By Mark F. Gray
AFRO Staff Writer

A local non profit agency hit the jackpot to feed needy D.M.V. residents after MGM National Harbor was forced to shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Nourish Now, a food recovery organization with a dual mission of ending food waste and hunger, was donated 55 thousand pounds of food by the casino and resort that will allow them to feed residents in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties.

“We at Nourish Now are thankful for partners who are always there to give back and support our mission to end food waste and hunger,” said  Brett Meyers the CEO and founder of Nourish Now in a statement on the organization’s website. “Because of our existing relationship with MGM National Harbor, it proved to be a quick and seamless process that now allows us to get meals to families in need much quicker, which is our only goal right now.”

After being forced to close due to the pandemic, MGM National Harbor donated 55 thousand pounds of food to Nourish Now, a food recovery organization that partners with the hotel and casino. (Courtesy Photo)

The food was initially expected to provide more than 10,000 meals to those in need after the state’s signature casino resort donated what may have otherwise gone bad, after Governor Larry Hogan ordered all Maryland casinos to be shutdown as part of the state’s attempt to cut off the spread of the coronavirus.  Hogan closed all of Maryland’s casinos on March 16 until further notice.

The donation to Nourish Now included pounds of meat, vegetables and fruit that would have been served in MGM National Harbor’s restaurants. Since the resort is on lockdown, it keeps families in need from having to make unnecessary trips to the grocery store during times where social distancing and personal quarantining is the temporary new world order.

“This unprecedented climate has paralyzed communities locally and nationally and there is no greater time than now to exercise the meaning of community,” said Melonie Johnson, President and COO of MGM National Harbor in her public statement. “Partners like Nourish Now extend deep into the community and providing local families with access to healthy meals is more significant than ever.” 

Nourish Now is accustomed to feeding approximately 40 families per day. However, with this donation, the organization is able to help about 45,000 residents throughout both Counties, and they needed help distributing it.

This mass distribution involved a collaborative effort between several organizations, which helped fulfill Nourish Now’s mission to turn food that may have become waste into meals for needy residents.  The acquisition of the food was a direct result of the relationship between MGM and Nourish Now. However, the preparation was handled by a Gaithersburg catering company called Simply Fresh Events, who cooked and packaged the meals.

The first wave of in person deliveries were made to residents in the Seneca Heights Apartments, a residence for former homeless people run by the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless. That residence is just one of 510 households they provided food service for as they began to continue support while the impact of this pandemic reaches critical mass in Maryland.

Prince George’s County residents who would like to take advantage of the program can schedule a time to grab and go with a meal by visiting the organization’s website at