Dash In parent company The Wills Group announced an additional $300,000 in unrestricted grants to support nonprofit organizations working to help individuals and families in need across the Mid-Atlantic region.
The announcement brings the total philanthropic donations made by the Wills Group to address rising food insecurity issues caused by COVID-19 to $500,000 since March 2020.
On March 31, the Wills Group and Dash In donated $200,000 in unrestricted grants to support four food banks operating across the Mid-Atlantic region: Food Bank of Delaware; Maryland Food Bank; Feed More of Richmond, Virginia; and Capital Area Food Bank.
Of the $300,000 in additional grants announced today, $200,000 will be distributed to support the expansion of mobile food distribution efforts across the four food banks. Southern Maryland nonprofit organizations, Farming 4 Hunger and the Southern Maryland Food Bank, will also each receive $30,000 to support their food pantries. LifeStyles of Maryland will receive $40,000 that will be put toward their coronavirus response efforts to expand their reach to families in rural areas across Southern Maryland. As part of these efforts, LifeStyles is constructing and placing cabanas and small sheds throughout the region, which volunteers will regularly stock with non-perishable food and toiletry items.
“We are fortunate that the Wills Group is able to help our neighbors in need during these unprecedented and challenging times,” said Lock Wills, Chairman, CEO and president of the Wills Group. “We welcome the opportunity to support our long-time partners who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response.”
Mobile Food Bank Distribution Site
The Wills Group’s headquarters in La Plata, Md., also served as a “Pantry on the Go” mobile food distribution center on July 8, in partnership with the Maryland Food Bank and LifeStyles of Maryland.
This contactless mobile pantry distributed nearly 100 fresh produce meal kits to families and individuals across Maryland, as well as 400 gallons of milk, donated by LifeStyles of Maryland. An additional 150 fresh produce meal kits were distributed across the region via Servants of Christ Ministries, End Hunger Charles County, and LifeStyles of Maryland.
“We are grateful to have partners like the Wills Group who support our efforts to feed Marylanders during this incredibly challenging time,” said Yekatit Bezooayehu, Regional Program Director for Southern Maryland of Maryland Food Bank. “These ‘Pantry on the Go’ events are highly effective in distributing food safely in communities all over the state, but they wouldn’t be possible without the financial contributions of organizations like the Wills Group that are committed to helping their neighbors in need.”
Mobile food distribution has allowed the Maryland Food Bank — working with the Maryland Department of Transportation, along with local officials and volunteers — to safely and efficiently provide boxes of food through a contactless drive-through approach.
“So many of us take for granted the ability to put food on our tables while others are struggling to do so during these times. LifeStyles of Maryland is pleased to work with the Wills Group and Maryland Food Bank to address the needs of our community,” said Sandy Washington, Executive Director of LifeStyles of Maryland. “Thank you to the Wills Group as they continue to show their compassion for the communities they do business in.”
Lifting Up Local Heroes
In addition to the $500,000 in grants made since March 2020, Dash In has also worked to lift up local heroes by showing support and appreciation for healthcare professionals and first responders who are working to keep communities healthy and safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
From April 27 to May 3, Dash In provided free breakfast sandwiches to all healthcare professionals and first responders who visited any store across the Mid-Atlantic region.
Dash In also invited its customers to express their appreciation for local heroes by participating in its Snack-O-Gram program, which ran through the month of May. Dash In customers were able to select a free snack to accompany a personalized message for healthcare professionals and first responders in their local community by visiting dashin.com. More than 2,500 Snack-O-Grams were delivered to 10 hospitals and fire stations across Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia on June 23.
To learn more about the Wills Group’s collective efforts in response to COVID-19, visit willsgroup.com/covid-19.
Headquartered in La Plata, Md., the Wills Group has nearly 300 retail locations across the Mid-Atlantic region, including Dash In, Splash In ECO Car Wash and SMO Motor Fuels. A family-owned company since 1926 with expertise in convenience retailing, fuels marketing and commercial real estate, the Wills Group prides itself on keeping customers, employees and communities’ Lives in Motion. Dash In, a Wills Group company, is a growing convenience food store chain, with more than 50 locations throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.