Hahn Receives Schaefer Award
The founder and chairman of an effort to stop hunger and promote self-sufficiency received an award Monday, May 14 from Maryland’s top fiduciary official. The Calvert County William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award was presented to the Rev. Robert P. Hahn by Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot [D]. The comptroller presented the awards, which he named in tribute to his predecessor, in the three Southern Maryland counties Monday. According to Franchot, aides and allies of the late political icon served on a panel that decided who would receive the awards.
Hahn started End Hunger in Calvert County (EHCC). While the food pantry, which serves over 500 local families per week, is the most visible focus of the organization, the program also aids challenged residents in other ways.
“We want to get people to self-sufficiency, to remove some of the barriers,” said EHCC Director of Programs Robin C. Brungard. The obstacles—such as the need for daycare and auto repair in order to take advantage of educational opportunities and travel to and from jobs, financial literacy—are dealt with as part of the counseling program.
“It’s all about interrupting the circle of poverty,” said Hahn, the pastor of Chesapeake Church in Huntingtown.
Hahn said he was accepting the award “on behalf of all our partners.” The partners include 11 other food pantries, the Baltimore-based Maryland Food Bank and a regional group, the Farms of End Hunger. Bernie Fowler Jr., a volunteer with the program, reported that 42 acres in five counties were yielding fresh produce for distribution.
Hahn estimated about 7,000 individuals, including business people, school children, scout troop members and other community members with altruistic aims are involved in some way with eradicating hunger in Calvert. “We are moving the needle,” said Hahn.
While food pantries for the needy are a fixture in American communities, Brungard indicated Calvert’s alliance of collectors and distributors under the EHCC umbrella is quite an accomplishment. “We help each other,” she said. “That’s never happened before.”
The outspoken Hahn, who has butted with Calvert’s political figures in the past, commended the current Board of County Commissioners. “We’ve gotten a lot of support from our county commissioners,” said Hahn.
“There are a lot of volunteers working behind the scenes,” said Commissioner Pat Nutter [R] of EHCC.
Hahn also praised Calvert Sheriff Mike Evans [R], stating, “he [Evans] has been aboard since day one.” The sheriff’s office has a program that gets detention center inmates involved in helping out EHCC.
“It [EHCC] gives people back their pride,” said Barbara Stinnett, a former county commissioner.
Franchot, himself a frequent critic of members of his own party, indicated programs such as EHCC were worthy of more support from the state. “Maryland needs to get back to some of those communal groups that don’t ask the government for anything,” the comptroller said.
After touring the food pantry and counseling center located on the Chesapeake Church campus in Huntingtown, Franchot decided EHCC deserved some of his money.
“I’m going to send a check, but it’ll be a small check,” said Franchot.
“As long as it clears,” Hahn quipped.