Food Link - It Happens Every FridayEighteen
AAWGT participants of the Spring Post Grants Field trip gathered on a
bright, chilly and windy Friday morning at the Annapolis Riva Road
Farmers Market, site of Food Link’s weekly distribution of free fresh
produce. The purpose was to learn how this valuable program works, and
see it in action.
Bird, Food Link’s Executive Director, met the group to explore the
mission and share the history, challenges and successes of the
nonprofit. Most importantly Cathy described the need to make low cost
nutritional food available to all our neighbors and the barriers that
prevent this from happening in our communities.
program started over 20 years ago because Food Link saw a need.
Donations of fresh produce from the grocery stores were dwindling. A
pilot program of wholesale charitable produce was being tested
throughout the country. Led by then Executive Director Jane Morrell, a
member of AAWGT, they established the first wholesale charitable produce
program that was not conducted by a food bank. Jane, Cathy and the
third partner, Paula Gordon, cofounded the Center for Help as so many
newly arrived immigrants were desperate to access this supply of free,
fresh food but had so many other needs as well. Originally fresh produce
came from the Maryland State Wholesale Produce Market in Jessup,
convincing the wholesale vendors to donate the produce that
supermarkets, restaurants and other food purveyors were not interested
in buying. Today they still utilize product from the Maryland State
Wholesale Produce Market and The Maryland Food Bank, which transports
the donated product to the Farmers Market for distribution. In
addition, they buy gleaned food from farms via MAGENT to supplement and
add variety when available. The food from the state market is free
whereas there is a small per pound charge for the gleaned food.
Food Link is now one of the largest hunger relief and food rescue organizations in Anne Arundel County. This program is used as a national role model by
The University of Southern California School of Preventative Medicine.
If people have access to affordable fresh produce and other foods, then
they are able to lead a healthier life-style, and disease is reduced. By
introducing these foods into the family, children learn healthy eating
habits which last a life-time. Not only is Food Link providing food for
the food insecure, but also promoting better long term health. Read more>
Photo: From left, Helen Chin, Barbara Firebaugh, Cathy Bird, Maureen Cavaiola, Judy Templeton, Alli Holstrom and Sydney Petty.
Spring Open House: "Smarter, Funnier, and with Big Hearts"
women came together at the Loews Hotel on April 8 to network, encourage
other members to get involved, and persuade others to join. AAWGT
member Barbara McMahon, General Manager of the Loews, was recognized for
the hotel's significant support of the evening's activities. AAWGT
President, Maureen Cavaiola opened with a comparison of AAWGT to a
three-legged stool. The seat represents AAWGT’s mission of improving
the lives of women and families in Anne Arundel County. The three legs
are membership, education and grant making, which fulfill the mission
and create a solid foundation. Around the seat is a band of leadership
- representing the leadership of each member in her support of the
mission. It takes all of these elements, each reinforcing and
strengthening the other, for the organization to be effective in
changing the community for the better.
Heidi Busch, Membership Committee Chair, introduced several members to
share how they came to know about AAWGT, why they joined the group, and
how AAWGT has evolved during their varied tenure with the organization. Read More>
Mary Grace Folwell, AAWGT Vice President, closed the evening with
announcements about an upcoming field trip to Food Link on April 24, our voting meeting scheduled for May 13 (members only), and the Community Foundation of
Anne Arundel County’s Great Give campaign on May 5-6, where individuals
are encouraged to give online to their favorite non-profits.
Leadership Message: Take Risks, Be Do-ers, Know Your Own Strengths
AAWGT’s 9th Annual Women and Leadership Event, held Wednesday, March 11, at Anne Arundel Community College, brought together three outstanding women leaders to discuss their journeys and their thoughts on leadership. Moderated by AAWGT’s immediate past president, Karen Smith, the panel included: Dr. Dawn Lindsay, President, Anne Arundel Community College; Kathryn O. “Kitty” Higgins, former White House Cabinet Secretary and Deputy Secretary of the U. S. Department of Labor; and Dr. Priscilla Zotti, Senior Professor, Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, U.S. Naval Academy.
Each of the three panelists was introduced and asked to share their own thoughts about evolving as a leader. Dr. Dawn Lindsay said that she always knew she wanted leadership and had been a leader since grade school. Her mother was a leader, with a demanding career and was a strong role model for Dawn. Kitty Higgins said that she does not consider herself so much a leader, but more of a do-er – she always knew what she wanted to do and then just figured out how to do it. In her experience, do-ers always get to do more. She commented that being the oldest of six children perhaps had a part in developing these qualities early. Dr. Priscilla Zotti began teaching at the Naval Academy when she was one of only three female faculty members; today there are more than three hundred. Priscilla spoke about the importance of collaboration in her leadership style – being a leader for her means understanding the role of teamwork. Dawn agreed, saying that she believes employers are looking for collaboration as well. She said that you learn quickly that you get a better product if you engage others. Read More>
Old & New Members Break Bread Together
On Wednesday, February 25, about a dozen long-time AAWGT members welcomed another dozen new faces at Jalapeños restaurant in Annapolis.
The group shared details about themselves over tasty tapas and got to know each other on a more personal level.
AAWGT veteran members hope to continue fostering meaningful connections within the group through member-centered experiences, as they grow and work together to support initiatives that improve the quality of life for women and families in our community.
Living on the Ledge Part 1 - Economic Insecurity and our Elder Neighbors
Wednesday, February 11 was a beautiful winter day at Ginger Cove when AAWGT President Maureen Cavaiola welcomed more than 60 members and guests to the first general meeting of 2015.
AAWGT member Bronwyn Belling facilitated a panel featuring Jo Reed, Director of Wider Opportunities for Women’s (WOW) Elder Economic Security Initiative and Nancy Hoover, Program Manager at the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities (DoAD).
Jo Reed explained that WOW was founded in 1964 to help women enter the workforce and later expanded its focus to economic security across the lifespan. In 2006, WOW, working with the Gerontology Institute at UMass Boston, developed the Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index (Elder Index), a measure of the income and supports older adults need to meet their basic needs. The Elder Economic Security Initiative seeks to improve the economic well-being of older adults by increasing awareness of elder financial needs, building state partner capacity and influence, and creating lasting changes on the local, state and federal levels.
The second panelist, Nancy Hoover from DoAD, manages six programs that serve olderindividuals and households living on the ledge of economic insecurity. In Anne Arundel County there are 83,000 Medicare recipients, and 8,000 Medicaid recipients. Many of the county programs are grant funded by the State and are subject to annual budget changes. For example, adult day care is not currently included in the next Maryland state budget, which might mean closure of much needed programs. Read More>