Clear your cupboards of any nonperishable food items and bring them down to the Ladies of Charity (LOC) Bingo Nights at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival September 2, 3 and 4. While there, sit down at a table in the open space near the Greenbelt Community Center and have a fun night of bingo. This is one of the LOC’s largest fundraising events where half of the winning bingo game monies will go to help them fulfill their mission of assisting those in need in Greenbelt and half go to the bingo winner. There will be a bin at the bingo site to collect non-perishable food items for the food pantry.
LOC has helped various members in the Greenbelt community undergoing a difficult time by providing a food and a one-time assistance for rent or utilities. They coordinate the St. Hugh Food Pantry which provides a breakfast, lunch and dinner grocery size bags to 15 families each week. These families are referred by local organizations in Greenbelt.
Formed in France in the 17th century, LOC is the world’s oldest faith-based volunteer group. The Greenbelt branch was founded shortly after the construction of St. Hugh of Grenoble Catholic Church was completed approximately 60 years ago. Since the local chapter in Greenbelt has been in existence, they have been able to help many families in need, acting as a crutch for the community to lean on during times of difficulty. The LOC received one of the first grants given by GCF enabling it to continue fulfilling its mission of serving the community.
The organization receives a handful of calls every week from members of the community. These calls are then evaluated so that they can prioritize which needs to meet first in order to make the biggest impact in the community. The Ladies of Charity will often pair up with other community organizations such as American Legion, Greenbelt Cares, Greenbelt Interfaith Leadership Association (GILA) and The Elks to provide assistance to residents of Greenbelt.
The Ladies of Charity is the beneficiary of local food drives organized by such groups as the Boy Scouts who collect nonperishable food items in the Greenbelt neighborhoods annually. A new program just started at the Greenbelt CO OP Grocery store. It provides shoppers the opportunity to donate $5 for a pre-packaged bag (value $5.79) of six non-perishable food items that are donated to the St. Hugh Food Pantry.
The Greenbelt Community Foundation is highlighting the Ladies of Charity Food Bank at its Labor Day Festival Information table on Saturday, September 3, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Citizens can enter a free drawing for prizes at the table. This is one of 14 events in the Foundation’s 10th anniversary awareness campaign, Explore Your Greenbelt, running from April to October 2016. The Greenbelt News Review, Beltway Plaza, and Paradyme Management are sponsors of the campaign. For more information go to greenbeltfoundation.net.
Calvin Chao is an intern working with the Greenbelt Community Foundation