Bernie Fowler, Jr. started “Farming 4 Hunger” in 2012 as a way to feed fresh and healthy foods to those who are struggling. Farming 4 Hunger’s mission is “to feed the hungry and help feed the soul.” Bernie commented that “food is the best way to bring people together,” and he is hoping to expand the program into a two day event in the future; one as a field day for volunteers, and one dedicated to service. Farming 4 Hunger grew and donated 2 million pounds of food last year, with 600+ pounds going to local Southern Maryland homes.
At 9 am, high school athletes and coaches from the Tri-County area arrived for a day of service at Serenity Farm in Benedict. Students picked and packed up vegetables to be sent to the Maryland Food Bank and various food banks in Southern Maryland such as Project Echo. They then had a great time participating in relay race competitions. David Summers, a junior at Leonardtown High School, commented that he “really enjoyed helping other people and had a blast.”
After a morning of hard work, the young athletes sat down to listen to a variety of testimonials from Calvert county residents who have struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. One woman commented, “I didn’t die physically, but I was dead everyday.” These real accounts of the realities of drug abuse made the connection to these high-schoolers that their work could make a difference in the lives of people like her. A wall in the back of the room commemorated the lives lost in Calvert County to opiate abuse.
Lunch was cooked by inmates from the Department of Corrections, who help with the event every year as a way of community service and rehabilitation. The inmates used potatoes picked fresh from the farm that morning to make delicious french fries that satisfied the hungry volunteers.
“Little Jack” Woodford, as the community calls him, believes that Farming 4 Hunger is a way to pay it forward. His family struggled as a young child, so now he is excited everyday to help others who are in the same position that he was in. He commented that the event is one of “healing,” not only helping a community through food but also through knowledge and compassion.
Please enjoy the picture gallery below.
Cassady Koch / Calvert Beacon Intern