assisting the the Anne Arundel Office of Emergency Management in numerous positions. AAACERT trained members have been helping as Call Takers in the Emergency Operations Center, as well as helping assist the County Virtual Volunteer Mobilization Center (VVMC). Starting on the 30th of March, AAACERT trained members will also be assisting at the proposed County Goods Donation Warehouse, working with the County Police doing traffic control.
AAACERT trains volunteers in disaster response skills and emergency preparedness. AAACERT volunteers assist others in our community following a disaster when professional responders are not immediately available to help. When activated under the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management, or the City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management, AAACERT supports emergency response agencies.