Food Resources Inc., which has been serving food pantries and individuals in Washington County for more than 20 years, has merged with the Maryland Food Bank, but will continue to serve Western Maryland.
Food Resources is now the Maryland Food Bank — Western Branch, said Lynn Jackson, who has served as director of operations since 1997.
The food bank will still serve the approximately 250 families that get food there each month, as well as deliver food to more than 230 disabled people and senior citizens, said Jackson, now operations director of the western branch.
Washington County residents who are eligible for assistance will have access to more nutritious food because fresh produce will be delivered every Monday to the local branch, Jackson said.
The amount of food being distributed through the local branch is expected to increase from approximately 1.5 million pounds to more than 3 million pounds in a few years, Jackson said.
The new branch will be the central distribution point for more than 120 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and community-based organizations serving more than 50,000 people in Frederick, Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties, according to a news release from the Maryland Food Bank.
“We’ve had a strong partnership with Food Resources for many, many years,” said Maryland Food Bank Chief Executive Officer Deborah Flateman. “We felt by bringing our resources to bear, we might accomplish even more ... especially in this economic climate.”
The merger will create a more efficient service for Western Maryland, Flateman said. The current staff will remain with the organization, she said.
Maryland Food Bank expects to hire more people at the new branch, including a full-time food solicitor to find new donors in the region, the release said.
The western branch, which has two full-time and two part-time workers, will add four positions, Jackson said.
Maryland Food Bank is associated with Feeding America, a network of 203 food banks across the nation, Flateman said.
The Food Resources board of directors will continue to serve in an advisory capacity with Maryland Food Bank, said the Rev. Delancy Catlett, the board president.
Maryland Food Bank has also committed to staying at its current location for at least two years, said Catlett, who noted that donations raised in the distribution area will remain here.
On Wednesday, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot presented the first William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award to Jackson, on behalf of Food Resources.
The award is named for the former Baltimore mayor, governor and state comptroller, who died in April 2011.
Franchot said the award will be presented to similar organizations and individuals in Maryland’s other local jurisdictions.
Jackson joined Food Resources in 1995 and became its director of operations two years later.
Staff Writer Julie E. Greene contributed to this story.