By Roslyn Jones,
Special to the AFRO

The city of Elkridge is situated in Howard County in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. The community boasts of excellent educational opportunities provided by local institutions such as Howard University or the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Elkridge is also a great destination for those looking for outdoor activities with its numerous trails perfect for biking or hiking, and is 40 miles northeast of Washington, D.C.

Despite its rich history and promising future, 7.33 percent of the population in Elkridge lives (1.72k out of 23.5k people) below the poverty line, a number that is lower than the national average of 12.6 percent.

After recently relocating to Elkridge, the Rachell L. Gray Community Foundation is now one of three food pantries providing much needed food resources to the local residents. 

If residents need food resources, The Howard County Food Connection Map is an interactive tool to help find low-cost, accessible food and nutrition resources in the County. The Rachell L. Gray Community Foundation (RLGCF) is now one of those resources.

“We are committed to solving post pandemic problems,” said Bishop Antoine McClurkin, senior pastor of The Hill. “Our partnerships, planning and perseverance will lead to mass fruitfulness for the communities we serve.”

And the area residents are appreciative of the services. 

“I’m so thankful and grateful for the Rachell L. Gray food pantry. When my family has been in need, I’ve been able to get meat, starches, vegetables, juices and snacks for my children,” a client said. 

And another echoed the same sentiment. 

“I’m glad the food pantry is here for us,” said one of the food pantry clients. “I come to the pantry, and I also come for produce, because times are tough for us right now. It’s good we have a place to go for assistance.”  

The foundation, along with The Hill Church and Ministries and Bishop Antoine O. McClurkin, will celebrate the Grand Opening and Open House, on November 25, to introduce the resources being brought to the community.

Currently there are six programs operating under the RLGCF umbrella:

1.     The food pantry operates The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), providing monthly food distribution for income-based families and individuals. 

2.     The Monthly Fresh Produce (Pantry on the Go) Program distributes food to families who are in need but do not otherwise qualify for food assistance based on income. There are no eligibility requirements.

3.     The College Scholarship Program is available to students entering their first year of college. The application is open each December.

4.     The Summer Meal Program is available to ages 18 and below during the months of June – August. There are no additional requirements. 

5.     Homeless gift card program provides immediate assistance upon demand to families and individuals without shelter. 

6.     Annual Christmas in the Community is a community-based gift program for ages 18 and below. Food and gifts are available to families that register for the program. Christmas gift bags of essentials and toiletries are also available to homeless residents