La Plata, Md.-based The Wills Group announced an additional $500,000 in unrestricted grants to its regional food bank and local nonprofit partners as a continuation of its efforts to respond to the rising hunger crisis throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. The round of grants brings the Wills Group’s philanthropic response to COVID-19 to $1 million since March 2020.
During the pandemic, food banks nationwide have stepped up to meet the needs of local communities by accelerating mobile distribution efforts and identifying new channels that allow food banks to source and distribute food safely during the pandemic.
The grants will be distributed across four regional food banks and three local Southern Maryland nonprofit partners. Capital Area Food Bank, Feed More, Food Bank of Delaware and Maryland Food Bank each received a $100,000 grant to support their mobile food distribution efforts to meet the increased demand for food.
In addition, LifeStyles of Maryland was granted $50,000 to continue its work delivering food to remote communities. Farming 4 Hunger was granted $25,000 to expand food production through pop-up greenhouses and egg processing, and Southern Maryland Food Bank received $25,000 to increase its food supply and distribution.
“With the help of partners like the Wills Group, we’ve been equipped to respond to the heightened demand for food in our communities, which unfortunately shows no sign of slowing,” said Carly Frank, director of development for Maryland Food Bank. “We saw a stark increase in demand for food aid as a result of the pandemic. From March to October, we distributed more than 42 million pounds of food statewide — a 96-percent increase from 2019.”
Community Engagement Report
The Wills Group also released its 2020 Community Engagement Report, reflecting on its impact during the 2020 fiscal year and providing an overview of the company’s increased support of its partners working on the frontlines during the pandemic.
In 2020, the Wills Group provided $500,000 in grants to its regional food bank and local nonprofit partners, hosted a mobile food bank at Wills Group headquarters in La Plata, Md., and launched Dash In’s Lift Up program to honor healthcare professionals and first responders.
“As the pandemic has continued to exacerbate food insecurity nationwide, we have kept in close contact with our regional food bank and local nonprofit partners to understand their challenges and identify the best way to support their efforts to increase food access for kids and families in our communities,” said Wills Group President, CEO and Chairman Lock Wills. “We felt it was important to use our 2020 Community Engagement Report to echo the increased needs of our food bank partners and ask the public to join us in addressing the rising hunger crisis.”
Other achievements celebrated in the Wills Group 2020 Community Engagement Report include:
- 37 grants distributed.
- 7 food banks and pantries supported across the Mid-Atlantic region.
- 23 organizations supported.
- Nearly $175,000 raised at the fourth annual Blackie Wills Golf Classic in support of the Blackie Wills Community Leadership Fund.
To learn more about how the Wills Group is working together with its partners to address rising hunger needs in communities across the Mid-Atlantic, visit the Wills Group website at willsgroup.com/community.
The Wills Group operates nearly 300 retail locations across the Mid-Atlantic region, including Dash In, Splash In ECO Car Wash and SMO Motor Fuels.