Rescue mission

Frederick Rescue Mission extends food distribution hours

April 16—Locals will have another day of the week to access food now that the Frederick Rescue Mission distribution center is open again on Fridays.

When COVID-19 hit, rescue mission volunteers dwindled, according to Guy Mutchler, director of food services and facilities. He said they had to limit the opening hours of the food distribution center accordingly.

But as the pandemic waned, volunteers old and new arrived in force, said Jasmine Sneed, director of partnership development for the rescue mission. The Food Distribution Center is now open Tuesday through Friday.

“There’s a need, food-wise,” but more importantly, “it’s about relationships,” Mutchler said.

Dozens of people filled the lawn and parking lot of the Frederick Rescue Mission on Friday as it kicked off its new calendar with an Easter celebration. Half an hour before opening, Sneed said about 60 people lined up to wait.

Volunteers handed out snacks, candies, toiletries, paper products and more. Children flocked to craft tables. The hot dogs were cooked on the grill. Families waited outside the Rescued Treasures building to browse through the clothes. Pallets of Gatorade, iced tea and Mountain Dew were stacked nearby. Sneed said they never knew what donations they would receive from Frederick’s generous community.

“The fun thing is we can still find a home for him,” she said.

About 45 volunteers, along with rescue mission personnel, jumped from table to table to help visitors. Among them was the White Marsh Youth Group, who traveled for more than an hour to spend part of their spring break serving others, youth leader Tricia Sammons said.

“I think it’s good for the kids to serve,” she said, pointing to a group of young people at the make-up and craft tables.

Frederick Rescue Mission’s Volunteer Coordinator, Carolyn Chandler, was pleased to see the event garnering a strong turnout. She said the new Friday hours should benefit many.

“There is more need in the food distribution center, which is why we wanted to reopen it,” Chandler said. “A lot of people want to give back now after COVID.”

Among the flurry of activity, three little girls sat quietly on a bench as volunteer David Hall read to them the Easter story of Jesus Christ. Nelini sisters, 2; Natalie, 5 years old; and 7-year-old Nayelie Balendran sucked on popsicles as Hall flipped through the pages.

Hall and his wife Ruth, from Monrovia, are longtime rescue mission volunteers, but went on hiatus during the worst of the pandemic. Hall said they were thrilled to be back on such a beautiful sunny day.

“Nothing is wrong here,” he said. “The Lord always provides what you need.”

Follow Mary Grace Keller on Twitter: @MaryGraceKeller