Wellness center brings free groceries to the Watkins Mill community

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Clarence McNeary

Free produce is available every Saturday at Montgomery Village Middle School.

When times get tough, count on the Watkins Mill community to look out for one another. The Watkins Mill Wellness Center is organizing fresh produce distribution every Saturday morning at Montgomery Village Middle School.

Every week, produce and non-perishable items are collected from various establishments, such as Costco and the Women Who Care Ministries, and are packaged into boxes that are distributed at MVMS.  Watkins Mill alumni and Wellness Center youth development specialist Clarence McNeary thought of the idea when he realized that having people sign up to get free food was too long of a process. “Referrals take too much time, and we needed to get food into people’s hands immediately,” McNeary said. The Wellness Center quickly organized this program for students.

Fresh produce such as assorted greens, vegetables, fruits and other groceries such as rice, cereal, and chicken are handed out from 10:30 to 11:30 on Saturday mornings.  “Things change on a weekly basis, but there’s always fresh produce and fruits,” McNeary said.

The service is free for anyone to come– not just for students and their families. No form of identification or paperwork is necessary. There is no registration, sign-up, or referral. Anyone can simply drive up or walk to the middle school and get the food and resources they need. “Through a no-contact delivery, we place [the groceries] in their trunk or back seat and they’re on their way,” McNeary added.

Students are welcome to come to MVMS to volunteer to help pass out food. They can simply show up on any given Saturday. “I think this is going to help a lot of people, it really shows how much the community cares about each other,” senior Edwin Delgado said.

The Wellness Center offers several resources that can be useful during this time which can be found on their website.

“I’m in the position I’m in today because someone else decided to help me,” McNeary said. “So when I see myself in others, I just wanna give back. Hopefully, I can make their day better and their life easier.”

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