The ongoing pandemic has left many people wondering where to find their next meal. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, Anne Arundel County Food Bank (AACFB) has witnessed a 482 percent increase in people seeking assistance at food pantries. Not only has the need increased, but food donations have decreased by 73 percent, making it more difficult to serve the needs of the community.
Cue Re/Max Experience Pasadena — a real estate franchise that opened its doors in January 2016 — to help AACFB collect, purchase and distribute food to over 60 nonprofit organizations in Anne Arundel County. In September, Re/Max Experience Pasadena launched a campaign to coincide with Hunger Action Month, a time filled with activities to take action in the fight against hunger.
“Many businesses, real estate offices and the Anne Arundel County public schools are hosting food and fund drives this fall,” said Melanie Kincaid, marketing and communications manager at AACFB. “However, Re/Max Experience Pasadena has taken it to the next level and worked hard to connect with the community over the past two and a half months. They’ve used social media, special events and their own business connections to spread the word about their food collection efforts.”
Re/Max Experience Pasadena’s recent social media campaign is structured upon the Bring It On Box Challenge. To participate, a Re/Max Experience Pasadena employee starts a box chain by filling the box with nonperishable food. The box is signed with a message and then given to another friend, neighbor or business to fill and then pass on again. The box can be passed a limitless number of times, increasing the donation structure from one donor to several.
To further increase donations, agents distributed bags around their neighborhoods with instructions on how to schedule a pickup or where to drop off donations once the bags are full. Eight locations throughout Pasadena exist. Finally, the campaign invites donors to text AACFB107 to 71777 to donate funds directly to AACFB through the Re/Max Experience Pantry Packers donation page.
The 14-person office has made quite the impact. Re/Max Experience Pasadena has distributed roughly 1,000 collection bags. Additionally, the community response to their efforts has resulted with one of their office rooms being half-filled with donations and collecting over $1,000 so far.
“We are thrilled with the response and generosity from businesses such as Maryland Home Inspections and the many individuals who contacted us for a porch pickup all throughout the area,” said Catherine Cook, concierge/community liaison for Re/Max Experience Pasadena. “Bella Napoli, Mr. Pizza & Subs, and Carini’s Pizza on Fort Smallwood Road are just a few of the small businesses who joined together in our advertising campaign by handing out flyers for the food drive with their carryout and pickup orders.”
The food collection drive will continue through November 13 and culminate with a stuff-a-truck event on November 14 at Pastore’s Plaza shopping center from 1:00pm to 6:00pm.
“The stuff-a-truck event is an invitation for conversation about the importance of community and supporting our neighbors,” Cook said. “Through community, connection and conversation, small efforts will make a big difference in the challenges facing our communities in these uncertain times.”
During the event, Re/Max Experience Pasadena will collect food and monetary donations for the food bank. There will also be food trucks, music, games, crafts, a tree lighting at dusk, silent auction and the opportunity for pictures with Santa or the Grinch.
“This event grew from an idea our office had for a small event to end our food drive with a bang to several of the businesses in our shopping center showing an eager willingness to join in and support the Anne Arundel County Food Bank,” Cook said. “Sanders Diamond Jewelers, A Second in Time Consignment, and Chesapeake Bank of Maryland to name a few.”
Donate nonperishable food items now through November 14 at Re/Max Experience Pasadena’s location at 3820 H Mountain Road or call 410-255-0000 for a donation food pickup. Want to get more involved? Visit www.aafoodbank.org/food-drive to organize your own AACFB food drive or donate at www.aafoodbank.org/donate-today.
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