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Times-Record: Saint Martin's receives Helping People Award

RIDGELY — Comptroller Peter Franchot presented the William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award to Saint Martin’s Ministries in Ridgely for its service to those in need on the Mid-Shore.

For 34 years, St. Martin’s Ministries of Ridgley has helped community members living in poverty by providing them with their most basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. The Saint Martin’s Barn also is a thrift shop, which supports the organization.

Each month, Saint Martin’s serves about 300 families in Caroline, Queen Anne’s, Talbot and Kent counties with food supplies and financial assistance for rent and utilities. The Saint Martin’s Barn distributes about 10,000 pounds of food each month, which equals about 9,000 meals a month. The organizations also provides about $100,000 in subsidies to help local families avoid homelessness.

“What you are doing here is probably the most efficient program possible in eliminating some of the ravages of poverty,” Franchot said during a ceremony in Ridgely Monday, March 12. “I am personally and tremendously grateful to each of you. You have a wonderful staff.

“This ministry exemplifies the principles that Williams Donald Schaefer had for helping people during his 50 years of service as the four-term mayor of Baltimore, the two-term governor of the state of Maryland and two-term comptroller,” he said. “He is legendary for his adherence to the maxim that government must act swiftly in response to the needs of its citizens.”

Franchot said on Schaefer’s tombstone, there is no mention of being governor or comptroller. He said there are only two words, “He cared.”

“He cared, and you care,” he said. “It is remarkable what you have been able to create here in Caroline County.” Joining Franchot for the ceremony were St. Martin’s Ministries Executive Director Deborah Hudson Vornbrock, board chairperson Mark Freestate and employees and volunteers for the organizations.

“I am indeed humbled to accept this award on behalf of Saint Martin’s,” Vornbrock said. “I assure you that all of us here will work diligently to pay respect to the history and heritage that this award represents in honor of William Donald Schaefer’s life-long commitment to helping people.

“This award really belongs to everyone who makes our work possible — our generous donors, foundations and government agencies who fund our work, but especially to our staff and volunteers on the front lines of our efforts to help our friends and neighbors here on the Eastern Shore,” she said. “To our staff and volunteers here today, I offer my heart-felt thanks.

“Odette Boyce-Galvez is the supervisor of The Barn,” she said. “She and her staff and volunteers work diligently with the upmost compassion every day.”

Freestate thanked the agriculture community and local residents for supporting the organization.

“Area farmers and members of our agriculture community have worked together to come up with a program called Project Protein, which provides 2,000 pounds of chicken per month, which we then distribute to our food pantry,” he said. “Throughout the year we receive food donations from schools, churches, service organizations, individuals and local businesses.”

Saint Martin’s Ministries is located 14374 Benedictine Lane in Ridgely. Saint Martin’s House is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. The Barn is open from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, along with from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

For more information about Saint Martin’s Ministries, visit www.stmartins or call, 410-634-2537.

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